Concussions are a hot issue in professional and minor sports. Yorkton Minor Football took a huge step in fixing the problem Saturday by hosting the first ever Big Play Tackling Camp in Saskatchewan.
The Big Play Tackling Camp aims to change the culture of tackling by introducing a new technique of form tackling where protecting the head is a main focus as well as finishing up the play. Most tackling injuries occur to the defensive player, who is usually put in a vulnerable position due to lack of technique, which is the aim of the camp’s system to fix. Players were put through two sessions, first a non-equipment session where the techniques were introduced, then secondly a full contact session in which safe full-contact drills were taught and the new tackling system was further implemented.
Coaches were also instructed on how to carry forward with the new tackling system in a teaching session where the nuances and terminology of the system were passed down from Coach Richie Hall of the Big Play camp to the Yorkton Minor Football coaching staff. Coach Hall was really pleased on how the days events went and made the point that one day of coaching is not going to make a difference saying, “Getting the coaches to work the system in the future is what will create improvement.”
Hall also concluded that the problem with concussions in high school sports also comes down to the attitude and culture around the games, going on to claim, “We have to change this attitude that defense in football is all about killshots and taking the opponent’s head off.” Hall and the coaches also addressed the issue as well as making clear they aren’t trying to take hitting out of the game, but realize that a happy medium has to be reached for the good of the game.
YRHS Raider Gridders head coach Roby Sharpe also backed up Hall’s points quoting, “We want to do everything we can to make kids in our community safe while playing football.” Sharpe also said his team doesn’t have much of a concussion problem. Despite being one of the province’s most physical teams they have been lucky to avoid the concussion pandemic and that the new system will hopefully further decrease the risk of head injuries.
With the YMF program hosting the first ever camp of this kind in Saskatchewan the Big Play Team is planning on hosting camps throughout Saskatchewan throughout the spring/summer to continue its cause in improving player safety.