MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Heads Up program is a new initiative that's reshaping the way kids play football. The 2016 South Carolina Coaches convention Saturday brought coaches from around the state together to learn this new technique and put it to good use on the field.
Jimmy Wallace is a Master Trainer with USA Football, and a four-time state champion coach in South Carolina. However, he doesn't teach players, he teaches coaches.
"If we you leave here today and you can't teach 150 kids this then I'm no good to you." said Wallace.
This new medically-endorsed program is known as Heads Up Football. It's designed to teach kids new ways to block and tackle that don't involve using your head. Wallace went over dozens of practical demonstrations, and said the results are making the game safer.
"We want coaches to get certified in a lot of areas: heat and hydration, heat preparedness, sudden cardiac, concussions. Heads Up blocking, Heads Up tackling," Wallace said. "The bottom line is we want a better game and we want a safer game."
Dean Boyd is the head coach and athletic director of Marlboro County High School. He said he's known Wallace for years, and is used to his "hands on" approach.
"He'll get after you pretty good, I turned 50 this year and I told him I was a member of the AARP so I don't know how much I'm going to get out there and do," Boyd said.
Boyd says these new techniques have been vital in how he coaches the game, and he's seen fewer injuries because of it. Concussion has become a buzzword around the game of football. Boyd says it's important to make a safer game for future generations, however, he also wished to dispel some per-conceived notions.
"We've just got to do a good job as coaches to say hey we're educated at this and first and foremost we care about our kids." said Boyd.
Wallace emphasized teaching to the coaches, saying it's important to make kids understand the risks of the game and the best ways to avoid them.