Can better tackling make football safer?
That’s the thesis behind Atavus Football, a Seattle-based startup that uses data analytics and rugby fundamentals to help football players with their tackling technique.
The company scored a big win this week after the Texas High School Coaches Association picked Atavus to oversee the certification process for a new mandatory statewide tackling certification program.
Atavus encourages players to make contact with their shoulder, keeping their head out of the tackle. The company’s “Tacklytics” platform uses video and data analysis to help coaches understand how well their players are tackling. It also offers a comprehensive online training program.
The 8-year-old company’s growth comes at a pivotal time for football, particularly at the youth level, where growing safety concerns are leading to declining participation numbers.
Atavus already works with the University of Washington, Ohio State, and other top-ranked college football programs. The company also inspired Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who has been celebrated around the NFL for the introduction and encouragement of the “Hawk Tackle.”
Atavus employs 23 people. It recently hired Ron Jenkins, a former vice president of corporate partnerships for the Seahawks, and Kenneth Purcell, previously a managing partner at Chartwell Capital Management. Its CEO is Karen Bryant, a former longtime president of the Seattle Storm.