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Friday, March 19, 2010

HS Coaches and the NFL

I love this idea and hope every NFL team would do something similar. Not just for the sake of injuries but as an overall good learning experience and terrific PR.

From: Redskins invite high school coaches to attend minicamp practice.
By The Redskin Insider and Jason Reid.

Bruce Allen, the executive vice president and general manager of the Washington Redskins, announced Wednesday that the Redskins invited 500 area high school coaches to attend the team's first minicamp practice, both to observe how the team runs its camp and to take part in a symposium on concussions.

Allen revealed the plans while speaking as a featured guest on Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. Allen said during a panel presentation about concussion in sports and among youngsters that the team sent a letter to high school coaches this week extending an invitation to attend Coach Mike Shanahan's first minicamp with the team.

According to a statement from the Redskins, high school coaches are invited to "attend a minicamp practice and have discussions on concussion awareness and education" on the morning of April 17.

"They're going to be a part of minicamp," Allen said after the forum. "They are going to get to watch practice, they're going to get to learn Coach Shanahan and his staff's coaching routine, they're going to be able to learn a lot. But we are putting a concussion forum as part of the plan coupled with USA Football."

Allen and former NFL player John Booty were members of a panel that included presentations from several leaders on concussion research regarding the effects of traumatic brain injury at all levels of athletics and including the impact of brain trauma on children.

Allen said during his presentation that under Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL has introduced player safety as "this century's first issue" and that the league has focused on injury prevention, equipment safety, rule changes and enforcement and player care -- including mandated baseline testing and a "return to play" policy that requires a second opinion from independent neurological consultants.

As part of the panel, Robert Stern, co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine, spoke of the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that can present itself years or decades after repeated head trauma.

During his presentation, Stern said studies of brain samples of 12 deceased former football players showed that all had CTE -- a figure that emphasized the importance of continued advances in player safety in the NFL.

"I think [concussion education and safety] is important but it's not new," Allen said after the event. "This has been a long-standing policy of the league. The commissioner has, as you've heard, his focal point has been player safety for a number of years. When a concussion affects a player it affects not only the team but [also] his family, and anything we can do to help the players that's what we're going to do. And these forums are great for everybody to learn about it."

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