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The cause and effect of football tackling

Posted Dec 26 2010 4:44pm

Alan Scharz wrote a great article called “ Teaching Young Players a Safer Way to Tackle ” which talked about Bobby Hosea, a 55-year-old former defensive back, and his program called HITTS which teaches young players how to protect their heads while tackling.

He has watched too many end up in wheelchairs, even coffins. He sees N.F.L. defenders recklessly diving helmet-first and claiming it is too late to change. He hears youth coaches exhorting tacklers to “lay a hat on him,” a maneuver so neck-crushingly dangerous it could well be called Rushing Roulette.

Harry How/Getty Images

Besides what we might call reckless coaching (instructing kids to hit head first) could there be another reason why players are hitting head down more and more in the last decade or so? I think so.


Bad posture.

Let me explain. The youth of America has worse and worse posture every year. Feet splayed out. Knocked knees. Tilted hips. Rounded spines and hinged shoulders. Heads dropping forward and down.

Poor posture of todays youth.

Now in order to hit like coach Hosea wants kids to they have to be able to get low and arch their back to keep their heads up. Kids poor posture is stopping them from being able to do that and coaches across the country have the same issue and we have all turned to head down tackling.

The result:

Has been a steady rise in concussions — estimated at more than 500,000 each season among the 4.4 million children who play tackle football — as well as more rare but catastrophic injuries where vertebrae are crushed or fractured, leaving the player paralyzed.

To fix the problem I believe we should teach kids how to tackle head up just like coach Hosea is doing but we should also help kids improve their posture through postural alignment therapy or Patch Fitness .

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