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AAP COSMF Policy on Tackling in Youth Football

New guidelines for parents and pediatricians ensure football can stay fun!

The benefits of participating in youth sports are widespread, from teaching children the importance and value of teamwork, to preventing childhood obesity. However, an increased awareness of football-related concussions both in the media and medical communities has led to the need for guidelines on how we protect our young athletes.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) is an industry leader in ensuring football safety, and the only hospital in Denver with representation on the American Academy of Pediatricians’ Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (AAP COSMF) Executive Committee. Dr. Brooke Pengel recently participated in the development of AAP COSMF’s official policy statement on tackling and youth football, which offers research-based strategies for reducing tackling-related injuries. RMHC is proud to support the AAP COSMF policy statement and to work with our community to lower the number of football-based injuries.

RMHC: Supporting Youth Athletes On and Off the Field

At RMHC, our care of student football players extends beyond the hospital itself. We are proud to provide athletic trainers to two Denver public schools, at no cost. These trainers attend every football game to provide immediate medical care to the team. These trainers, Ashley O’Hayre and Josh Yamaguchi, work closely with coaches and athletic staff to prevent serious injury and to provide guidance on playing safely.

  • Based on the recent AAP COSMF policy statement on tackling in youth football, RMHC makes the following recommendations:
  • Teach proper tackling techniques that minimize risk of head and neck injury.
  • Consider rule changes around tackling, especially for the youngest leagues, and enforcement of existing policies.
  • Ensure equipment is up-to-date and fits each player properly, including helmets with secured chinstraps.
  • Include neck muscle strengthening in training exercises to allow players to keep the ‘head-up’ position for proper tackling.
  • Include a certified athletic trainer as part of your sideline staff during games and practices.