NFL Commissioner promotes player safety

Chandler Byrd, Sports Editor

The football team has received many accolades throughout the years. Multiple state championship appearances and consistent winning streaks could be the reasons behind a recent special visit.

This September, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited a football practice. Goodell came to promote the USA Football Heads Up program.

The goal of the program is to make the game safer for players. Heads Up encourages awareness of head injuries as well as heat illnesses.

“It’s about teaching the kids the right techniques at the earliest age so that they understand the fundamentals, play the game with techniques that are safer and make sure that they play the game right and play the game longer,” Goodell said.

Football is a contact sport and concussions are common. The Heads Up Program hopes to teach players about safety so that they are more cautious of injuries.

Goodell said that the safety initiative is important because it’s about the long term health of the game. He said that players benefit from the influential aspects of the game and should be able to play as long as possible.

“Football teaches you great values, it teaches you teamwork, it teaches you leadership, and it teaches you discipline,” Goodell said.

The program was adopted by WCPSS in June and Goodell’s visit can be used to help implement it all over the state.

“When we started the program in June, we had no idea that it would get to this and get a visit from the NFL and from USA Football,” WCPSS Athletic Director Deran Coe said. “I think that just shows the commitment of our coaches. This is making it a safer game for our kids.”

With 52 schools in Wake County having football programs, it may be too early to decipher whether or not the newly implemented program has affected the way the team members play the game.

However, according to Coe, the enthusiasm about the program is great and the coaches and students are bringing the continuity of the language of the program.
They are also bringing all of the levels of the program from proper tackling techniques to the dealing with concussions and dealing with heat illness together on a system level that is understandable.

Coe said, “It’s definitely making an impact of that level, and I’m sure over the future of the program we will stay involved with USA football, and it will definitely have an impact on our student athletes.”