USA Football aims to change the perception of the sport worldwid -

USA Football aims to change the perception of the sport worldwide

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Photo Credit: KMOV Photo Credit: KMOV

Youth and high school football coaches converged on O’Fallon Township High School Saturday morning for the purpose of improving – and defending – their sport.  Football has rough image in certain parts of the country due to injuries and an increased scrutiny on concussions.

USA Football is a program started four years ago aimed at teaching youth coaches the right way to play, the right way to practice, the right way to block, the right way to do everything.

It is their sincere belief football is not a dangerous spot.

“It’s a matter of playing (football) correctly,” USA Football’s Michael Bellers said. “For so many years people were confused on how to tackle, how to block. The rules of football have increasingly gotten safer.  Now, it’s making sure players play it the right way.”

Why, then, are so many parents refusing to let their children play football?

“I just think there’s been a microscope that’s been put on football and there’s a lot of things that we have to deal with and try to overcome.  I think we are,” Bellers said, who’s also a former high school coach himself.

For a ten-year period participating in the sport had decreased at the global level.  That’s including youth football and high school football combined.  Last year, however, participation went up for the first time in a decade.

Bellers admits there was, and still is, a high level of concern.  But this new program offered to coaches around the country and around the world is paying dividends.  Just three states in the country require their schools to participate in USA Football. 

Missouri is not one of them.

The hope is that changes soon.

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