ESPN awards USA Football $250K to advance player safety
ESPN is continuing its support for USA Football by donating $250,000 to advance the safety of playing football with standards rooted in the best available science on high school and youth levels through USA Football resources and programs. The financial commitment helps establish medically endorsed protocols and sport fundamentals for better, safer play nationwide.
USA Football is the sport’s national governing body and is the recognized sport organization for football by the U.S. Olympic Committee for all disciplines of the sport in the United States. USA Football trains and certifies more high school and youth coaches combined than any sports organization.
ESPN has donated more than $400,000 to the sport’s national governing body during the past year to educate coaches, parents and athletes.
ESPN will underwrite participation in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for underserved high schools and youth football programs in every NFL market. ESPN’s financial support will ensure youth football organizations and high school teams are equipped with Heads Up Football resources and training as well as provide high schools with private tackling and blocking clinics led by a USA Football Master Trainer.
In addition, part of ESPN’s $250,000 donation funded the creation of a 144-page football coaching resource guide published by USA Football and presented by ESPN to nearly 15,000 high schools. The guide covers better teaching of fundamentals, program development and player safety. High school coaches will also have access to a series of educational videos featuring college and NFL coaches through a USA Football-ESPN co-branded webpage (www.usafootbal.com/espn). ESPN funding also will support USA Football’s high school football regional leadership summits to provide insight and best practices to more than 300 high school athletic directors and coaches.
ESPN, a national sponsor of USA Football and an endorser of USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, first collaborated with the nonprofit organization in 2014. To date, ESPN has donated more than $400,000 to USA Football to help further education for coaches, parents and players.
In 2014, ESPN’s initial $175,000 donation provided more than 50 high schools and youth organizations across the country with access to Heads Up Football’s curriculum and hands-on training, which provides nationally endorsed coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches. ESPN also hosted events with USA Football leading up to 2014 Monday Night Football games in Dallas, Philadelphia and Detroit. Events in the featured MNF markets included Heads Up Football player clinics, equipment fittings, appearances by ESPN personalities and parental sessions on player health and safety, including concussion education.
“We are proud to work with USA Football to improve access to sport, including programs that promote athlete safety and develop great coaching for youth around the country,” ESPN Vice President of Corporate Citizenship Kevin Martinez said. “Ensuring that players, along with their coaches and parents, can have fun and enjoy sports safely is an important part of our ongoing efforts.”
“ESPN and USA Football are committed to young athletes who love to play football and increase the fun they have playing it with trained coaches and needed guidelines,” USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck said. “With ESPN’s generous financial support, together we put our kids’ best interests first, keep sports fun and empower coaches and parents with knowledge to make this generation the smartest and safest across youth sports.”
In addition to ESPN, the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 20 percent of U.S. state high school athletic associations, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and more than three dozen other leading sport, medical and child advocacy organizations endorse USA Football’s Heads Up Football program.