Last fall, the NFL, Chicago Bears and USA Football held a Moms Safety Clinic, where more than 200 women heard from football and medical experts while learning the basic fundamentals of Heads Up Tackling.
Two moms at the event, Heather Pagh and Kimberly Schuetz of the Lake Zurich Flames, decided to bring a similar event to the moms in their league, the North West Youth Football League.
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What started with a few phone calls and brainstorming sessions culminated March 14 with suburban moms learning about the sport their kids play.
"I wanted the moms in our league to have the same knowledge Kimberly and I had the opportunity to gain," Pagh said. "Much of what I learned at Halas Hall reinforced what I had heard and gave me the additional knowledge to ensure my son was smart at home, on the practice field and especially on the playing field.
"We wanted the same for all of our local moms and all of our players. If we start with the youth programs, then by the time they are playing in high school and college, these players will be playing safer football."
Local Riddell representative Gary Paulson discussed equipment fitting.
Kate Feo of Go Hardball shared her knowledge in hydration and conditioning.
Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth, a Heads Up Football Advisory Committee member and head neuropsychologist for the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, White Sox and Fire, talked about concussion awareness and management and the benefits of playing football.
USA Football Heads Up Football Manager and former Chicago Bear Mike Haynes led the moms in Heads Up Tackling drills. Joining him were coaches from Lake Zurich and Palatine, ensuring that moms used the proper technique.
John Kamins, safety director for the Lake Zurich Flames, explained the equipment fitting process. Kamins attended a Player Safety Coach training last summer and continues to work with USA Football to make it part of the Flames' integrated safety program.
"We are delighted to have the support of the Chicago Bears and USA Football for our local safety initiatives," Kamins said. "Football brings a unique opportunity to teach life lessons and instill skills such as teamwork, discipline and leadership that carry well beyond the field of play. At the same time, nothing is more important than the safety of our children."