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SHAKOPEE, Minn. – As youth football across the state gets underway this week, some football associations have already proved they are serious about keeping athletes as safe as possible.

"We want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to tackling," says Corey Carlson, president of the Shakopee Youth Football Association.

Prior to the beginning of the season the organization held an event to make sure coaches, players, and even parents all understood the proper and safe way to make a tackle. An important event with the numbers of kids signing up for football on the decline.

"We've heard some cities have seen 10 to 20 percent drops in numbers," says Carlson. "We don't want to see that here."

More than 400 kids, grade school through middle school, attended the event which took them through the key steps to a safe tackle. The event was even more important for youth coaches.

"We need to make sure they're all teaching this the same way," said Jody Stone, head coach of Shakopee's high school team. "If they develop bad habits now, there can be concerns in the future."

Other Twin Cities youth associations held similar events. Those in Shakopee say it's critical information with many parents concerned about concussions, helmet to helmet contact, or other head and neck injuries.

"We want to reassure parents that we're doing everything we can," says Stone. "We want to give them confidence that when they drop their kids off with us we are taking care of them."

Shakopee is using curriculum from USA Football's Heads Up program.

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