USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, will conduct a Protection Tour this summer to promote proper equipment fitting, tackling fundamentals and concussion awareness and management to further advance youth football player safety.
The USA Football “Protection Tour” is supported by Chartis, a property-casualty general insurance organization, and Riddell, the official helmet and equipment partner for USA Football, with events hosted by the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The four events with NFL teams will include hundreds of youth football players, parents and coaches. Experts in equipment fitting, tackling skills and concussion awareness will address event participants. Approximately 3 million children age 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.
Youth athletes, parents and coaches nationwide can learn more about the tour’s three components to further advance player safety at www.usafootball.com/protection-tour. .
USA Football board member and former NFL standout running back Merril Hoge is the tour’s national spokesman.
Following an eight-year NFL playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, Hoge retired from the NFL in 1994 because of complications from concussion.
“Parents and players in every youth sport need to know concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion is suspected,” Hoge said. “Being a fundamentally sound player with properly fitted equipment also contributes to a better, safer football experience. Within youth football’s 80-plus year history, the game has never been safer than it is today, but more education is needed.”
Chartis and Riddell are founding partners of USA Football’s “Protection Tour.” Together with USA Football, both help deliver important information and onsite experts to demonstrate proper equipment fitting, tackling skills and appropriate procedures to lessen incidents of head injury.
“We are proud to support and actively participate in USA Football’s ‘Protection Tour,’ as it is aligned with our efforts to emphasize safe practices to help mitigate injuries to youth sports participants,” said Susan Clarke, President, Chartis Accident & Health, U.S. “The tour is also a perfect fit with our ongoing ‘aHead of the Game’ initiative (www.chartisinsurance.com/aheadofthegame) which promotes concussion awareness and prevention through educational materials aimed at coaches, parents, and young athletes.”
“As the leader in the helmet industry, we’re excited to share our longstanding knowledge about helmet fitting and best practices in equipment care with youth football players and their parents as part of the Protection Tour,” said Riddell president Dan Arment. “Each new football season presents an opportunity to educate athletes about the impact helmet fitting has on player protection, and we hope they can use this valuable information throughout their playing career.”
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference. The Indianapolis-based nonprofit was the first national governing body of sport to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to advance youth player safety against concussion in 2007.
2012 USA Football “Protection Tour” Schedule of Events:
DATE CITY LOCATION HOST NFL TEAM
July 21 Chicago Halas Hall Chicago Bears
July 21 Indianapolis Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center Indianapolis Colts
July 24 East Rutherford, N.J. MetLife Stadium N.Y. Giants
July 28 San Francisco Candlestick Park San Francisco 49ers
2012 USA Football “Protection Tour” event components:
Equipment Fitting. Riddell equipment fitting experts provide instruction for parents and players on how to properly fit and care for a football helmet including one-on-one custom fittings for athletes, and education on the importance of fit for player comfort and protection.
Tackling Fundamentals. USA Football clinicians teach youth football players proper tackling fundamentals through USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling techniques, gradually incorporating contact to foster better learning. This step-by-step approach for teaching one of football’s most important fundamentals will be delivered on-field with players rotating through stations. Concussion Education. Chartis will sponsor an educational seminar to youth football parents on concussion awareness, presented by a third-party medical expert. The seminar will include concussion awareness and management guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.