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Copyright 2017 Journal - Gazette Jun 6, 2017

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette


With the first summer workouts getting underway for high school football teams, Snider coach Kurt Tippmann pressed fellow coaches to enter the season with a game plan. But Tippmann wasn't referring to those involved in converting third-down conversions and stopping an offense at the goal line. He was talking about a game plan to battle concussions.

"As we talk ... what's going to be presented is the best practices, the gold standard," Tippmann said to nearly 20 youth and high school coaches in Snider's auditorium Monday. "What I challenge you to do as we go through each of these is compare yourself or your experience with what's suggested."

Tippmann is also a USA Football Master Trainer with the Heads Up Football program.

In the past few years, NFL USA Football and USA Rugby coaches have helped develop safer tackling techniques that Tippmann is looking to implement into youth football. These techniques include shoulder tackles, properly fitting helmets and shoulder pads, while also working players back from concussion and concussion-like symptoms and dealing with the summer heat.

Tippmann was first introduced to USA Football through his involvement with the Indiana Football Coaches Association.

"I felt that it was one of our responsibilities to try and provide for the coaches in our state, how do you be up-to-date with all the things that are going on in the game?" Tippmann said. "We do not want to lose kids because they fear the game and their parents fear the game as not safe."

Among those present at the meeting was Homestead's defensive coordinator Tim Messal, the Spartans' player safety coach, a role that revolves around bringing the techniques and recommendations made by Heads Up Football and implementing them effectively into his program.

With nearly 75 percent of youth leagues and over 2,200 high schools enrolling in Heads Up Football last year, Tippmann, Messal, and other youth coaches alike are hoping to make a major difference both on and off the field.

"I hope we get a little bit better public reception," Messal said of the recent negative publicity that has surrounded concussions in football. "Obviously, we're trying as coaches from the youth leagues all the way up to the NFL to try and make it safe as possible, but still keep it football."

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June 8, 2017


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