LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As football season approaches, one camp is teaching young players safer tackling techniques to guard against dangerous head injuries.
Bobby Hosea is the founder and coach of Train ‘Em Up Academy, a tackling camp focused on improving safety in tackle football.
“The way you tackle, that’s what’s going to keep you safe,” said Hosea. “There’s no accidents. Brain injuries are not accidents; people that get paralyzed in football, it’s not an accident.”
The former UCLA cornerback, who played professionally in Canada and for the United States Football League, now trains young players in a new tackling technique to help protect the head and neck from serious injury.
Developed in 1997, the 12-step tackling method teaches players to use their hips and arms to help keep their heads up and out of the tackle. A study was done on Hosea’s method in 2011.
“There was a scientific research study done on my tackling technique; it showed a 43 percent reduction in helmet-first impact. That was 100 percent of the crown. That’s where all the problems are,” said Hosea. “You take the crown out of the tackle, you take out a multitude of injuries.”
Concerns over football safety helped draw an estimated 150 people to the LA84 Foundation and a youth sports conference on football head trauma that examined whether children should even play tackle football.
“We are in our third crisis now, and it’s the concussion crisis,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, author of “Concussions and our Kids.”
Dr. Cantu, one of the foremost experts on traumatic brain injury and the author of more than 379 scientific publications and some 32 books on head trauma, warns that parents may have to stop their children from playing football if they are repeatedly knocked out.
“From repeated concussions you have a greater likelihood that the symptoms you now get will go on longer and be more severe,” said Dr. Cantu. “They are lasting months, and in a few cases even years.”
Dr. Cantu said the risk to younger players is due in part to differences in young brains.
“Young brains are also lighter than adult brains,” he said. “So from an inertia standpoint the same blow to a young brain is going to move that brain more than it would an adult brain.”
For some parents of youth football players, Hosea’s tackling camp is one way to address safety concerns.
“For me it means everything,” said Chris Matthews, whose son is starting on a freshman football squad. “Before he started high school football I wanted him to have the basic mechanics on how to tackle safely.”
“No helmet can protect you from neck or spinal cord injuries,” Hosea tells players. “It’s how you play.”
For more on the work of Dr. Robert Cantu, visit his website.
For more information on Coach Bobby Hosea’s Train-Em-Up Academy, visit their website.