Football: Safety stressed at Heads Up Clinic
By Logan Malloy For Sun-Times Media July 15, 2013 10:52PM
The proper tackling technique is shown during a Heads Up Football Player Safety Clinic in Indianapolis. | Supplied photo
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:31AM
Former NFL linebacker Nick Greisen is no stranger to the perils of football.
An All-Big Ten selection at Wisconsin, Greisen was drafted by the New York Giants in 2002 and played with Jacksonville, Baltimore and Denver before a knee injury sidelined his career in 2010.
“There’s a ton of violence,” Greisen said of playing in the NFL. “It’s a violent game. But many other games can be violent at times.”
These days, Greisen’s goal is to make football a little less brutal for those starting out in the game.
On Saturday, Greisen visited the Tinley Park at the Bulldog Fieldhouse as USA Football conducted its Heads Up Football Player Safety Clinic. Greisen trained youth coaches from the Southland about proper equipment fitting, concussion awareness and correct tackling technique.
“Growing up playing sports, you talk about getting your bell rung,” Greisen said. “Nothing was ever talked about when we were young kids. It wasn’t until the NFL when you heard about concussions. I’m sure I’ve had one, but I’ve never been diagnosed with one. You always think with a concussion you have to be knocked out or not remember anything, but that’s not necessarily the case.”
Greisen noted one of the clinic’s key components was to inform coaches and parents on how to diagnose a concussion and the proper protocol that should follow.
“There’s a myth out there that once you’ve had a concussion, you’re more likely to have another, and that’s not true,” he said. “If you’ve had a concussion and don’t take the full time to recover, that’s when you’re more likely to have a concussion. We’re trying to break that myth and inform people.”
Dave Klusacek, president of the Southwest Midget Football League, believes it all starts with intelligent instruction.
“We want to make sure football stays safe,” Klusacek said. “This isn’t dads getting up off the couch anymore. It’s about educating our coaches and making sure they’re teaching the right techniques.”
Greisen said there’s been a 6 percent decline in youth football over the past few years in the wake of worries about concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
“The No. 1 concussion that happens in kids is riding bikes, not football,” Greisen said. “You don’t see parents pulling their kids off bikes because of concussions, so we want to make sure parents are informed just like everyone else is.”