In partnership with the National Football League and USA Football, the Atlanta Falcons are making America’s favorite sport a better, safer game for thousands of young players across the state of Georgia.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football initiative is a comprehensive solution to player safety. It promotes concussion awareness and management, coaching education, proper equipment fitting and Heads Up Tackling as well as a set of recommended standards for parents, coaches and leagues.
Since May, the Falcons have hosted over 20 Parent Informational sessions. On October 16 the Falcons hosted a session at the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department in the Dalton Outdoor Pavilion to spread the word about the Heads Up Football initiative, along with a tutorial on proper equipment fitting and steroid education.
The event, led by former Falcons linebacker and USA Football Master Trainer Buddy Curry and the Falcons youth football staff, introduced proper health and safety fundamentals associated with youth football to coaches and parents.
Brian Parker with the Taylor Hooton Foundation informed parents and coaches about the importance of steroid education. Parker discussed the problems with supplements and steroids, and touched on the symptoms associated with steroid use.
“The problem with these supplements you can purchase over the counter is that a lot of the time you don’t know what you’re taking,” said Parker. “It could be spiked with stimulants or steroids, making these ‘safe’ supplements not so safe.”
Bill Peake, a representative with Riddell, gave a special presentation on helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
“Every parent needs to be just as educated as the coaches are,” said Peake. “Parents are the ones who are seeing their children every night and they need to be informed about the equipment their child is wearing.”
Curry wrapped up the event by educating the attendees on the new Heads Up Tackling technique. He demonstrated to the parents the new form of tackling and encouraged all of the coaches in attendance to begin to practice these fundamentals every practice with their players.
“The only way your kids will begin to master this technique is by creating muscle memory and doing these drills each and every day,” said Curry.