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NFL HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE

June 26, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



COMMISSIONER GOODELL ADDRESSES YOUTH SPORTS SAFETY AS PART OF PANEL AT NATIONAL PTA CONVENTION

At last week’s National PTA Convention in Cincinnati, COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL joined DR. ELIZABETH PIEROTH and former NFL player LAVAR ARRINGTON in a panel discussion on Health and Safety for a New Generation

 

The panel discussed the important role parents play in making decisions about their children’s recreational activities, the rewards of sports participation, and Arrington’s reflections on the lessons he learned from football, lessons he is now passing on as part of USA Football’s Heads Up Football initiative. Arrington is a Heads Up Football Ambassador and a member of the Heads Up Football Advisory Committee.

 

Pieroth, a head injury consultant for the Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Fire and a neuropsychologist at Northshore University HealthSystem, is also a member of the  Heads Up Football Advisory Committee.

 

As part of the event, Commissioner Goodell and outgoing National PTA President BETSY LANDERS announced an NFL-PTA partnership on youth health and fitness, launching nationwide this fall.  The “Back to Sports” initiative will help PTA leaders educate their communities on youth wellness—from concussion education to NFL PLAY 60 tips on nutrition and staying active. Local PTAs will plan “Back to Sports Nights,” engaging parents and community leaders on ways to help their kids stay safer and healthier as they head back to sports participation this fall.

 

Darrell Andrews, an education consultant who attended the convention, told the Associated Press "I think the focus [regarding safety] on the parent level has been missing over the years, so I think that's good."

 

ZACKERY LYSTEDT ADVERSITY AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

ZACKERY LYSTEDT’S life changed in 2006 after sustaining a brain injury. Since then, Zackery and his family have worked to advocate for the safety of student athletes through their work urging all states to adopt the Lystedt Law.

 

Zackery and his family also recognize others succeeding in the face of hardship through the ZACKERY LYSTEDT ADVERSITY AWARD. The award was created in 2011 to honor Zackery and others for their courage and determination. Zackery’s alma mater, Tahoma High School, presents the award to students who have perservered in the face of adversity. Recipients receive financial awards to help them pursue their goals.

 

The 2013 winner is EDWIN TORRES, a wrestler who is the first person in his family to graduate high school. Edwin has worked tirelessly to help his family while staying focused on school and wrestling. As the winner of the award, Edwin will receive financial support for a college education for the next two years as well a laptop to help him with his studies.

 

In addition, students BRANDON PAXTON and TABATHA MUNOZ received gifts from the Tahoma Schools Foundation. Brandon was previously homeless and is now living with extended family. The foundation was able to set aside money for Brandon and provided him with a bike to help him get to and from work. Tabatha was also homeless and living with acquaintances in order to graduate from high school. She will attend college in the fall. The foundation was able to provide her with a laptop and money that she can use for school.

 

NFL TEAMS HOST USA FOOTBALL HEADS UP FOOTBALL EVENTS

Atlanta Falcons:

More than 250 Georgia high school football coaches attended Falcons Head Coach MIKE SMITH’s 6th annual Coaches Clinic on June 14. After viewing the team’s last offseason practice, the coaches participated in sessions led by Falcons Offensive Coordinator DIRK KOETTER, Defensive Coordinator MIKE NOLAN and Special Teams Coordinator KEITH ARMSTRONG.

 

In addition, the coaches took part in concussion and steroid education sessions presented by RALPH SWAERNGIN, Executive Director, Georgia High School Association (GHSA); KELLY SARMIENTO, Director of Communications/Injury Response, Centers for Disease Control (CDC); DR. KAVEH KHAJAVI, MD, FACS, Georgia Spine & Neurosurgery Center and DONALD HOOTEN JR. and KYLE PURDY of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. 

