South Bay High School Football Team Celebrates Concussion-Free Season

Article by Ryann Vargas - NBC Bay Area

A South Bay high school football team is celebrating its first concussion-free season in years, and the coaching staff points to a new tackling method as the reason.

The Mountain View High School Spartans finished the 2015 varsity football season with no concussions.

Coach Shelley Smith says the team’s trainer logs all concussions — whether minor or major — and last year there were none to report.

"In the 16 years I've been coaching, that's only happened one time," said Smith, who has been head coach at Mountain View High for four years. He now also serves as the school's athletic director.

“The other sports in our school actually had more concussions than our football program,” Smith said.

The junior varsity football team did have three concussions last year, but Smith says overall the numbers were reduced.

The Spartans have been practicing a new rugby-style tackle called the “Hawk Tackle,” a method used by the Seattle Seahawks.

Smith says the change was made after attending a coaching clinic in February 2015, where a Seahawks coach introduced the method.

“Basically it’s a shoulder leverage type tackle. Takes the head out,” Smith said. “When I was growing up and involved with football and early stages of coaching, your head was always involved in the tackle. This basically stresses taking the head out of the tackle or out of the contact zones and we’ve had a lot of success so far. It’s been good.”

The players admit learning the new tackle was at first difficult. (continue reading full article)