By Bill Bradley, contributing editor
USA Football has gained another partner in making football safer.
ESPN donated $175,000 to USA Football and its programs prior to the Monday Night Football telecast in Dallas, the governing body of U.S. football announced Monday.
The sports network's donation will help to advance player safety in high school and youth football, working to establish important standards for better education and safer play in football.
"We are proud to join USA Football in this collaboration, which further establishes our commitment to improving access to sport, including programs that promote athlete safety and develop great coaching for youth around the country," ESPN director, corporate outreach Angela Woods said in a statement. "Ensuring that players, coaches and parents can enjoy sports in safe and healthy ways is an important part of our ongoing efforts."
With the ESPN contribution, USA Football said more than 50 high schools and youth organizations will be offered USA Football's Heads Up Football® program. They will join the more than 750 high schools and 5,500 youth leagues that registered for Heads Up Football this season.
This weekend, ESPN hosted USA Football in events in Dallas in conjunction with the Monday night telecast at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium. ESPN also hosted a similar event in Detroit and hold an event in Philadelphia before the Monday night telecast Nov. 10. The events have included high school and youth football player and parent clinics, football equipment donations to youth leagues and high schools, and appearances by NFL legends.
"The health and safety of every young football player is our No. 1 priority, and ESPN shares in that commitment through their generous financial support," USA Football executive director Scott Hallenbeck said in a statement. "Together we are advancing a better and safer game for young athletes who enjoy the fun, fitness and other rewards gained by playing this exceptional sport. We value ESPN's strong support for this initiative."
ESPN joins 33 other organizations that back USA Football, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Pac-12 Conference, the Southeastern Conference and Pop Warner Football.