As high school football teams around the state are taking part in early spring practice, the University Interscholastic League is placing a new requirement on coaches to make the game safer.
Next school year coaches will have to become certified in teaching tackling.
The game is changing, and coaches know they have to be willing to change with it to keep their players safe.
In October 2017, the UIL Legislative Council passed a rule requiring every Texas high school and junior high school football coach to become certified in teaching tackling as a part of the official UIL Coaches Certification Program beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
"Tackling is one of those things where most injuries occur, either performing a tackle or being tackled. I think it is a great step by the UIL to make sure that all of our coaches in the state of Texas are teaching it correctly, and we are keeping our kids as safe as we possibly can," said Flour Bluff Head Coach Chris Steinbruck.
The UIL, along with the Texas High School Coaches Association, selected Seattle-based Atavus Sports as the exclusive provider of that training. With this new measure, UIL has made Texas the first in the country to implement a mandatory statewide tackling certification program for all football coaches.
"The state of Texas is second to none as far as really quality coaches that do a tremendous job in the classroom, countless hours on the field, and this is just one more thing that is going to help all of our coaches be on the same page as far as the correct techniques and fundamentals to tackling in the game of football," said Steinbruck.
The certification process for coaches will be available in two formats. The first option is an on-site training offered by THSCA, consisting of a presentation followed by a live assessment that must be passed to receive certification.
"We all have to continue to be proactive in ensuring the proper safety of our kids. That is the bottom line," said Steinbruck.
The second option, will be available starting April 1, 2019, and this will be an online platform.
While it does become mandatory this coming school year, coaches will have two years to get certified.