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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

At the Base of Stone Mountain

PLP founder Terry O'Neil presented Saturday morning to the Glazier/Atlanta Clinic in the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort at the base of Stone Mountain, northeast ofAtlanta (see above).

The session was attended by coaches from Georgia and four surrounding states.  The Southern audience delighted in a famous comment by Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden regarding practice contact:  "If we get all the players hurt during the week, they damn sure can't help us on Saturday."

From there, the presentation pivoted to the same opinion voiced by other experts from various backgrounds.  World-leading neuroscientist Dr. Robert C. Cantu of Boston was quoted:  "All the research on limiting practice contact, study after study, all shows that you not only have fewer subconcussive hits, but also fewer concussions.  It's not rocket science."

Tom Coughlin, VP, Football Operations, Jacksonville Jaguars, has often said, "You can't have anybody get hurt in practice.  You've got to go hard, give great effort, play with great speed, but you can't get anybody hurt."

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi, whose Pitt Panthers share a practice facility with thePittsburgh Steelers, has said, "I think it's a humongous advantage practicing next to theSteelers because I think our kids learn how to practice like pros."

And John Fiore, head coach of Montclair (NJ) High School, president of the New Jersey Football Coaches Association (NJFCA), told the Newark Star-Ledger two months ago, "Can we tackle dummies?  Can we tackle rings?  Can we tackle sleds?  Absolutely.  We're going to practice tackling every day because you have to.  But you can't constantly do it live or at full contact.  We can't afford players getting hurt."

Conclusion?  This is a topic on which all football stakeholders -- scientists, coaches, Northern, Southern, NFL, college, high school -- can agree.

Reaction from Michigan, Ohio Coaches

Thank you for the presentation.  Your videos will be very helpful in teaching our coaches and players how to practice. -- Joe Nelson, Head Coach, Grand Haven (MI) High School

I was able to see an Atavus live demo at the AFCA Convention in San Antonio; those guys are impressive.  Thanks for your passion in your crusade to improve our game.  Appreciate what you are doing. -- Lorin Granger, Head Coach, Battle Creek (MI) Central High School

Seeing the rapid acceptance rate across the country is very encouraging.  Thank you for your leadership on this. -- Ben Malbasa, Head Coach, University School, Hunting Valley, OH

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