73ºF

Florida football players return to field with new rules to stay safe

Coaches learn new guidelines to help prevent concussions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Duval County football coaches practice on the field weeks before the players come back.  They're learning how best to keep your kids safe.  Englewood High School coach Marcus Miller was watching closely.

"Our biggest thing is we love our kids you want to keep those that you love safe," says Miller.

He's both excited and hopeful about the upcoming season but he also knows he has a bigger responsibility besides just winning.

"You want to get to be on the field but you don't want a kid to put his life at risk or future at risk. There's not a high school game worth a kid not being able to walk around when he's 30," says Miller.

All these coaches are taking part in Heads Up training. The goal is to prevent concussions and injuries on the field.  In Florida, it starts with a new statewide rule . It requires less time doing high intensity tackling type drills, ones that put your head at risk. Bob Sefcik with the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program says it's a simple formula.

"Trying to reduce the exposure to the kids. Obviously the more exposures you have the more chance you have of getting hurt so if we reduce those exposures we're likely to see less injuries that are head injuries or concussive type injuries," says Sefcik.

 Rules that have changed the game to make it safer.

"We used to be just throw a helmet on them. Now we measure every kids head, we measure their shoulder pads, we make sure they don't cut the kneepads anymore," says Miller.

Coach Miller says part of the message to players is to keep your head out of the game.

"The biggest thing that we teach them is your helmet is not a weapon. Years ago they were teaching put the Helmet right to the chest of the breast plate and tackle the guy and now everything is head off to the side," says Miller.


About the Author: