Pleasantville football coach changes tackling style to prevent head injuries

Posted: Updated:
EASTCHESTER -

According to the New York state Department of Health, about 4,000 children up to age 19 are treated for sports-related traumatic brain injuries each year.

Tony Becerra is the coach of the defending state champions, Pleasantville High School. He says his team took a lead on safety by trying to imitate techniques found in rugby.

"The old style was get your head in front of the ball carrier, head across," says Becerra. "This takes the head out of the equation - and if you ever watch a rugby game, all of their tackles, their head is behind the carrier, and the emphasis is on the shoulder."

According to a study done by a professor at New York Medical College, 99 percent of NFL players in a brain donation program were diagnosed with brain damage after death.

Just under 20 percent of high school athletes have had a concussion and over 5 percent have had more than one.

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