EDINBORO — High school head football coaches from throughout Crawford County sound off on the impact of concussions, the steps they take to keep their players safe, and how the recent research on the hazards of concussions has changed the landscape of the sport:
“I think a lot of it has to do with how you tackle, the techniques of tackling. You try to eliminate using the head. It’s something we discuss all the time — try not to use the forehead, try not to take hits that way or deliver hits that way. We do some neck strengthening activities every day other than gamedays. That’s the main things we do. And we just discuss it with the kids so that they know the symptoms and we do as well.
“I think a lot of (concussions) you see early in the season. We don’t seem to see it as much as the year progresses. ... I bet if you asked around you don’t have as many as the season progresses. It’s a matter of getting used to wearing your helmet, wearing shoulder pads, not being as tired.”
— Pat Gould, Conneaut
“We try to limit the number of full contact collisions in practice. It’s more form-fit tackling and blocking. But there are some places where you have to have it during the week. You still have to be prepared for the (games). But the number of live plays and live drills have definitely decreased.
“We have very active first-aiders and trainers that are there a lot. We can have a kid diagnosed with a concussion, a minor one, and there’s a chance he’s back the following week if he has no symptoms. But then we have kids that say, ‘Oh, I feel good.’ They’ll let it go for a week. Then all the sudden they’re exercising and they start getting a headache and they have to take a step back.”
— Clint Rauscher, Cambridge Springs