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ESPN, USA Football team to advance youth player safety

Prior to the Oct. 27 Monday Night Football game, ESPN announced a new collaboration with USA Football to promote a better, safer game across youth and high school football. ESPN’s Executive Vice President, Administration, Ed Durso presented a $175,000 check to USA Football before the Redskins-Cowboys matchup.

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, educates more youth and high school football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

Through ESPN’s financial assistance, more than 50 high schools and youth organizations across the United States will be offered USA Football’s Heads Up Football® program, which provides nationally-endorsed coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches. The funding also will support coaching certification scholarships, which will be provided to select high schools, including underserved high schools.

More than 5,500 youth football leagues and 750 high schools spanning all 50 states have registered for Heads Up Football this season.

ESPN has hosted several events with USA Football leading up to Monday Night Football telecasts this season, which include a youth football game day experience, high school players and coach’s clinics, parent safety meetings, as well as an equipment donation.

This past weekend, Darren Woodson, ESPN NFL analyst and a three-time Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champion, met with more than 1,500 youth athletes from the Dallas-area Frisco Football League to emphasize the importance of safe play. Another 5,000 kids and parents attended a Rally Day with ESPN, USA Football and the Dallas Cowboys.

“Player safety is a top priority for ESPN, all of our NFL analysts, and myself as a parent of a 13 year-old boy and as a former player who cares about this game,” said Woodson. “Through this collaboration, we want to teach kids, parents and coaches the right skill-set and techniques early so that they can always put safety first.”

ESPN will host another event in Philadelphia prior to MNF on Nov. 10.

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