Measuring Safe Tackle Technique In American Youth Football: Preliminary Validation Of The Standard Assessment Of Tackle Technique Rubric
2.8 million Youth participate in full contact football. Young players could be exposed to more than 450 head impacts per season. One out of every thirty-three youth players may suffer a concussion each season. Tackling is a complex, reactive, psychomotor skill that carries potentially lifelong, catastrophic consequences if preformed incorrectly. Proper technique at an early age is essential. Our aim is to establish reliability for the Standard Assessment of Tackling Technique (SATT) a field-based, clinical assessment tool for measuring tackle proficiency. Fifteen, healthy middle school football players between age 10 and 14 were videotaped performing the Tackling Proficiency Assessment (TPA) over three separate sessions spaced seven days apart. Two raters independently scored videos using the SATT rubric. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.707. Intrarater reliability was moderate (ICC=0.57; 95% CI: 0.23-0.83) for rater 1 and good (ICC=0.79; 95% CI: 0.55-0.93) for rater 2. ICC values for sessions 1 and 2 were good, and moderate for session 3. SATT component 4-arm rip (ICC=0.40; 95% CI: 0.31-0.51) was the least reliable component while SATT component 5-leg drive (ICC=0.95; 95% CI: 0.92-0.97) was most reliable. Composite SATT scores had moderate to good intrarater reliability for both raters. Youth athletes should demonstrate their ability to perform a tackle safely, prior to participation in full contact play. Initial results show the SATT is a valid and reliable clinical assessment tool useful for evaluating basic tackle skill and identifying red flags like leading with the helmet or leaving their feet.