 

“The clinics that I’ve attended are not only well-attended, but the coaches are very attentive. They’re always learning and wanting to learn new things. There are, believe it or not, coaches at the NFL level that enjoy listening to the high school coaches talk because you can learn from them, as well,” Smith said.

 

The focus in Atlanta on youth football continued on June 22, when USA Football and the Falcons conducted a Heads Up Football Player Safety clinic for coaches from the state of Georgia. Former Falcons linebacker and USA Football Master Trainer, BUDDY CURRY, led the workshop on concussion recognition and response, coaching education, equipment fitting and Heads Up tackling. The Falcons have hosted Heads Up Football parent informational sessions throughout the state and have several more scheduled this summer. For more information, click here.

 

Buffalo Bills:

Bills President and CEO RUSS BRANDON announced on June 15 a $25,000 grant through the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to the Western New York Amateur Football Alliance to support Heads Up Football throughout Western New York. 

 

Thirty-five area youth football coaches and administrators learned throughout the day the proper ways to teach tackling techniques and about equipment fitting during the Heads Up Football Player Safety Coach Clinic at the Bills Healthy Zone Field House. Youth Coaches heard from Bills Head Coach DOUG MARRONE, Bills Heads Up Football Alumni Ambassador MARK KELSO, and representatives from USA Football and DENT Neurologic Institute about the importance of eliminating concussions from football and how to identify and treat them.

 

Meanwhile, Ralph Wilson Stadium played host to the USA Football FUNdamentals Team B-Scott Youth Football Camp, where 130 local youth football players learned football techniques from camp host LB BRYAN SCOTT, as well as other Bills including RB FRED JACKSON, DB JORDAN DANGERFIELD, DB DUKE WILLIAMS, LB KIKO ALONSO, RB KENDALL GASKINS, DB JONATHAN MEEKS, RB DREW SMITH and K DUSTIN HOPKINS. Coach Marrone and Mark Kelso also addressed the participants about concussion awareness and prevention, while DENT representatives spoke to parents. To learn more, click here.

 

Carolina Panthers:

The Panthers welcomed 100 young athletes from Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Police Activities League for an NFL PLAY 60 Camp featuring Heads Up Football tackling instruction at Frazier Park on June 20. Panthers rookies, including first-round selection defensive tackle STAR LOTULELEI and USA Football Master Trainer and former Concord High School Head Football Coach E.Z. SMITH, led the participants through NFL PLAY 60 stations and Heads Up Football drills, emphasizing proper tackling techniques.

 

“Safety is really important on the field, and this is a good lesson for them today,” Lotulelei said. To learn more, click here.

 

San Francisco 49ers:

The 49ers hosted a Heads Up Football Player Safety Coaches training clinic at their facility in early June. More than 100 Bay Area youth coaches attended the clinic and learned about Heads Up Football tackling, concussion awareness and proper equipment fitting.  The morning session was spent in the classroom with presentations from USA Football Master Trainers and small group scenario breakouts.  In the afternoon, the coaches hit the field to put what they learned into practice, going through the drills that they will later teach to their players.  To learn more, click here.

 

Seattle Seahawks:

The Seahawks hosted a Heads Up Football Player Safety Coaches Clinic on June 22 for more than 75 Player Safety Coaches, representing leagues throughout the state of Washington. The clinic, led by USA Football Master Trainers TOM BAINTER and TERRY SUMMERFIELD, instructed the coaches on Heads Up tackling, concussion recognition and response protocols, and helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

 

“We just broke ground on a whole new way to coach football to help make our game safer. I cannot wait to spread the Heads Up Football program to all of our coaches, parents and players,” said RICH ROSS, Player Safety Coach and President of the Northwest Junior Football League. 

 

“The more you practice these techniques, the better you will be able to instruct your youth,” said ERIKA FREITAS, who participated in the event. “This will give you patience and understanding while you are teaching your players these new fundamentals.” To learn more, click here.

 

For more information on the NFL’s health and safety work, please visit www.nflevolution.com


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