Sports are supposed to be fun and safe.
That was among the central messages at the Browns' annual Parents Clinic, Cleveland Browns Parents Clinic, presented by the PURELL®, which focuses on football fundamentals and universal health/safety elements of high school and youth sports.
Hosted Tuesday morning at the team's Berea facility, the centerpiece of the clinic was an interactive forum aimed to educate parents CDC-approved concussion recognition and response protocols; proper equipment fitting; Heads Up tackling; Heads Up blocking; heat emergency preparedness and hydration; and sudden cardiac arrest.
"We want kids to play sports and play them safely," said University Hospitals' Dr. Amanda Weiss-Kelly. "And I really do believe that kids can play sports safely and that without question the benefits of sports absolutely outweigh the risks, but we can always be paying more attention and always doing things to make sports safer."
Weiss-Kelly was joined by panelists UH's Dr. Michael Salata, Browns performance dietician Katy Meassick, Browns youth football adviser and St. Ignatius head football coach Chuck Kyle (who is also a certified Master Trainer in USA Football's program) and former Browns running back/NFL ambassador Jamel White, who weighed in on important issues and spoke about their own experiences.
"It's so interesting how research is still going on about concussions, about heat treatment and stuff like that," said Kyle, who lead the parents through a hands-on USA Football Heads Up Football workshop following the panel discussion. "You hear that and go, 'That's good!' Everybody's trying to improve situations for athletes and that's beautiful."
During the panel, kids participated in a Browns PLAY 60 Clinic at the team's facility, which served as an opportunity to learn football fundamentals and techniques in a fun environment.
"I love that the Browns are so invested in the community and in the health of kids that are participating in sports and that UH does the same," Weiss-Kelly said. "I think it really shows the community that the Browns really do care, that it's important for them to be involved in the community."
In August, all NFL teams will recognize Play! Football Month, a celebration of youth and high school football players and coaches throughout the preseason. Beginning with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, Play! Football various youth and high school football activities, personnel and programming will be featured at NFL teams' preseason games at stadiums and during TV broadcasts.
As part of Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
"Sports are supposed to be fun and that they're generally safe," Weiss-Kelly said, "and they will help kids learn to be active in a fun way and also help kids develop leadership skills carry into their adult life."
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About USA Football
USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport's national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, scholastic and other amateur players. Follow USA Football (@USAFootball) on Facebook or on Twitter.
About Browns PLAY 60:
The Browns PLAY 60 movement, contributing to the NFL's nationwide initiative to promote youth health and wellness by getting active at least 60 minutes each day, is in association with University Hospitals and American Dairy Association Mideast. The Browns actively bring PLAY 60 to the local community throughout the year to ensure kids and families are learning about and taking steps toward a healthy lifestyle.