Student Well-Being

NFL’s Atlanta Falcons Bring Sports Safety Message to Youth Athletics

By Bryan Toporek — April 24, 2012 1 min read
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Members of the Atlanta Falcons met with youth-sports parents and coaches last week to stress the importance of staying safe while playing sports, as part of the National Football League’s Health and Safety initiative.

Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay was joined by current players, including fullback Ovie Mughelli and kicker Matt Bryant, retired Falcon linebacker Coy Wire, and NFL medical personnel at Wynbrooke Theme School in Stone Mountain, Ga.

There, McKay and others addressed the seriousness of sports injuries, such as concussions.

“It’s all those tiny repetitive hits that can add up and have serious long-term damage,” said Wire, according to a report from the event.

This isn’t the NFL’s first foray into youth-sports safety, as longtime readers of this blog will know. Last November, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hosted roughly 200 youth-football players, parents, and coaches at a forum devoted to player safety. And during Super Bowl week in Indianapolis earlier this year, roughly 50 youth-football players from the area took part in a health and safety clinic put on by the NFL and USA Football.

Goodell has also been vocal about his desire to have every state adopt a youth-concussion law, “sooner rather than later.” To date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have adopted such laws, although a few of those states have laws that differ from the NFL’s model legislation.

Goodell and NCAA President Mark Emmert sent letters to the 19 governors without model youth-concussion legislation back in January of this year, urging them to take action this coming year.

In recent years, hundreds of former NFL players have banded together to sue the league, alleging that the NFL knew about the debilitating effects of concussions and intentionally hid that information from players.

Photo: Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Coy Wire speaks about the importance of sports safety to a group of parents and coaches on April 19. (Courtesy Clare Graff/NFL Health and Safety)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.