CDC Football – Safety First!!!
Professional football is unquestionably our country’s most popular sport. With enormous popularity comes unequaled media focus, scrutiny, and publicity – both positive and negative. Included in this publicity are the concussions experienced by NFL players. These injuries have resulted in a noticeable drop in youth football registrations across not only our state, but the country as well. Most families are well informed and make decisions based upon their interpretation of the facts and then decide what is best for their sons and daughters. Others make decisions that aren’t necessarily based on fact, but rather on what they may perceive to be true. The purpose of this article is NOT to misrepresent the risks associated with playing football, or any other contact sport for that matter. My goal is to present facts to families deciding on whether or not to allow their child to play football at Carmel Dads' Club so that informed decisions can be made.
CDC has long been the “gold standard” for youth sports in the State of Indiana, and being at the forefront of player safety is one of the reasons why. Participating in CDC football has never been safer. Please consider the following facts:
Helmet Certification: Every year, CDC reconditions, sanitizes, and recertifies every football helmet in our inventory in accordance with NOCSAE standards. There is no state or federal regulation that mandates helmet recertification, although most manufacturers will recommend a regular recertification to NOCSAE standards every 2 to 3 years. CDC goes above and beyond that recommendation with yearly recertification.
State Certification: The State of Indiana will require any public school coach in all sports to be certified to spot concussions symptoms and deal with them by July 2017. Starting in 2015, CDC was proactive to the pending legislation by requiring that every football head coach and at least one assistant coach per team take and pass three state-sponsored classes on Concussions in Sports, Heat Illness Prevention, and SEA 222. SEA 222 is a football-specific class that instructs coaches on proper equipment fitting and proper tackling technique. Certificates of completion for all teams and coaches are on file at CDC offices.
Helmet Fitting: For several years now you may have noticed that CDC has a representative of Riddell onsite during equipment distribution to train, oversee, and assist in helmet fitting. While all volunteers are instructed on how to properly fit a helmet, having a representative from the helmet manufacturer there provides additional assurance that the fit is right. In addition to the fit, it is important to note that all of CDC helmets are either 4-star or 5-star rated in accordance with the Virginia Tech system.
Training: There are two seminars all head and assistant coaches attend prior to the season starting. The first is a concussion seminar hosted by IU Health Sports Performance and given by Dr. Terry Horner, who specializes in neurological surgery and traumatic brain injuries. The second is a coaching seminar presented by Coach Hebert and other varsity staff members. It is during these seminars that coaches are given important training and information regarding how to conduct practices and teach fundamentals that minimize concussive events. Dr. Horner also provides information and resources and early traumatic brain injury (TBI) detection and proper response activities.
Contact Limitation: All football practices are conducted in full compliance with CDC’s Injury Prevention Guideline. The Guideline contains the following limitations:
-No full-speed head-on blocking or tackling drills in which line up more than three yards apart are permitted. No intentional head-to-head contact will be permitted at any time.
-The amount of contact at each practice will be limited to a maximum of 1/3 of practice time (either 30 minutes total of each practice or 1/3 of total weekly practice time). In this context, “contact” means any drill or scrimmage in which drills include down linemen vs. down linemen, full speed drills, or scrimmages.
-Teams will be limited to one scrimmage per week.
Coaches: All coaches (head and assistant) must submit to and pass a criminal background check.
There is obviously risk involved with playing any sport. Concussions and other injuries are not limited to football, soccer, basketball, or even recess for that matter. However, the importance or participating in well-run and well-organized sports and how that participation contributes to the development of a child cannot be overstated.