Local H.S. Football Coach Plays Role In Making The Game Safer
By Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s been a lot of concern about concussions in sports lately, especially football. So, a local high school coach led a clinic Saturday, giving other coaches a “heads up.”
Gabe Infante is the head football coach at St. Joe’s Prep, but to USA Football he’s a “Master Trainer.” He’s one of the teachers of their “Heads Up Football” program.
“To be asked to lead this initiative in this area is a great honor for our program and for our kids and for our families,” Infante said. “The concussion issue is very analogous to an epidemic and anytime you’re dealing with an epidemic it’s really important to get information out and educate people and empower people.”
So he brought his knowledge to the Eagles Novacare Complex and shared it with dozens of youth coaches from the region. He says football will always be a very physical game but teaching the proper way of tackling, especially to young players, is so critical.
“The point of contact, when you’re tackling someone, should be the front of the shoulder as opposed to anything involving the head or the helmet,” he said.
These lessons go beyond just videotape, techniques and drills. There was a segment on helmet and shoulder pad fitting. Infante also stressed the importance of how coaches communicate with their players.
“The words that we use to teach tackling convey very powerful messages,” he said. “We want to be very careful in the words that we use to describe the techniques that make, not only a safer tackler but a more efficient tackler.”
Joining Coach Infante was Aaron Brady, head coach of Gonzaga College High School in Washington D.C. He said this initiative is important so that the good habits start young and not just for a life in football but, more importantly, outside of it.
“At the end of the day, how many of these guys are going to play in the NFL? It’s less than 1 percent if it’s that high. It’s a really small number so you’re talking about brain injuries, you’re talking about being prepared to play the game safely.”
Infante adds the concussion issue brings the football community together, for the love of a sport they want to see get smarter and safer.