Tip of the Week
As the less structured and sun-filled summer days come to an end, many households across the country are preparing for football camps, practices and the start of the season. Coaches are dusting off their playbooks, schools and leagues are prepping the fields, and parents are adjusting their schedules to make time to attend games and scrimmages.
And, just as the stadium lights turn on, so too does the conversation around player safety. Today’s players are not only bigger and stronger, but the game itself is faster and more advanced than ever before. From the players on the field to the coaches and trainers on the sideline and the parents in the stands, everyone needs to do their part to make the game safer and smarter.
Few people better understand the unique combination of excitement, stress and pride of a football parent than Leslie Matthews, matriarch of one of the largest and long-standing football families in the history of the sport. While her sons, Clay Matthews III of the Green Bay Packers and Casey Matthews of the Philadelphia Eagles, gear up and hit the field with pride every Sunday, the perspective from the stands can be an emotional roller coaster ride.
“It’s stressful watching your child play football,” says Matthews. “You get caught up in the excitement of the competition. But, at the end of the day, your goal is that they stay healthy playing the game they love. Clay and Casey grew up on the football field, and I had to do everything in my power to ensure their safety by educating myself and being proactive.”
Matthews wants all football parents to understand they can take steps to manage their child’s well-being throughout the season. She encourages parents to get hands-on when it comes to safety, and suggests brushing up on the latest available equipment advancements. Maintaining an open line of communication with coaches and administrators is also paramount.
“I want all parents to know it’s OK to ask the tough questions when it comes to your child’s program,” says Matthews. “Find out the coach’s approach to teaching proper technique. Discuss player management and safety protocol. Ask if he or she has considered the latest equipment. The game of football is not only faster and stronger, but it’s smarter too, and we need to take advantage of the technology that’s available.”
Matthews recommends inquiring if your program uses technology like the Riddell InSite Impact Response System to proactively monitor player impacts.
“It’s important as a parent to know that the school or league is doing everything in its power to protect our children,” says Matthews.
Family Movie Night
“If I Stay”
Length: 106 minutes
Synopsis: Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. — Warner Bros.
Violence/scary rating: 3
Sexual-content rating: 3
Profanity rating: 2.5
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2.5
Family Time rating: 3. A decent film for teens, but not really recommended for younger kids.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“Bats in the Band,” by Brian Lies
Synopsis: A late-spring night sky fills with bats flocking to a theater, already echoing and booming with delightful sounds of music. Bat music — plunky banjoes, bat-a-tat drums, improvised instruments, country ballads, and the sweet cries of a bat with the blues. Join this one-of-a-kind music festival as the bats celebrate the rhythm of the night, and the positive power of music. Brian Lies’s newest celebration of bats and their dazzling, dizzying world will lift everyone’s spirits with joyous noise and cheer! — HMH Books for Young Readers
Did You Know
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle schools and high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later in order to help children get adequate sleep. The group called U.S. kids’ sleep deprivation a major health concern.
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Family Time: Make this football season a smarter one
Tip of the Week