WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some changes will come to Texas football in the summer to make the game safer.
The University Interscholastic League and Texas High School Coaches Association mandated junior high and high school football coaches to receive a tackling certification before picking up a clipboard on the sidelines.
"Any time you're adding education to a system to your coaches that can translate to on-field instruction, you're going to improve somehow," Grant Freeman Wichita Falls High School Football Head Coach said.
Texas is the first state to do so and it is one of eight certifications coaches need.
"The sooner you start playing any kind of contact sport the higher risk you are for any kind of concussion," Dr. Brandon Ohman United Regional Sports Medicine physician said.
"We don't ever just run out there and throw the ball out and say 'go tackle somebody,'" Freeman said. "We always go through drills, we break it down, step by step, with our coaches, and then our coaches are able to teach that to our kids with a step by step process."
Freeman said with these mandated courses the coaches will all speak the same language around the state and will have the same methods to follow for all grade levels.
Freeman said he and his coaches want to emphasize to their players that using their helmet to tackle is dangerous. He said they should keep their head up and see what they are tackling.
Dr. Ohman said proper tackling comes from using your shoulders and hips and the consequences of using the helmet are severe.
"You can actually break your neck with that type of spearing type of tackle so you certainly don't want to teach anything like that," Dr. Ohman said.
He also said in the last two years, he has seen a couple of hundred concussions from football players between 14 and 16 years old.
Coaches can start tackling the courses next week either in person or online.