CLEVELAND —** Chuck Kyle's message was a simple one: Make the game of football safe for future generations to come.
"You have some wonderful people who love the game that realize we have to do something about it," he said.
Consider Kyle, the longtime St. Ignatius High School coach who was brought on as the Browns' youth football adviser last month, among the many hoping they can play a key role in that mission as the Browns hosted a Player Safety Coach Clinic in conjunction with USA Football on Monday evening at First Energy Stadium.
"It's a contact sport, but if we teach it better and we coach it up better, if we look at rule changes so we make it so the kid's not intimidated by it, he's going to have fun because people love the game," Kyle said.
"We're doing a lot of interesting things in this area with the Cleveland Browns' sponsorship, really trying to make the game safe, have the kids love it and have them keep playing. They should feel confident when they go out on the field."
Led by Kyle, a certified USA Football Master Trainer, the clinic aims to prepare high school football coaches for implementing and overseeing the primary components of Heads Up Football — such as coach certification, proper equipment fitting, concussion recognition and response, heat and hydration preparedness, as well as Heads UP Blocking and Heads Up Tackling techniques — within their respective organizations.
"We're making sure (other coaches) can teach it. These guys in this room will make sure they can go out and teach it. It's the pyramid idea, right? I teach it to them, and they go out to their leagues and they teach them, the high school guys go out and teach it to their assistants," Kyle said, adding, "These guys will become the source of that idea. All the drills have good intentions, but we have to make sure they're safe."
Dr. James Voos, the Browns' head team physician since 2014, also spoke Monday about the importance of addressing head injuries and working toward making football safer.
"I think it's absolutely critical that we've gone much more from being reactive in football and sports reacting to injuries in terms of now being much more proactive and having this organization ahead of time where the physicians, the trainers, the athletes and the parents all on the same page with a very set format really helps to put our athletes in a good positions," he said. "I think safety through prevention is the most important thing we can do."
The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting in the development, safety and growth of youth and high school 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. As the official healthcare partner of the Cleveland Browns, University Hospitals will be covering the cost of the first 1,500 Ohio coaches that become Heads Up Football certified, a program sponsored by USA Football.
"This is a great organization to work for and it starts from the top down. It's from ownership all the way to us as the physicians. Our team athletic trainers are incredible, everyone's one the same page," Voos said.
"I think everyone in the organization is out in front of this, I think we've been an early adopted of a lot of these safety protocols and events like this where we can educate our high school coaches is great."