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Raves for our First Clinic (Worcester, Ma., August 10)

"I thought the program was terrific."

–Jimmy Tucker, head coach, Nashoba Regional HIgh, Bolton, Ma.

"I thought the program was phenomenal. It was logical, backed by science and overall in the best interest of the kids, which is what we're all about as coaches."

–Joe Beveridge, head coach, Tantasqua High, Fiskdale, Ma.

"Very good, a very worthwhile experience. We learned new ways to practice, new drills to do. I thought the panel of Dr. Cantu, Buddy Teevens, Coach Ditka and Chris Berman was fantastic."

–Jim Pisegna, Burncoat High, Worcester, Ma.

"I thought the program was excellent. This is the way football is going. Particularly, the drills from Stanford and Dartmouth can be shown to high school coaches to get this done faster."

–Steve Dembowski, head coach, Swampscott (Ma.) High

"Terry, I listened to you speak in Canton, Ohio, and also attended the meeting in Worcester. It has revived me as a coach. I have totally bought into the words of Dr. Cantu, Coach Ditka, Coach Teevens and yourself. We need people to understand that football is evolving into a safer game. It is a sacred game that can provide an amazing number of opportunities to the young men who play it."

–Eric Cumba, head coach, St. Thomas Aquinas High, Dover, N.H.

"...just absolutely awesome."

–Jim Kelleher, head coach, Abington (Ma.) High

"...really exciting. Some of the video footage we can show the
kids will help keep them safe."

–Doug Orland, assistant coach, Campbell High, Litchfield, N.H.

"I have watched the video, very much enjoyed it and found it helpful.
We have been heading toward this as a sport for years, and we want to be on the cutting edge, ahead of the curve. We will be implementing this ASAP."

–John Bowen, head coach, Hephzibah (Ga.) High

"I want to try to get out the message about Practice Like Pros. I've said all the time down here there's too much, too much tackling, physical contact at practice. Let's come together and do something here in Atlanta."

–Glenn Ford Jr., i-dareU football training, off-season coach of DeAntre Turman,
high school player who died on a suburban Atlanta practice field, August 16, 2013

"Terry, I thought it was very good, truly a professional presentation. Your introduction leading to the coaches' talks was excellent. It grabbed your attention right away. The coaches were also excellent!! I believe it will be very well received wherever it is viewed and on every level. We must all face the fact that the game must be made safer. As a former head coach, I often wonder how many wins I left on the practice field by over-emphasizing technique, tempo and toughness."

–Dick Vermeil

Mission

In the entire 2012 NFL season – including five months of regular season and post-season – among 2000 players from all 32 teams, only 3 concussions were reported on NFL practice fields. In Florida this spring, on the first day of high school spring practice,
6 concussions were reported by one team.

We ask high school football to consider a modified version of the current NFL practice standard, namely:

  • No more than one full-contact practice per day in pre-season....
  • 90 minutes of full contact per week in-season
  • Coaches are free to dress players in full pads for any practice,
    whether contact or non-contact.

 

Our mission is to advocate these limits state-by-state with the governing bodies that
control high school football and, most importantly, to demonstrate to high school coaches
state-of-the-art methods to practice with less contact.

high school football avoid injury

Practice Like Pros  is endorsed by...

Ernie Accorsi Ernie Accorsi, GM,
New York Giants
John Dockery John Dockery, DB,
Super Bowl III champion New York Jets
Steve Mariucci Steve Mariucci, Coach,
San Francisco 49ers
Dr. James Andrews Dr. James Andrews, Founder,
Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics
& Sports Medicine
Antonio Freeman Antonio Freeman, Pro Bowl WR,
Green Bay Packers
Anthony Munoz Anthony Munoz, NFL Hall of Famer
Chris Berman Chris Berman, Broadcaster Patrick Kerney Patrick Kerney, twice Pro Bowl DE,
Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks
Chris Nowinski Chris Nowinski, Co-founder,
Sports Legacy Institute
Dr. Robert Cantu Dr. Robert Cantu, Co-founder,
Sports Legacy Institute
Willie Lanier Willie Lanier, NFL Hall of Famer David Shaw David Shaw, Head Coach,
Stanford University
Tom Condon Tom Condon, Premiere NFL Player Representative Ronnie Lott Ronnie Lott, NFL Hall of Famer Buddy Teevens Buddy Teevens, Head Coach,
Dartmouth College
Bob Costas Bob Costas, Broadcaster Oliver Luck Oliver Luck, AD,
West Virginia University, QB, Houston Oilers
Dick Vermeil Dick Vermeil, Coach,
Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams (Super Bowl champion), Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Ditka Mike Ditka, NFL Hall of Famer Archie Manning Archie Manning, Patriarch,
First Family of Football
Sam Wyche Sam Wyche, Super Bowl Coach,
Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Bucs
 

