Effectiveness of the Heads Up Tackling (HUT) program on tackling safety and performance in American football

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<p>The purpose of this study was to verify the effectiveness of the Heads Up Tackling program by defensive players and its influence on safety and performance. Head impacts in football players are directly associated with brain and spine injury, and have been proposed to be associated with chronic injuries such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Therefore, improving safety has been a challenge for football, from the perspective of injury prevention. In 2012, USA Football, the national governing body for amateur American football in the U.S. developed the Heads Up Football (HUF) program which included "Heads Up Tackling (HUT)", a new instruction of tackling technique. HUT has been attracting attention as an effort to enhance the safety of tackling through a new coaching methodology. Although in Japan, there has been no reports of football related chronic injuries caused by head impacts so far, many concussions occur in football games. Therefore, identifying a methodology to teach tackling techniques to reduce the risks of head and neck injuries seem necessary. There has been studies of coaching intervention related with safety and to reduce head impact exposure and injuries, however there has been no reports relating these efforts with the athletes' performance during a game. If this study can indicate that HUT reduces the risks of injuries in a football game without decreasing athlete performances, it will become a useful resource for the instruction of tackling skills. Four matches of the Japan top league (X-league) 2014 and 2015 season were analyzed, before and after HUT intervention was executed in the preseason of 2015. A total of 166 coded tackles were compared in terms of "characteristics of tackling," "amount of injuries," "effectiveness of tackling," and "loss of yards" to examine the effect of HUT techniques on "safety" and "effectiveness". The results showed the following. (1) Head "down" tackling was significantly lower after HUT intervention. (2) "Amount of injuries" was reduced after HUT intervention. (3) No effect was observed on the "effectiveness of tackling" in the games. (4) "Loss of yards" was reduced after HUT intervention. (5) The investigation implies that HUT may have reduced the risks of injuries in the game of football, without decreasing athletes' tackle performances.</p>

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  • International Journal of Sport and Health Science

    International Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2018

    一般社団法人 日本体育学会

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