NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This past Saturday, the Tennessee Titans teamed up with USA Football to host Nashville's Player Safety Clinic at Saint Thomas Sports Park. The clinic featured more than 90 player safety coaches from across Tennessee, northern Alabama and southern Kentucky.
The Titans recently teamed up with USA Football to host Nashville's Player Safety Clinic at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Susanna Nickell)
Player Safety Coaches are required to be annually trained by a USA Football Master Trainer in preparation for implementing and overseeing the primary components of Heads Up Football in their organizations. Through classroom presentations, question and answer sessions and interactive on-field demonstrations, Saturday's curriculum covered the following player health and safety topics: concussion awareness, sudden cardiac arrest, heat and hydration preparedness, proper equipment fitting and proper Heads Up tackling and blocking techniques.
USA Football Master Trainer Billy Elmore led the discussion on concussion awareness and prevention, encouraging coaches to create a strong support system around their players. "I would like to thank the Tennessee Titans organization for facilitating our Heads Up Player Safety Clinic. The Titans, along with the area youth coaches are definitely involved in making football a better, safer game."
In order to help their players avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration, Elmore suggested coaches check with his or her league for specific heat acclimatization guidelines but emphasized the importance monitoring hydration levels. Elmore also spoke to the protocol that should be in place in case of heat exhaustion or severe dehydration.
In addition, Elmore provided coaches with information on equipment fitting – how to properly measure for helmets and shoulder pads, the important coverage landmarks of the body for helmets and shoulder pads, how to adjust the equipment, where and how to bring equipment issues to the organization's attention and their roles in regards to in-season equipment checks and maintenance.
Transitioning to the team's indoor practice facility, Elmore led coaches through the mechanics of Heads Up tackling and blocking, as well as step-by-step protocol and drills to teach their own players the techniques.
"The Heads Up Football program provides a great framework from which to teach the fundamentals of the game," said Paul Brenner, a clinic participant and head football coach at Zion Christian Academy in Columbia. "The resources provided today are invaluable in helping educate everyone involved about the key safety factors that impact our game."
Brenner emphasizes that clinics such as this help coaches fully buy into the Heads Up Football program, and the ways in which the program strives to make the game of football better and safer. Saturday's Player Safety Clinic is just one of many player health and safety initiatives the team will embark upon during the upcoming season.
"As always, the Titans and their community relations/youth programs team have outdone themselves yet again. They are second to none in the NFL when it comes to their efforts in making the game of football better and safer for the youth of today and tomorrow. This clinic is a testimony to their dedication to the youth football community in Nashville and the surrounding areas," said USA Football Regional Manager Evan Lindsay.
For more information on USA Football, the sport's governing body, or their Heads Up Football initiative, visit http://usafootball.com/headsup.