IRVING — Coaches from around the state gathered in North Texas Saturday to re-learn the game of football; including ways to hit without hitting heads.
Clark Miller, a youth football coach in Anna, explains: “What we’re here to do is try to decrease the incidence of concussions and make football safer," explained Clark Miller, a youth football coach in Anna.
The session held at the Dallas Cowboys training facility at Valley Ranch is a direct response to the hard knocks the game has received in recent years because of head injuries.
“We kind of feel, as the Cowboys, that football is being attacked a little bit, and so we want to make sure in answer to that that we are giving all the support we can to USA Football,” says Matt Stamm, who heads up Dallas Cowboys Youth Programs.
This is the second year the team has hosted this training exercise to impart the new safety techniques to those who run youth football leagues across Texas.
“I love the details, especially with the hitting," said Marq Foster, president of the Fort Worth Youth Sports Association.
Stamm said Foster and his counterparts are critical to changing the way the game is played.
“Each one of these guys represents youth football leagues of a thousand kids, 600, or 800... just tons of kids," he said.
The aim is for the men to take the important lessons learned in the classroom and on the field here back to their coaches and their players. If new ways of playing can be widely adopted, the people behind the seminar believe they will be able to better protect young players — and, in turn, reassure some parents who have become leery of the sport.
Heads Up Football master trainer John Furin notes that registration in some youth football programs has been slipping as a result.
“There’s been a drop a little bit in the last few years in participation rate, and we are trying to get that back up again because we feel it’s so important what football teaches us — life skills to young men," Furin said.