The safety of football players and the effects of injuries, particularly on the brain, sustained while playing the high-impact sport are of the utmost concern among many parents who are still deciding whether or not to allow their children to play.
Teaching proper tackling techniques, recognizing symptoms of concussions and other injuries, and making sure equipment is safe and fitting properly are just a few of the subjects the FCIAC will address this week when it hosts a Heads Up Football Clinic at 5 p.m., today, Thursday, Aug. 17, at New Canaan High School.
The clinic is open to all FCIAC football teams, and is being paid for by the league.
“It’s the FCIAC’s way of being proactive with all of the concerns and publicity that’s come out about concussions and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and everything else,” said New Canaan head coach Lou Marinelli, also the FCIAC’s football committee chairman. “We believe all of our schools are going to participate. It’s our way of making things safer for kids who play football in our league.”
Heads Up Football is run by USA Football, the governing body of youth football in the United States, and one of its major funders is the NFL, which also promotes Heads Up Football.
The primary focus of Heads Up Football is to improve safety for players, with an emphasis on proper tackling, equipment safety, and concussion recognition. It also deals with heat preparation and dehydration and other health-related issues.
“It’s something the league has gotten behind in an effort to make sure that our coaches are teaching the right techniques for tackling,” Marinelli said. “Ideally, we’d like to have every school have safety coaches to make sure it’s being taught the right way.”