By Brian New

IRVING, TX (CBSDFW) – With talk of concussions dominating much the off-season, at all levels of football, perhaps now more than ever, parents are struggling with the question of whether to allow their children to play America’s most popular sport.

Saturday at Valley Ranch dozens of youth football coaches took part in a hands-on tackling clinic.

USA Football instructors trained in the head-up tackling technique took the volunteer coaches through a series of drills they can use with their teams to enforce safe tackling.

For the first time this year many youth football leagues in North Texas will have a coach whose sole responsibility is player safety.

Noni Ahlfinger, mother of two boys who play football, volunteered to be her league’s player safety coach.

The Arlington mother said as a ‘team mom’ she hears from many mothers about their concerns with concussions.

“This lets me talk in detail to them about what our coaches really focus on and things that we do to keep our players safe,” she explained.

Saturday’s clinic, which is a part of the heads up program, was run by high school football coaches  and USA Football master trainer Greg McCaig.

He said the key to keep kids safe is parent involvement.

“We talk about it all the time,” he said. “This is no more dangerous than soccer or basketball, lacrosse, or whatever.  We just have to be aware and not only are we doing that, but we’re being proactive.  We are trying to be on the cutting-edge.”

USA Football is the official youth football partner of the NFL.

Last month, the NFL pledged to donate $25-million over the next three years to support player safety in youth sports.


(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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