With the recent changes to NFL rules looking to deter helmet-to-helmet hits in an attempt to further prevent concussion injuries, it’s uppermost in the minds of Gull Lakes’ Varsity football coach Ryan Gallogly, who has been coaching sports for 30 years.
Although the rate of concussions is alarming to many, insight into the issue shines light on a new viewpoint.
“It appeared as though the number of concussions went up [nationally], but we really were just starting to diagnose it,” coach Gallogly said.
The awareness towards concussions has still sparked change in how football teams practice.
“[We’ve] had significant changes over the years in equipment, then practice, and now unsafe play,” Gallogly said.
This, along with decreases in time allowed for full contact in practices, has been the main ways into which Gull Lake and other schools across the nation look to make the game safer.
Looking at a higher level of play, the changes in rules for the NFL on helmet-contact safety is moreso a further deterrent for professional athletes.
“[The NFL] is really trying to emphasize what’s already been done at lower levels,” Gallogly said.
Even with the risk of concussions, students and athletes continue to play, partly because of the emphasis on the group.
“Football is about the eleven players out there… in a country where there seems to be a greater divide, football seems to bring it together,” Gallogly said.
When talking hopes about this football season and the future of the sport, two things stuck out to Gallogly.
“Educating the population on the improvements [in football safety]… along with the dangers is a good combination,” he said.
Although the safety of athletes is constantly trying to be improved, Gallogly said it’s important to coach for the team to stay focused, with the main goal of the football team being to “develop as a cohesive unit and team.”