Community

North Ridgeville High School to receive new five-star football helmets at 2016 Browns Fan Fest

The Cleveland Browns, UnitedHealthcare and University Hospitals will present North Ridgeville High School with new five-star helmets – as rated by Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings – at the Cleveland Browns Fan Fest Saturday, May 14.

North Ridgeville, a USA Football Heads Up-certified high school football program, was selected for the honor through HELMETS, a collaboration between the three organizations to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training.

HELMETS encourages and incentivizes local youth and high-school football programs throughout Northeast Ohio to strengthen their commitment to player health and safety by enrolling coaches in USA Football's Heads Up Football program. High-school programs participating in HELMETS qualify for prizes from the Browns and UnitedHealthcare throughout the football season.

HELMETS will return during the 2016 football season, when another local high school enrolled in Heads Up Football will be granted $25,000 for new helmets through the partnership. Registration is expected to open in August. During the season this fall, the Browns will hold weekly contests on their website to build visibility for the HELMETS program and inspire fans to nominate their local high school to become certified through Heads Up Football. The Browns, UnitedHealthcare and University Hospitals encourage every coach at the youth and high school levels to be Heads Up Football certified.

Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown, UnitedHealthcare Executive Director of Northern Ohio Tom Sullivan and University Hospitals and Browns head team physician Dr. James E. Voos will deliver the helmets to North Ridgeville High School Head Coach Luke Durbin and his team at 11:30 a.m., prior to the team's 7-on-7 practice at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"We are proud to support HELMETS, along with UnitedHealthcare and University Hospitals, as part of our dedicated efforts to help promote the development and safety of youth and high school football throughout our region," said Director of Community Relations Jenner Tekancic.

The Browns partnered with University Hospitals and United Health Care to provide $25k worth of new helmets to North Ridgeville HS. Robert Griffin III and Cam Erving helped with the surprise. (All photos by John Reid)

"This is a great opportunity to join the Cleveland Browns and University Hospitals to advance young athletes' health and safety," said Sullivan. "HELMETS connects coaches, parents and young athletes with the tools and resources needed to address the issues that affect athletes. North Ridgeville is an outstanding example of a high school and coaching staff committed to providing students with the knowledge and resources they need to protect themselves on the field."

"University Hospitals is committed to the safety of all athletes in our community," said James Voos, M.D., Head Team Physician, The Cleveland Browns and Division Chief, Sports Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. "We are proud to partner with these organizations to provide the most advanced equipment and programs to protect Northeast Ohio athletes."

University Hospitals has also committed to cover costs for 1,500 high school football coaches to become USA Football Heads Up certified in 2016.

To be eligible for HELMETS, high school football programs from Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties must commit to enhancing player health and safety through the Heads Up Football program. Heads Up Football offers certification clinics, combined with an online curriculum, to educate coaches about Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved concussion recognition and response protocols, proper equipment fitting, Heads Up tackling, Heads Up blocking, heat emergency preparedness and hydration, and sudden cardiac arrest.

This marks the second year of the HELMETS program during which local high schools enrolled in Heads Up Football were eligible to receive the new five-star helmets, valued at $25,000. North Ridgeville and Solon High School, in 2015, were selected randomly by the Browns from a list of eligible high schools in Northeast Ohio.

The Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting 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. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/community.

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 2 million people in Ohio with network of 260 hospitals and more than 46,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.

About UnitedHealthcare:

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

About University Hospitals:

Founded in May 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 40 outpatient health centers and primary care physician offices in 15 counties throughout Northeast Ohio. At the core of our $4 billion health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center, ranked among America's best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopaedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and genetics. Its main campus includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. UH is the second largest employer in Northeast Ohio with 26,000 employees. For more information, go to www.UHhospitals.org

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