With increased national conversation around the effects of head injuries, concussions and the rise of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) diagnoses among athletes engaged in contact sports, the sport of football at all levels has come under fire from the media and from health advocacy groups. With much of the current media coverage painting football in a negative light,
I found this recent article by Brad Schaffer rather insightful. I have coached literally thousands of young men over my 26-year coaching career, so I certainly understand the seriousness of head injuries. As a parent of three active and athletic boys who play football, lacrosse, and hockey, I can also absolutely relate to a parent’s concern for the safety and health of their children. These concerns do not need to be understated or overlooked. There is risk of injury in anything our children do including activities outside of sports. As a responsible parent we have to weigh these risks and do what we feel is best for our children.
We have allies in this fight for our children’s safety. Sports equipment companies have worked to provide cutting-edge protective technologies that have lowered the risks of head injuries for our children, but teaching the game the right way is more critical than it has ever been. With all of the new skills and techniques that have been developed with player safety in mind, staying current on the latest coaching innovations is critical for safety and success. Football has changed. Rules have changed. How we teach blocking and tackling has changed. At Calloway Football, we are dedicated not only to teaching coaches how to win, but how to win safely.
Above and beyond concerns for player safety, I can tell you that football brings so much more to the table. You can not overstate the life lessons the sport of football teaches. I fully agree with Mr. Schaeffer when he says “Football coaches fulfill a role sorely missing in our society.” As coaches we hold in our hands the trust of our parents and players and we must take our role as a leader very seriously. We are much more than just football coaches.
As the article points out, the sport of football:
Coaches… do not take your role lightly. Football participation is falling across the country. Concerns about player safety, a reduction in school system investment in sports and the expense tied to playing youth sports has parents across America making tough choices. We should all be active in the fight to keep growing our sport because many young men need football.
You have a tremendous impact on the young men you are coaching. How you handle yourself as a coach may be the only example that young man will ever see of an authority figure. Despite the risks facing young men who choose our great sport, your choices and behaviors can help shape young men’s lives for the better.