Research shows that head-on collisions in tackle football can lead to life-altering concussions. In an effort to reduce some of those injuries while focusing more on the fundamentals of the game, Onalaska football is implementing a change to their youth programs.
Starting this fall season fifth and sixth grade Onalaska football teams will now play TackleBar football.
The new style of play features athletes removing a synthetic rubber bar called a TackleBar to stop play, instead of tackling to the ground. Onalaska football staff hope the change reduces injuries to young athletes while enhancing other aspects of their play.
"We have more time now at practice to teach the fundamentals," Onalaska High School Head Football Coach Tom Yashinsky describes.
"We're going to modify the rules and control what the defenses do so that offenses can be more successful so that kids can develop the other skills they need in football, without the fear of being tackled," Yashinsky elaborates.
Yashinsky continues to say they will still teach the basics of tackling to prepare athletes for higher levels of competition.
While some parents are worried the change will impact athletes when reaching those higher levels of play, some young football players say it's a great way to keep them involved.
"I am just not that kind of person, so I am glad they are making a new thing for kids that don't want to get hit or hit other people," fifth grade football player Noah Hougom says.
A sport loving kid involved in soccer and baseball, Hougom's mom knew he was not as excited to start tackle in the fall.
"He was really very happy and he perked his interest right up again because he wants to get more involved again now that he has this opportunity available," Noah's mom Sheila Hougom discloses.
To register your child for the upcoming football season, search for youth sports on the website of the Onalaska Parks and Rec.