He’ll be in town this weekend to host registration for his football and cheerleader programs in Snellville and Jonesboro.
Sanders believes that if youth players are taught properly, they will know not to use their heads and helmets to strike. Upon his retirement, he saw the poor youth coaching, most times by fathers, who never played the game, and that gave him the impetus to start T.R.U.T.H. Select Youth Sports in Dallas.
He’s set to expand here with youth football and cheerleading tryouts set for Saturday and Sunday for ages 7-14 (football) and ages 5-14 (cheerleading). On Saturday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., tryouts will be held at Shiloh Athletic Association in Snellville. (Click here for directions) On Sunday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., tryouts will be held at Tara Stadium in Jonesboro. (Click here for directions)
Sanders’ youth model calls for good coaches and state-of-the-art equipment to combat the threat of head injuries. Click here for more information on how to register for TRUTH football and cheer.
“I don’t believe that’s valid, everything they are talking about with the concussion issue,” Sanders said. “Also, we have taken extra precautions because we have some of the best coaches, which means they are some of the best teachers. Our coaches will teach them how to tackle, how to block and how to conduct different drills. We are not going to line up people 50 miles apart and let them collide.”
Sanders points out that his teams wear the new Xenith helmets aimed at reducing head injuries.
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon sustained at least six concussions during his playing career and works with Xenith, which created a football helmet that uses 12 to 18 shock absorbers that act as airbags for the head.
The helmets were created by Vin Ferrara, a former all-Ivy league quarterback at Harvard, who went on to get his medical degree and master’s in business administration from Columbia.
The helmet is certified by National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOSCAE) and will be worn in 2012 by up to 150 NFL players, and by a significant number of players on major college teams such as Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, Oregon, Florida, UCLA, Georgia, Stanford and South Carolina.
“It’s the greatest advance in helmet design in at least 30 years,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the nation’s leading concussion experts.
Former Falcon Keion Carpenter will coach the T.R.U.T.H. North (Snellville) team. Former NFL running back Jamal Lewis will coach the T.R.U.T.H. South (Jonesboro) team. Former NFL running back, scout and front-office executive Melvin Bratton will help both the teams.
“I think if [players] are taught the correct and proper manner, they won’t get concussions,” Sanders said. “We have coaches that are real viable coaches and not just dads. We are not just a bunch of people out there playing ‘Daddy Ball.’”
Players are required to attend summer camp and maintain A’s and B’s when school starts.
“Academics is a strong part of our athletics,” Sanders said. “In the summer months, all of our kids that are on our teams, come to summer camp. They get football 101. They get conditioning and they have a practice, as well as school. That’s going to be conducted for an hour and half in the classroom for academics in order to keep them sharp.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog