Concussions still a big concern at high school level
NEW ULM – One of the issues that is facing high football is the concern over concussions.
New Ulm Cathedral football coach Denny Lux, Minnesota Valley Lutheran coach Jim Buboltz and New Ulm High School’s Tony Ortman all agree that the concerns about concussions are a matter that needs to be, and is being addressed, by the coaches, the schools and the Minnesota High School League.
“First of all, we want to make sure that we are protecting our players,” Lux said. “With the equipment that we have, with the drills that we do our drills in practice and games we want to make sure that we have a trainer on the sidelines and that our players are honest with the trainer. We are going to do everything that we can to make sure our players are safe.”
While proper tackling and blocking techniques are being stressed more by each coach, Lux feels that players are more aware and honest.
“In the past players may not have always been honest in how they felt and I feel that honesty is why you are seeing more written about it and more concerns about it,” he said. “Players are coming foward now and that is a good thing.”
Ortman said that there is that concern about injuries.
“But the sad thing is and I do not think that everyone knows this is that football has never been more safe,” he said. “With the technology of equipment that is out there and how tackling is being taught, it has never been more safe. Things that have happened in the past are giving football a bad wrap right now. A lot of those things have been changed – you are never going to take injuries out of football or any game.”
Buboltz’s opinion goes back to parents of current players who played the game “in the 20th century and before there was a lot of education, new science being done and the rules being changed that football got a bad reputation of being a dirty and dangerous game.”
Like Lux and Ortman, Buboltz said that “this game is being taught safer, equipment is being made to keep kids safer than it ever has been. This is one of the heights of football right now and it is a bad rep that football is now getting whether it is from the National Football League or from players who played the game wrong.”
One of the rule changes this year being implemented in high school football is targeting.
“The whole idea is that there does not need to be any unnecessary hitting,” Lux said. “If there is a player who is 20 yards away from the play and he is not involved in anything, if you go out and put a hit on that guy you will get called for targeting because he had nothing to do with the play. These will be things that the officials will have to use their own discretion and crews will all be different.”
Buboltz said that he thinks that the game will come back.
“This is a great game,” Buboltz said. “The stats will show you where the concussions are at for football. There are a lot more sports that are ahead of football in percentages.”