Media Coverage

Terry O'Neil Urges Coaches To Cut Back On Practice Contact NFL.com
[by Bill Bradley; Aug. 12, 2013] Read full article

No-Contact Practices Big Hit At Concussion Seminar THE SUNDAY TELEGRAM
[by Jackson Alexander; Aug. 11, 2013] Read full article

Coaches Find That Less Is More ESPNBoston.com
[By Scott Barboza; Aug. 11, 2013] Read full article

Creating A Safer Way To Practice High School Football BostonGlobe.COM
[By Christopher L. Gasper; August 04, 2013] Read full article

Concussion Seminar Coming To Hanover Theater THE SUNDAY TELEGRAM
[by Jackson Alexander; August 04, 2013] Read full article

New Movement Designed To Limit Contact On High School Practice Fields BostonHerald.com
[by Dan Ventura; June 20,2013] Read full article

avoid injury

History

Practice Like Pros was born on Super Bowl Weekend, 2013, soon after the suicides of former NFL players Dave Duerson and Junior Seau, as debate was raging about health and safety in football.

John Madden and Ronnie Lott, co-chairs of the NFL Player Safety Advisory Panel, quickly arranged for Terry O'Neil to present the concept on February 28 to the full panel – Ernie Accorsi, Antonio Freeman, Patrick Kerney, Willie Lanier, Oliver Luck, Steve Mariucci, Anthony Munoz– plus NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The group was immediately receptive.

In short order, several former NFL coaches – Sam Wyche, Mike Ditka, Jon Gruden, Dick Vermeil – endorsed the project.

The movement escalated to an April 29 meeting at the NFL offices in New York City with the Commissioner. He urged O'Neil to explore the topic, collect data and opinion, and invited him to appear at the NFL's Youth Football Summit in July in Canton, Ohio. Commissioner Goodell finished the meeting by saying, "We'll support you."

On May 17, O'Neil met in Boston with Dr. Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski, co-founders in 2007 of the Sports Legacy Institute, whose mission is to advance the study, treatment and prevention of brain trauma among athletes. Dr. Cantu and Nowinski promptly offered SLI's endorsement.

The movement's first pilot clinic, attended by coaches and administrators from all six New England states, was staged August 10, 2013, in Worcester, Ma.

In June, Practice Like Pros, Inc., was incorporated as a Connecticut-based, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. That filing allowed the company to solicit initial funding.

head trauma

About Our Founder

Terry O'Neil

Terry O'Neil

  • 16-time Emmy Award winner
  • Producer, ABC’s Monday Night Football, 1980
  • Executive Producer, CBS Sports, 1981–86
  • Creator/Executive Producer, The Sports Reporters for ESPN, 1988
  • Executive Producer, NBC Sports, 1989–93
  • Executive Producer, Olympic Games, Barcelona NBC, 1992
  • Executive Producer, Special Events, ABC News, 1994–96
  • Executive, New Orleans Saints, 1997–99
  • Creator/CEO, RealTeam.com, 2000–2002
  • Creator/Executive Producer, Thin Ice for ABC Entertainment, 2008–10
  • CEO, O’Neil Productions/O’Neil Entertainment, 1981–present
  • Founder, Practice Like Pros, 2013
Education: B.A., English, University of Notre Dame ’71
M.S.J., Pulitzer School of Journalism, Columbia University ’74
Author: Fighting Back, Stein & Day Publishers, 1975
The Game Behind the Game, Harper & Row, 1989
football practice

Contact Terry O'Neil

Donate

Thank you for considering a donation to Practice Like Pros. For all of us who love the game, player safety is suddenly the foremost issue. And there is no level of the game that demands more urgent attention than high school football, played by 1.1 million American boys. Practice Like Pros is an opportunity to make a difference, to engage in a movement bigger than our individual selves.


Practice Like Pros, Inc., is incorporated in Connecticut and registered with the IRS as a
501(c)(3) charity. As such, your donation is 100% tax-deductible. Mailing address:

Practice Like Pros
P.O. Box 567
Greenwich, Connecticut 06831