A North County high school is giving its football players pro training to help keep them safe from concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain.
Recognizing the potential dangers, over the past four years, Rancho Bernardo High School’s football team has enlisted the help of Tip of The Spear Football.
Among the company’s instructors, retired Super Bowl Champion and former San Diego Aztecs linebacker Freddy Keiaho, whose career was cut short because of head trauma.
“We want to indoctrinate our kids and athletes with this mentality that we can strike viciously with our hands and our hips and take the head out of it,” Keiaho said.
According to a CDC report from 2018 there were roughly 2.5 million students who had sports-related concussions.
Hoping to help keep some of the NFL hopefuls from suffering a similar fate, Keiaho and another former NFL player, Michael Pollak, spent Tuesday afternoon showing high school football players from RBHS and several schools across the county martial arts-inspired hand techniques. The lessons showed players how to use their hips to hit hard without using their helmets.
“I want to give pressure from below using my hips for two reasons,” explained Pollak while demonstrating with players. “What happens when I use my hips? What does my head do? It comes away from contact which is good.”
It’s a lesson Rancho Bernardo senior Tony Bloom learned the hard way. Bloom admitted he didn't take the training as serious as he should have during his first two seasons on the team.
In his sophomore year, Bloom suffered a concussion, but hasn't had one since he truly started practicing the techniques.
“I’ve applied it to games and practices," Bloom said. "Using hands is much better, plus you get more strength than the head."
The team’s coach said since they’ve been using the Tip of The Spear Football technique over the last four years, the frequency of player concussions has decreased.