||This article was reprinted with permission
from Journal of Athletic Training
|Back where it all began. The concept of spearing by
ball carriers came to me back in the mid 80's while I was
a student athletic trainer at William Paterson. Hanging
outside the athletic training room was a simple newspaper
photo of a ball carrier and tackler about to make contact,
helmet to helmet with their heads down. Our Program
Director, Toby Barbosa, wrote on the photo in black magic
marker, "Is this spearing?". That's how this whole thing
In 1989 I began grad school at the University of Florida.
All along the idea had been rolling around in my little brain.
I saw it in every football game I watched, but never saw it
mentioned in an article. I noticed players like Walter
Payton & Earl Campbell punishing tacklers in the NFL with
the technique. During my first year at UF I mustered
up the confidence to submit an article on the topic to The
Physician & SportsMedicine. It was basically an
editorial and truthfully a pretty lame effort. Needless
to say, it came back fairly quickly and fully rejected.
If it ever got to any of their editors, I'm sure they had
a good laugh.
But the rejection made me realize I needed some data that
demonstrated how often it occurred. There followed the
brainstorm to review game films. My brother was coaching
football at Millville High School, and that presented the
opportunity. During the spring and summer of 1990 I
began reviewing the game films and collecting the data.
I took the photos during the 1990 season, both in Gainesville
and at Millville. I finished writing the article during
the winter break of 1990 and it was submitted to the Journal
of Athletic Training in Feb. of 1991.
That's when the "fun" began. My sincere thanks still
go out to Dr. Ken Knight, the Editor in Chief at the time
and to the reviewers of my article. The article still
had a long way to go, and they actually coached me through
this process. It is no easy task to learn to write in
the first person with active voice while dealing with statistics.
Or at least it wasn't for me. Back and forth the article
went, each time requesting additional revisions. Gradually
I learned. After three full revisions and almost an
entire year the article was accepted for publication on Feb.
18th 1992. And I realized it was something I enjoyed