Tackling safety at high school level

By Ben Garbarek  - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Football is a contact sport that can turn dangerous for players in the blink of an eye. Several professional players were hurt this weekend from helmet-to-helmet collisions. Stu Brown is the head football coach at Varina High School. He says this problem isn't unique to the pros.

"It's very serious. It's talked about amongst us coaches quite often just for the simple fact this game is a violent game, played by violet people. We don't know how much you can govern it," said Brown.

The Virginia High School League says injuries from helmet to helmet collisions are nothing new and discussions about stiffening penalties at the high school level are starting to heat up. Tony Tate is a wide receiver at Varina. Often he's in the middle of the open field…most at risk for a big hit.

"You can't see anything. You're vulnerable when you jump for the ball so they just take your head off," said Tate.

Tate says he doesn't think about dangerous hits when he's on the field but says often players go for big hits to imitate the pros. Coaches say tougher penalties are needed to keep players safe.

"Coaches need to be certified, teach the correct fundamentals. If the kid doesn't use the right fundamentals, they need to be held accountable," Brown said.

Penn State Coach Joe Paterno has proposed getting rid of face masks on helmets so players won't go face first while tackling. Paterno says the face mask can be used like a weapon.

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