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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

Rolling on the Rivers

In a whirlwind 36 hours, PLP visited several famous American rivers and made its case to coaches from Tennessee, Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

First stop was Nissan Stadium, Nashville, on the banks of the Cumberland River, for a Friday Board of Directors meeting of the Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TnFCA).  Next morning, overlooking the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela meet to form the Ohio River, PLP presented to the Glazier/Pittsburgh Clinic at the Sheraton Hotel Station Square.

Gamebreaker Mandatory for Texas 7v7

The organization that controls 7v7 play in Texas has made mandatory the wearing of soft-shell headgear with a 4- or 5-star rating from researchers at Virginia Tech University.  The only brand that currently qualifies is Gamebreaker, so every Texas 7v7 player this spring/summer will be wearing the gear of our PLP sponsor.

The move comes after a clash of heads last summer resulted in serious brain injury for a Texas high school player.

"These kids are full grown and they're going full speed," said Gamebreaker founder Mike Juels. "You're always going to have incidental contact, you're always going to have people colliding when they're converging on a ball, and you're always going to have people hitting the ground."

Read the USA Today story by clicking here

New Jersey Bonanza Continues

New Jersey continues to enjoy a well-deserved media bonanza from its announcement two weeks ago of historic contact limits.  For instance:

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll was asked about the New Jersey news.  He replied: 

"Anything that's directed in terms of safety for the players is a good idea.  I know the conversation is out there across the country.  Everybody's trying to figure it out.  The hard challenge for the coaches is their old mind, that they're stuck in the ways we do things.  You have to be able to adapt and adjust to what's going on.  You can change.  Anything that has to do with safety is the right idea."

From a New York Times story Saturday on Massachusetts youth football:

There have been moves in some parts of the country to further address player safety for tackle football at the high school level.  This month, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association adopted new guidelines intended to sharply reduce the amount of contact allowed during high school practices.  

From a Newark Star-Ledger editorial last week on opioid prescription for injured high school athletes:

The NJSIAA should be applauded for its bold safety initiatives of late, notably the restrictions it has applied to football practice contact, which should greatly reduce concussions and related brain trauma.   

These examples disprove claims by skeptics that "the media" is waging a campaign against football.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said PLP founder Terry O'Neil.  "When football creates its own positive news, we see tremendous media coverage.  You often hear the plea, 'We have to change the narrative around high school football.'  New Jersey has shown us how.  Reduced practice contact is the best message that can be sent to parents and other stakeholders."

Reaction to Recent Clinics

You gave a great presentation in Pittsburgh.  I learned a lot.  Please send me your videos.  Thank you so much for sharing. --Coach Alex Smith, Trinity High School, Washington, PA

I had the pleasure of watching your presentation about creating a safer football environment at the New York State Coaches Clinic at Turning Stone.  I have fully bought into your beliefs about why participation numbers have been decreasing.  Success can be had on the field without full-contact practice.  Please send me your presentation and anything else that might be useful to show my staff, players and parents to get them onboard, as well.   --Head Coach Joe Franke, Liberty (NY) High School

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