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New tackling techniques could prevent concussions
Football season is here and many parents worry about keeping their young players' safe.
A new study suggests new tackling techniques may offer some protection from severe concussions.
Erika Edwards explains.
Football players are fired up.
While hard hits and tough tackles are part of the game, many coaches and athletic trainers are trying to drill one thought into the minds of young athletes
USA Football is the sport's national governing body for youth football and is tied to the NFL.
The group teaches players to tackle an opponent by wrapping their arms around them. Rather than ramming them with their heads. The goal of the "heads up" program is to reduce head injuries and make the sport safer.
"It's a little too soon to tell, but I think anecdotally, it makes a lot of sense to coach athletes to tackle with their heads up and not use their head as a weapon."
There's no data yet on whether "heads up" does, in fact, reduce head injuries... But new research on high school football players gives the theory credibility.
Concussions sustained from blows to the top of the head were more likely to result in a loss of consciousness.
"We actually found a large majority of those individuals who were sustaining the concussions from top of the head impacts were actually having their heads down at the time of impact."
Blacking out after a blow to the head is rare -- but experts say there's evidence those hits mean tougher and longer recoveries.
"Only about 2 and a half percent of individuals will have a recovery that lasts longer than 45 days, but if you have loss of consciousness, then your risk of that prolonged recovery goes up by about 4-fold."
Data on "heads up" programs will be collected through the 2014 season.