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NFL Health Update: NFL Foundation commits $45M to USA Football



As part of the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando this week, the National Football League Foundation announced that it has approved a $45 million grant to USA Football to support the growth of youth football. The grant will provide funding for USA Football over the next five years.

Scott Hallenbeck, executive director of USA Football, accepted the grant from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Foundation chairman Charlotte Jones Anderson.

USA Football, the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams, will use the grant to support youth and high school football through its Heads Up Football, NFL Punt, Pass & Kick, and NFL FLAG programs.

The funds will help bring Heads Up Football to all 10,000 youth football leagues across the country. In the first year of Heads Up Football in 2013, more than 2,700 youth leagues registered for the program, representing approximately 600,000 players and 90,000 coaches. The NFL Foundation grant will expand Heads Up Football to the high school level, providing continuity in fundamentals, terminology, and health and safety protocols from the youth to the high school level. USA Football piloted Heads Up Football in 35 high schools in 10 states in 2013.

Also during the Annual Meeting, former players and Heads Up Football Ambassadors LaVar Arrington and Pete Mitchell joined 'football mom' Chris Golic and Master Trainers from USA Football for an NFL Spouse Football clinic, where attendees practiced the fundamentals of Heads Up tackling with on-field drills.

Spring is the start of Heads Up Football registration for the 2014 youth football season. To learn more, visit


More than 300 high school students from across the country signed up for an athletic training symposium hosted by the New Orleans Saints. Attendees came from as far away as Utah, Massachusetts, Illinois and Florida to learn more about the basics of a career in athletic training.

"We wanted to reach out to the athletic trainers of the future and bring them in and show them what athletic trainers do on a day-to-day basis on a professional level as well as in a clinical setting," said Graylin Jacobs of the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute, who took part in the event.

The program featured hands-on learning and classroom lectures from Saints athletic staff, the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute and athletic trainers from LSU and Nicholls State. The head trainer from the New Orleans Pelicans also presented on his experience as a trainer in both the NBA and NFL.

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Here are some statistics on programs that provide benefits to former NFL players:

  • Retired players have received $67,730,445 through the Bert/Rozelle retirement plan in the past 12 months
  • In the same time period, former players' widows and surviving children have received more than $10,499,207
  • 286 applications have been approved under the 88 Plan since its inception in 2007.
  • Since 2007, more than $29 million has been distributed through the 88 Plan.
  • Since its creation in 2007, the NFL Player Care Foundation has issued more $5,763,854 in grants to 589 former players to cover medical and housing expenses.

-- NFL Communications

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