Head-to-Head Football Injury Awareness

Sep 17, 2013 7:11 PM

A 16-year-old high school running back from New York died yesterday, shortly after a head-to-head hit in a game. The tragedy comes a week after a 16-year-old Minnesota high school football player suffered a serious brain injury during a game, following what also could have been a head-to-head collision.

Going head to head: It's a pretty common phrase for big sports games, rivalries, and the overall spirit of competition. But in recent years, the phrase has perhaps become a more common, and literal way to describe the dangers of contact sports like football.

It’s also what was taught back in the playing days of Jeremy Walker.

“I still have bruises and bumps to this day of what I did, and shouldn't have done it that way,” Walker said.

Now in his 14th year of coaching Chico Jaguars youth football, he feels a certain obligation to change that "head-to-head" mentality.

“There is a lust for violence, it is a violent sport, and it's a collision sport. At the same time you have the token of playing it the way it's meant to be and it's fun.”

Walker says he does the best he can with younger kids, before they're in the hands of high school coaches.

“We spend a lot of time teaching tackling, and we really teach tackle, head up, arms, body and shoulder, and we really strongly discourage any kind of head to head or head to body contact,” said Chico High School Football Coach Jason Alvistur.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina reports that there have been 25 deaths of high school football players between 2003 and 2013.


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