High school coaches take notice of NFL crackdown on violent hits - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

High school coaches take notice of NFL crackdown on violent hits

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 By  Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - It was a moment during the Sunday Pittsburgh Steelers/Cleveland Browns game and then a violent collision during the Patriots and Ravens game that forced the NFL to announce it will start suspending players for flagrant hits including helmet to helmet.

"Your head is jerked violently.  The brain goes back and forth within the skull.  You get a concussion that can lead to further damage down the road," said Mike Wilkinson, Director of Outreach Services for Mississippi Sports Medicine.

The NFL's new standard is what Wilkinson believes has to be adopted early in a player's life.

"Very, very few percent of these kids in high school are going to play pro ball, but they may take these concussion problems in to life where it affects their personality intelligence, all different problems they may have."

High school coaches are taking notice of the NFL's actions.

"There's no doubt anything they do the repercussions will be felt by us.  It might not be immediately, but it will be for sure," said Pearl High School Football Coach John Perry.  When asked if it will change how he coaches his kids Perry replied, "I tell you what. We try, we think we try, to do a pretty good job of teaching our kids on how to tackle properly.  How to do things right because we feel like it is our responsibility."

Perry said players are encouraged to be physical and take their opponents down.  What is intended as a clean hit can be changed by an unexpected move on the gridiron.

"There's a fine line between hitting someone in their chest and hitting them in the helmet so it's a tough thing," said Perry.

To keep young players safe the Mississippi High School Activities Association adopted new guidelines this year.  If a player gets a minor concussion they are not allowed to return to the game.

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