Texas will be the first state in the country to implement the tackling certification program that is mandatory for all football coaches, according to a press release from the University Interscholastic League. Seattle-based Atavus Sports will oversee and administer the certification process.
"Being from Texas and a former football coach in the state, this means a lot to me," said Rex Norris, head of football for Atavus Sports. "A dominant tackle is a safer tackle, and we are excited to get to work helping coaches teach tackling techniques that will benefit their players and improve their team's performance.”
The UIL Executive Director Charles Breithaupt said the UIL Legislative Council sees the mandatory training as a way to improve the game.
"The UIL Legislative Council was overwhelmingly in favor of supporting this measure," Breithaupt said. "We view the addition of a mandatory tackling certification for football coaches as a positive educational extension that will ultimately improve the game and the welfare of our students."
Football accounted for roughly half of the number of PISD students who entered the district's sports-related concussion protocol in the 2016-17 school year, according to records obtained by Community Impact Newspaper.
At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, Plano ISD rolled out a series of updates to how it tracks instances of concussions and hired more trainers.
In addition to the updates, the district also implemented a “return-to-learn” protocol, which is used to help ease students back into the classroom, district spokesperson Lesley Range-Stanton told Community Impact Newspaper in a previous interview.
“To me, [the students] have to be symptom-free and able to be back at school getting their normal grades before we start return-to-play,” said Dr. Martha Grimm, the medical director of the Texas Health Ben Hogan Concussion Center Plano.