Football Injury Prevention: The Concussion discussion
Football injuries are the biggest threat currently facing the sport and that is unlikely to change. The more we as a society learn about concussions the more the spotlight will show on the game of football. The rule changes that have recently been instituted by the National Football League demonstrate just how serious the problem is. Football players get bigger, stronger and faster every year and it increases the likelihood of injuries. But as the likelihood of injuries increases, so should the efforts to prevent them. This can be done in a multitude of ways. One of those ways is the implementation of the aforementioned rule changes by the NFL. While that isn’t the most popular means of preventing injuries, it is necessary. It shows the rest of the football world that they’re serious about injury prevention and player safety.
Another good way to prevent injuries in football is to make sure the game is taught correctly to young players. A significant number of football injuries happen because players haven’t been properly taught the correct technique on how to block and/or tackle. This is especially true in contact football leagues involving younger players. However, if the game is taught correctly it can prevent many of the injuries that have become commonplace in today’s game.
Here are a few basic things that can go a long way in preventing injuries during a game of football:
Every football player should be outfitted with the correct equipment. The essential equipment items are helmets, shoulder pads, leg pads and mouth guards. Mouth guards have become increasingly important since research has shown they help combat concussions and other types of head trauma. After obtaining all of the equipment, players must make sure the equipment fits correctly. Loose or broken equipment can be extremely dangerous.
Tackling is obviously an essential part of football. Some form of it happens on every play but it’s more than a player throwing their body at the player with the ball. There are certain things a tackler can do to avoid injuring himself and his opponent. A few things to keep in mind when making a tackle:
• Keep head and eyes up
• Bend knees upon contact
• Keep feet moving after contact
• Try and get head across the ball carrier’s body
• Keep driving until the whistle is blown
Blocking incorporates many of the same techniques that tackling does. When shoulder blocking the player will want to bend their knees and keep their feet moving upon contact. When players stop moving their feet they run the risk of injury and/or getting rolled up on by other players. Always continue moving and driving until the whistle is blown.
Football is a vicious sport. The ferocity of it is part of its widespread appeal but with that ferocity comes injuries, sometimes serious injuries. Players and coaches can help lower the frequency and the severity of these injuries by using the right equipment and proper techniques.