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Players Association agrees to deal with Uber on safe-rides app


Wednesday's health and safety news from the world of sports:

* The NFL Players Association has teamed up with Uber Technologies to create a program of safe rides for NFL players, the New York Times reported.

The N.F.L. players association hopes to address the issue in a new partnership it has formed with the technology firm Uber, which makes a smartphone app that acts as a digital dispatcher for people looking for a taxi or a car service.

The service, which is available in more than half of the N.F.L.'s cities, will allow players and their families to hail a ride in minutes with a few taps on their phone. Uber's service would complement an existing program run by the union in which players can summon a car by placing a phone call. Because Uber relies on G.P.S., players will not need to know the precise address of their location to get a ride home. "This generation is more tied to having a mobile device," said DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the players association, who has used Uber for more than a year. "If we can move to a world where we are using the phenomenon to increase the safety of our players, then the partnership with Uber is a no-brainer."

Uber already works with professional sports teams including the San Francisco Giants and with prominent players like Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The company operates in 17 of the N.F.L.'s 31 cities, but it has been unable to break into markets like Houston and Miami because of regulations governing taxi companies.

Players will be offered $200 in credits as an inducement to use the service, which begins next week.

* Online Athens in Georgia looked at the Cedar Shoals High School football team, one of 33 high school pilot programs in the country to use the Heads Up Football program.

There are a lot of ways to get a concussion in football. The most common cause is when a player's head hits the ground, said Cedar Shoals athletic director Roger Edmonds. Concussions can even happen when there's no head contact, say medical professionals.

But the new Heads Up program will help reduce concussions, said Edmonds and Cedar Shoals High School head football coach Chris Davis. The program is also endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The aim is to get players to tackle at the shoulder, avoiding the head.

"I think it makes the game safer for everybody," he said. "We're trying to do the right thing for our kids. We're going to be as proactive as we can."

* Digital Trends examined the variety of technologies available to help football players prevent and diagnose concussions.

* A Deseret News columnist asked if the San Francisco 49ers did Austin Collie a favor by cutting him.

* The Maryland Gazette wrote about concussion awareness among its area high schools using the Heads Up Football program.

* Baltimore Magazine previewed the Heads Up Football events surrounding the Baltimore Ravens' opening-day festivities on Thursday.

* reported how the Heads Up Football program is being used to take the head out of football tackles in Bothell, Wash.

* Idaho State Journal published tips for helping parents keep kids safe during athletic events.

* Medical Daily published a report that said women could prevent ACL injuries with a different landing technique.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor



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