Coaches support football safety

A national movement to make youth football safer has support from state and local athletics officials. 

The Oregon School Activities Association issued a statement May 18 endorsing USA Football’s Development Model, which teaches better techniques for tackling and playing football at junior levels.

“It’s important that kids are having fun with football before you reach the age where tackling begins,” said Brandon Standridge, vice principal and athletics director at Creswell High School. 

A new approach to coaching, learning and playing football, the new model helps coaches develop the whole athlete based on a child’s age and stage of development. The framework introduces smarter and safer play, centered on fun and fundamental skills while reducing contact.

Said Rob Younger, who serves as the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association Executive Director: “This is such a smart framework.”

Creswell doesn’t have a youth program below middle school ages; Willamalane has closed its youth recreation programs due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. The Springfield-based community center usually has a robust youth football program.

Summer camp registration at Willamalane is opening June 3 for camps beginning on June 15. Leaders there said they are making modifications to camps that align with public-health recommendations.

Standridge said Creswell is evaluating its summer camps programs, too. Meanwhile, he said, “the emphasis at that stage should be on enjoying playing the game.”

Scott Worsham, the Bulldogs’ head football coach, agreed. 

 “I think it’s more important at the younger levels to understand the game and the fundamentals,” he said. “They don’t need to get beat up and punished when they’re young and start having sour feelings about football,” he said.



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