Children First: tackle safety - KOTA Territory News

Children First: tackle safety

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Players for the Vikings youth football team in Rapid City are learning the proper way to tackle.

"If there are more concussions and people keep getting hurt we don't want that," said Isak Iverson, Vikings quarterback.

"We have to get used to it but we will," said Cade Ellis, Vikings running back.

While players get used to the new technique so to must the coaches.

"I've been coaching close to 20 years and there are some things that are different about it but it makes a lot of sense," said Erik Iverson, Vikings Coach. 

Coach Iverson and his players are talking about "heads up" tackling. It's a newly implemented program by USA Football that teaches players proper tackling techniques.

It's devoted to cutting back on head and neck related injuries.

"As for keeping your head up and not dipping your head that's where most of the head and neck injuries come from," said Erik Iverson.

Through USA Football, Black Hills Youth Football and Cheer wants to ensure the safest environment possible. 

"Training to make coaches more aware and having proper equipment. Our stuff isn't 10 and 20 years old. How to certify equipment, specifically helmets, proper fitting and then proper tackling," said Shawn Boyle, Director of BHYFL.

After receiving hours of training coaches teach their players the proper tackling techniques: keeping your head up and driving your opponent up and away.

So does it work? USA Football did a study in 2012 of nearly 2,000 players and after one year fewer than four percent suffered concussions.

"If you teach it right from the younger ages and they don't get into bad habits with the improper ways to tackle and wrap up, It greatly reduces the risk of injury," said Boyle.

While Isak Iverson and Cade Ellis are only just starting this program, along with the rest of their teammates, both see this change to the game to be a good one.

"We don't want any of our players getting concussions," said Ellis.

"I think it's going to be a different change and people will have to get used to it but by the end of the season we will be tackling better and there will be less injuries," said Isak Iverson.

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