'Huddle Up' brings together moms to discuss football safety

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

The NFL Network on Monday began airing a three-part series about the unique perspective of football moms involving youth sports and safety.

The series, which is called "Huddle Up," will be hosted by renowned football analyst Melissa Stark, who is a mother of four. She will discuss many of the principles involved in the Heads Up Football program.

The series' featured guests include Christine Golic, an NFL consultant on youth football and a member of the Heads Up Football Advisory Committee; Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, a neuropsychologist who specializes in head injuries for the Bears and other professional sports teams in Chicago; and Stephanie Rivera, former assistant coach for the WNBA's Washington Mystics and wife of Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera. All three have children who play competitive sports.

"It's important to educate and empower moms with information about the sports their children participate in," Golic said. "Heads Up Football is a great resource. The program informs parents about proper tackling techniques, equipment fitting and enhancements to the game, all of which are making the sport better and safer."

In part one, Stark is joined by Golic, Dr. Pieroth and Rivera for an extended conversation that covers all sides of youth sports and safety.

For parents whose kids play sports, the threat of injuries, particularly concussions, is always a concern. In part two, Stark talks with Rivera, Golic and Dr. Pieroth about safety in sports, what to look for and when to be concerned.

In the third installment of Huddle Up, Stark, Rivera, Golic and Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth discuss USA Football's Heads Up Football program and how parents -- especially Moms -- can make sure they are not only educated but actively engaged in youth football.

The fourth installment sees Stark joined by Christine Golic, Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth and Stephanie Rivera to discuss how and when to approach your child's football coach with questions or concerns about anything from over-training to proper tackling.

In the fifth segment, they tackle the tricky topic of whether youth football should be competitive and how to educate children on the importance of enjoying the game, regardless of the outcome.

In the final part of the series, Stark, Rivera, Golic and Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth discuss how to determine whether your child is ready for tackle football vs. the idea of starting with flag football.

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