NFL, USA Football host 11th annual Youth Football Summit

Fifty-one top high school football coaches, one from each state and Washington, D.C., have been selected by the NFL to participate in the 11th annual NFL-USA Football Youth Football Summit July 20-21 during the lead up to the 2011 Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio.

In addition to these coaches, more than 50 other supporters of youth and high school football, including former NFL players now coaching, will attend the Summit, which is held at Kent State Stark Professional Education & Conference Center. The event is funded by the NFL Youth Football Fund (YFF).

DR. MARGOT PUTUKIAN, Director of Athletic Medicine at Princeton University and member of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee, will address coaches on the importance of concussion treatment and prevention. Earlier this year, Dr. Putukian presented the NFL's new sideline concussion protocol for the 2011 season.

Coaches also will learn about the Lystedt Law, legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from returning to play after suspected head injuries. The law has already been passed in 26 states. The NFL has been an active advocate in these states and others around the country to make youth sports safer.

Steelers great MERRIL HOGE will speak with Summit participants on the vital role coaches play in the lives of young athletes, while former player, NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT will discuss the value of education. Throughout the Summit, they also will hear from former NFL coach TOM BASS, former NFL team executive and current senior analyst GIL BRANDT, Super Bowl XXXI MVP DESMOND HOWARD, and NFL YFF Board Member & USA Football Chairman CARL PETERSON.

Leaders in the fields of sports medicine and sports psychology will present on various topics facing youth sports. DR. LINN GOLDBERG of Oregon Health & Science University will lead a steroid and supplement education session and discuss the NFL's ATLAS & ATHENA Anti-Steroid Education program. The Gatorade Sports Science Institute will address the important issues of heat and hydration, and participants also will learn about injury prevention in youth sports.

Other topics at the Summit include an NCAA session on eligibility and recruiting, interactive demonstrations by Riddell on proper equipment fitting, an overview of the NFL's High School Player Development program, the importance of a feeder system, helping youth players to achieve their potential and handling coach-player-parent relationships.

USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, will lend expertise in a variety of areas for Summit participants. USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK will share the non-profit organization's on-going work and accomplishments in leading the game's grassroots development as well as USA Football's concussion education resources. USA Football also will host a National Leadership Forum as part of the Summit to discuss best practices on coaching education and successful youth league operations.

USA Football conducted 38 State Leadership Forums involving hundreds of youth league commissioners throughout the United States this winter and spring. More than 70 delegates from the 38 state forums were selected to take part in the NFL-USA Football Youth Summit to contribute to football's continued innovation and USA Football's educational resources. More than 3.0 million youngsters aged 6-14 play tackle football and more than 1.1 million boys play high school football.

High school football coaches registered for an opportunity to attend the Summit by entering a nomination and essay contest conducted by the NFL and USA Football. Coaches submitted online essays in which they wrote about their coaching careers, commitment to youth and coaching philosophies. A blue-ribbon panel, consisting of local state representatives, reviewed the essays, and coaches were chosen to serve as their state's delegate at the Summit.

Some of the former NFL players now coaching high school football that will be in attendance include Jeff Dellenbach (American Heritage School, Weston, Fla.); Brian Kinchen (Ascension Christian High School, Gonzalez, La.); Lonnie Marts (Harvest Community School, Jacksonville, Fla.); and Marcus Wimberly (Memphis (Tenn.) East High School.

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