By Bill Bradley, contributing editor
Almost 300 moms participated in an NFL-sponsored Heads Up Football clinic Tuesday at the Kansas City Chiefs training facility.
Besides learning firsthand about the USA Football program, the moms heard from a panel that included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and football mothers Diane Long and Chris Golic.
This was the third such event held by the NFL, with the first two at Ohio State University and the Chicago Bears' facility earlier this year.
The importance of the event was not lost on Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt and his wife, Tavia. They had concerns when their son wanted to play football. However, they already had dealt with concussions suffered by their oldest daughter while playing soccer three years ago and one sustained by another daughter from a playground fall.
"We had to learn in depth about these things," Tavia said. "My greatest learning has come, not because of tackle football, but because of these girls' injuries."
She also told the women about NFLEvolution.com, adding: "It was such a blessing to go to the Internet and find great information that is ground breaking I could share with coaches."
The moms received a Heads Up Football clinic from Chiefs greats Bobby Bell and Will Shields. The clinic included safety drills as well as a seminar-style discussion about concussions, proper nutrition and heat and hydration led by medical professionals from The University of Kansas Hospital.
Other former Chiefs players in attendance were Shawn Barber, Anthony Davis, Mike Maslowski and Keith Cash.
Some women who attended the event, including Alisha Hernandez, said they had fears about their sons playing football. Hernandez's son, Emilio, is a freshman tailback at Spring Hill High School, and he suffered a concussion five years ago in a youth game.
"That absolutely frightened me," Hernandez told The Kansas City Star. "He's played football since he was 6.
"It's scary. I don't encourage him to play. But he loves football. Football is his passion. I let him make his decisions with the hope he doesn't have any serious injuries."
Long, who is the wife of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and the mother of two current NFL linemen, said that education is the key for moms to feel safer about their sons playing football.
"It's important for mothers to seek out information on and be more educated on the sport," she said. "I'm so proud that so many mothers from the Kansas City are participated in this event and are becoming more informed on the proper techniques and signs of concussions."