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Former NFL, ASU football player teaching Valley athletes how to avoid head injuries

Mike Pollak is aiming to reduce the number of head injuries in football by teaching coaches and players how to reduce head contact.
Credit: Pexels.com

PHOENIX — High school football season is right around the corner.

And in recent years, that has brought about a heightened debate surrounding players safety, especially when it comes to head injuries.

To help keep players safe, former Arizona State University and NFL player Mike Pollak is teaching coaches and players how to reduce head contact.

“Really trying to get the kids to understand that contact on the football field shouldn’t involve the pushing motion,” said Mike Pollak, who is now the director of training at Tip of the Spear, an outfit based out of Phoenix focused on teaching safer football moves.

“When I go to push something or press something, I’m bringing my head closer to contact,” Pollak said. “What really we should be doing is using our hips better to elevate our opponents. Because when I use my hips correctly, my head is eliminated from contact.”

In short, hands go inside, the player explodes and uncoils his hips, driving the opponent and his own head back.

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James Knos, a senior football player at Basha High School, said he feels safer “cause my head is not getting knocked around every play."

Pollak said he used to be one of those parents who didn’t want his kid to play football, because of the injuries he received.

“But having learned this new way to approach contact has really revitalized and reenergized my belief that kids can play football and not sustain those injuries that a lot of parents are scared of,” Pollak said. 

Pollak teaches the same techniques to players at the collegiate and NFL level. And since 2012, that includes over 80,000 players and coaches, according to Pollak.

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