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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

SFIA Hosts PLP in San Antonio

The Football Council of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) yesterday in San Antonio, TX, heard a presentation from PLP founder Terry O'Neil at it annual meeting in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Convention.

SFIA is a trade association of companies that design, manufacture, market and sell sports/fitness products.  Yesterday's meeting, covering the state of football and the football industry, was hosted by SFIA President Tom Cove and attended by executives from top brands such as Riddell, Vicis, adidas, NIKE, Under Armour and Wilson.  Other presentations were made by representatives of the NFL, USA Football, Pop Warner and the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS). 

Atavus Featured in The New York Times

Atavus was the subject of a lengthy feature by Ken Belson in The New York Times last week.  Rex Norris, architect of Atavus' tackling philosophy was quoted:  "We believe in tackling the legs.  We believe in body-on-body contact.  And we believe in knocking the runner backward."

Recognizing the importance of limited-contact practice, Norris said, "We know how much this game is changing, and as coaches, we have to continue to change.  We have to continue to change how we think about how we practice."

The story includes this sequence:

Common sense suggests that avoiding head hits will reduce concussions and curtail the many smaller impacts with the helmet that have also been linked to long-term brain disease.  One of the effective ways to do that is limiting the number of full-contact practices, something promoted by groups like Practice Like Pros, which partners with Atavus.
Art Maerlender, the director of clinical research at the Center for Brain Biology and Behavior at the University of Nebraska, in Lincoln, and an adviser to Atavus, said... "Just reducing the amount of times you hit your head makes sense."

Read the full New York Times story by clicking here.

Ohio Coach Writes Love Letter to Football

Ben Malbasa, head football coach and English teacher at the University School inHunting Valley, OH, has written a four-page letter to parents of his players, addressing their concerns about health and safety.  (Malbasa has established a practice plan which matches Practice Like Pros recommendations.)  These excerpts are nothing short of a love letter to football:

At University School, where we are proud to have played in Ohio's first high school football game (1890), we take pride in fielding a physically and mentally tough football team; that said, we disagree with those who believe that the way to achieve this standard is through practices that emphasize repeated full-speed collisions.... Football, at its best, immerses a wide range of young men in a challenging atmosphere that requires a determined and focused group effort; does this not sound like an ideal opportunity for a young man to develop the resilience that will serve him well in seeking his academic and personal potential? Moreover, football offers young men a framework for growth.  Every play on a football field is a competition; during the course of a game, a player will experience up to two hundred successes or failures.  Each of these outcomes is an opportunity for a young man to learn how to win with the humility that helps him to refocus for the next play and lose with the dignity necessary to regroup to compete again. Even more importantly, the successes and failures of a football player have mental and physical components; consequently, the lessons of a football game are applicable to many other aspects of a young man's life.  As a result, a committed football player becomes a confident young man who knows how to get up after being knocked down.

Next Up

Terry O'Neil presents Thursday evening, January 17, and Friday afternoon, January 18,to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) Winner's Circle Clinic at the Hotel Radisson Lansing at the Capitol.  

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