I saw something again today that I see too often. The Michigan quarterback in a football game got what appeared to be a very bad concussion at the end
of being tackled. This case, like many others, could likely have been avoided while still playing the game. The problem is that players are never
taught to fall properly.
I was about 43 when I learned to fall, as it was then that I took my son to some tae kwon do classes, and I was asked to join in. I was part of that
do jang for about ten years. As part of tae kwon do there are a series of "takedown" moves, and to practice them we had to practice against each
other. In order to avoid injury, one of the most important things right away was to learn to fall.
The first thing to know about falling is this - don't hit your head! The second is more general - disperse the force over a wide area to absorb the
energy! Those two things are the key to avoid injury. We were taught to generally bury our chin in our chest, and then slap the floor with our
forearms or full arms (airplane style) to absorb the blows. This works if falling backward or on the side. If falling forward you should again slap
the floor with your forearms and palms of your hands, but in this case make sure your head is up to keep it from hitting the floor. To spread the
force evenly, try to make sure that as much of your body hits at the same time as is possible.
As you are falling, there is a natural tendency to try and catch yourself. Aaron Rodgers did that on a couple of his injuries. The problem with that
approach is that all the force will end up on a joint or single bone and that can lead to injury. You need to instead spread the force out over a wide
area. It may seem like you'd be injured more by allowing the fall to complete, but that actually isn't the case. If you know how to spread the blow
you can fall over and over with no ill effect.
It may seem like there isn't enough time to save yourself when you are falling as you might think it happens too fast. But from lots of experience I
can assure you that there is quite a bit of time if you are aware of the techniques to avoid harm. You have plenty of time to properly position
yourself. Elderly people, especially vulnerable to falls, should know about the proper techniques, although they may be too late in life for training.
But certainly football should, in my opinion, be teaching proper falling techniques in the very first lessons of the game. I knew a former
professional who told me he had never been taught how to fall in his entire career. My guess is that most coaches don't even know about this important
I've tried writing about this a few times before, but it never got any traction. So I thought I'd try again today by writing here. It is just such a
waste to see fine young men suffer needless injury. Football is a rough game, and injuries will no doubt occur no matter what. But I am certain that
learning how to fall could eliminate a substantial and important fraction of the injuries, so I am hoping this post will help get the word out. Please
pass it along!
edit on 18-11-2017 by delbertlarson because: Corrected typo