Salesian football coach weighs in on important topic of head injuries among youth players

WCCUSD sports schedule for this week

In a San Francisco Chronicle report Tuesday, Salesian head football coach Chad Nightingale shared his views on ways to prevent head injuries suffered by young players.

The article reported Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of a bill Monday that would prohibit full-contact practices during the off-season and limit them during the season to two 90-minute sessions per week. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

The article cites an Institute of Medicine study last year that found high school players suffer from far more concussions than college players, and states Texas already limits full-contact practice to once a week.

While coaches are supportive of the new rules, many, including Nightingale, believe limiting contact in practice might leave players unprepared to take hits during games. They say teaching young players proper techniques is key to preventing head injuries.

“Unless you practice, you’re not going to know how to protect your head and neck, how to fall properly, or how to tackle someone else safely,” Nightingale told The Chronicle.

The newspaper also mentioned the two-year-old USA Football “Heads Up Football” program that teaches proper techniques in tackling. The program has gained “massive” support from youth football officials all the way up through the NFL.

We encourage our readers to read the full article on this important topic.