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The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer

Airs Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Coach Bobby Hosea teaching tackling.

"The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer" is an hour-long documentary which shows how football programs and athletes can reduce concussions and the risk of long-term injury by playing smarter.

Credit: Courtesy of MomsTEAM.com, Inc.

Newcastle players on sideline.

Credit: Courtesy of MomsTEAM.com, Inc.

Newcastle H.S. athletic trainer Damon Glass administering King Devick test.

Credit: Courtesy of MomsTEAM.com, Inc.

Newcastle player Matt Meyer's scuffed helmet.

Head injuries in youth and high school football pose daunting challenges that sensational media coverage has many parents believing are insurmountable.

Add in a culture resistant to change, too many coaches still teaching players to block and tackle using their heads, players unwilling to report concussions, and a sport in which, despite new laws, new technologies, new research, and new tests, concussion identification and management remains haphazard and poorly understood, and parents are naturally left to wonder what can be done to improve safety.

The brainchild of visionary youth sports health and safety and parenting expert and author, Brooke de Lench, and drawing on her more than twenty years of experience, both as a parent of a concussed high school football and lacrosse player and as the founder and publisher of MomsTEAM.com, the acknowledged “pioneer” in youth sports concussion education; "The Smartest Team" shows de Lench working with the football program at Newcastle High School in rural Oklahoma to address the challenges concussions pose to the sport.

In just one season she and her team were able to reduce the concussion rate by 75 percent.

"The Smartest Team" begins where other concussion documentaries leave off. Instead of simply identifying the risks of long-term brain injury in football, it offers youth and high school programs across the country specific solutions and steps that can be taken right now to minimize those risks, through a focus on what de Lench calls The Six PillarsTM of concussion risk management.

Through candid and revealing interviews of Newcastle parents and players, the athletic director, trainer and team doctor, leading equipment manufacturers, and world-class concussion experts, "The Smartest Team" acknowledges that head injuries need to be taken seriously while at the same time it shows, in easy-to-understand terms, how high school football programs can improve player safety.

"The Smartest Team" shows what can happen when all stakeholders work together to make the sport of football safer, not just for their own kids but for all kids. More broadly, it charts a path forward, not just to preserve but strengthen youth and high school football, which play such an important part in the life of so many communities across America.

"The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer" is available now on Amazon and Digital Download! Follow @TheSmartestTeam on Twitter.

Video

The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer Trailer

Above: "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer" is an hour-long documentary which shows how football programs and athletes can reduce concussions and the risk of long-term injury by playing smarter.

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