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NFL Brings Youth Health and Safety Message to Super Bowl

Health and Safety 006.jpeg

With the Super Bowl coming to town this week, roughly 50 youth football players from the Indianapolis area took part in a health and safety football clinic yesterday, put on by the National Football League and USA Football.

This marked the first time the NFL combined their player health and safety message with a more traditional youth football clinic, according to a spokesperson from the NFL.

The youth players got a chance to run around the field and strut their moves, of course, but they also received lessons on concussion awareness, the importance of hydration, and helmet fitting. A group of players from the Indianapolis Colts, along with Dan Gronkowski of the Cleveland Browns (brother of Rob Gronkowski, the tight end for the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots), were on hand at the event.

USA Football also awarded new equipment to the Whiteland Junior Football League, where some of the youth players at the event play.

For those students not lucky enough to attend the clinic in Indianapolis yesterday, the player health and safety message will still reach them over this upcoming weekend.

The NFL, in another first-ever moment, will devote 60 seconds of air time during the Super Bowl to player safety, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Mark Waller, the NFL's chief marketing officer, told the paper:

"It is your biggest stage, you've got a massive audience, a massive casual audience, and this topic is probably one of most important topics for casual fans, particularly mothers. And so the possibility that we could actually address the issue in a constructive, engaging way with that audience makes it definitely worth the challenge. It's a risk, without a doubt."

The commercial, which will air during the last commercial break of the third quarter, takes fans through a quick retrospective of NFL history, to show the vast rule changes the game has undergone.

According to the Times, the commercial will end with Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis saying, "Here's to making the next century safer and more exciting. Forever forward. Forever football."

Along with the commercial, the league will be launching a website on Sunday, evolution.nfl.com, which promises to let fans "explore the history of the game."

Given the series of lawsuits filed by former NFL players last year that accuse the league of hiding information about the severity of concussions, it's a safe bet that the NFL's Super Bowl commercial won't be the last they ever release on player safety.

Photo: Indianapolis student-athletes participate in a health and safety football clinic put on by the NFL and USA Football. (Dave Drapkin)

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