Meyer, Goodell Teach Columbus Moms About Football Safety

By Kyle Rowland on August 1, 2013 at 2:54p
Moms awaiting Urban

Urban Meyer stood on the sideline inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with intimidation written all over his face. No, the Ohio State Buckeyes were not trailing late in the fourth quarter. Instead, he was looking out at 350 Columbus-area moms.

They were at the football facility, along with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, for a safety clinic. Meyer and Goodell worked in conjunction with USA Football’s Heads Up program to educate moms on how to approach coaches and make them aware that youth football can be played in a fun, safe manner.

“Ohio State is proud to be part of the first (clinic),” Meyer said. “Think about that. Ohio State is the first school the commissioner reached out to to educate people about the great game of football. Last year we had a free clinic where all the youth coaches came in.”

Heads Up is a program designed to make youth football safer and better. One of the programs key prongs is a tackling drill emphasizing proper technique.

“I have twin daughters who play soccer and lacrosse. I know that when a parent sends their child off to practice, that parent wants to know what is being done to keep their child safe,” Goodell said.

Meyer recognizes that the sport has changed, mostly due to speed and size of current players, but admitted concussions and serious injuries can happen all across the sports landscape. A scary situation for he and his wife, Shelley, occurred during daughter Nicki’s volleyball career when she and another player collided and suffered concussions.

“She was out for a second,” Meyer said. “With sports come some inherent (risks).”

The three-hour program featured seminars on concussion awareness with world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Lonser; engaging your kid’s coaches; heat, hydration and nutrition; heads up tackling and proper equipment fitting.

Christine Golic, the wife of former NFL player Mike Golic and mother of a current NFL player, was part of the event, as were Ohio State assistants Mike Vrabel, Luke Fickell and Kerry Coombs, and former Buckeye Joey Galloway.

Lonser, chair of neurological surgery at Ohio State and member of the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine committee, studied Junior Seau’s brain following the former All-Pro’s suicide.

The event closed with a question-answer session, where Meyer and Goodell answered wide-ranging questions from the moms regarding their sons’ playing careers.

“It’s not about winning, it’s about how you win,” Goodell said. “If I had a son, I would want him to play for (Urban).”

Even with the game of football coming under fire in recent years for safety concerns, Meyer said his wife had no reservations with their son, Nate, playing. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t cringing when hard hits occur.

“After all,” Goodell said, “there no better advocates for a child's health and well-being than his parents.”


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AndyVance's picture

Coach Meyer amazes me: on top of recruiting one of the best classes in the country year in, year out, and on top of coaching an undefeated squad in his first year and preparing to chase a national title in his second, and running the ESPN gauntlet in Bristol yesterday, AND dealing with the Hyde/Roby/Baugh/Gardner situations more or less all at once, he STILL has time to talk with moms about football safety. That is one amazing guy. Really glad he's our guy.

buckskin's picture

Good call Andy.  Also don't forget about the pink contract with his family.  This guy gets it.  

Hovenaut's picture

Paying it forward.

This is great for the sport and the relationship between Ohio State football and the NFL. Really impressed with Urban Meyer and his offseason focus the past few weeks. The emphasis stays on the on field objectives, but you have to give UFM credit for his recent efforts off the sidelines.

Sounds like an excellent opportunity for the Urban bashe...critics to report on a positive subject relative to Meyer. For once.

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

I agree. It never hurts to have a strong relationship with the NFL. Another great selling point for recruits.

BuckeyeRick's picture

My wife attended the event and had a great time. She got to go through some drills with Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel. She also brought along an Ohio State football and Urban Meyer signed it to me! Christmas came early for me!

ChazBuckeye's picture

I thought that this was a bad Idea at first but after reading more about it, it seems like a really good idea.  It's getting harder to keep kids interested in football these days due to the injuries. Even my old HS football team has had MANY kids who just aren't interested in playing football due to the concusion problems and lifelong issues from them.  Even though I'm not a huge fan of Goodell, this was pretty cool.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I love this!  What a great way to help broaden the game of football to more people!  Great program for the Moms!!