I am often asked my opinion on things that involve football. The questions range from how to find which player position best suits a child to who I think will win the Super Bowl, and pretty much everything in between. I have many thoughts on the game, on coaching, and on improving performance, so I am starting Passing Thoughts to share some of those thoughts. I welcome your comments and conversation. –KR

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Heads Up with NFL Ambassador Brian Hansen

Brian Hansen, SD State Director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, has been named as South Dakota's NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football (HUF). Hansen played college football at the University of Sioux Falls and was drafted in the ninth round of the 1984 NFL Draft.  He played from 1984 to 1999 for the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and the Washington Redskins. He was selected to the 1984 Pro Bowl.

Brian is a perfect person for this role!  He brings a strong football background and community leadership to the program. Brian has always been proactive through FCA promoting the proper fundamentals of football. I asked him a few questions to help us understand his new role as the NFL Ambassador for HUF:
Brian Hansen

Will you explain what the HUF Ambassadors do as part of the HUF program?
The NFL Ambassadors have been selected as representatives of the NFL and USA Football's effort to bring awareness and education to Americas favorite sport. The former NFL players selected will work with local media, youth coaches, and parents in their area to speak on issues related to safety, tackling techniques, concussion awareness and encouraging parents to get actively involved.

What does it mean for SDJRFB to be a HUF league?
It means that there are now certain guidelines and expectations that primarily focus on educating and certifying coaches. Coaches will be required to go through the HUF training program that will equip them to be able to teach proper technique and ultimately enhance the level of safety for their players. They will also be able to recognize and manage concussions after going through the certification process. Master trainers will also be part of the program. They will work with coaches on an ongoing basis throughout the season to create accountability and ensure HUF policies are being utilized.

Riggs Premier Football is offering the SDJRFB camp, a special tackling clinic, and a non-contact camp for area kids to learn HUF techniques before the season starts. Are there other events planned for the area as part of this initiative? I will also be working with the Watertown Youth program but do not have anything scheduled there at this point.

What are your thoughts on being the NFL Ambassador for our region? 
It’s exciting for me to see the NFL and USA football take the lead on this and to be a part of a local and nationwide effort to enhance the game and change the culture of youth football. I'm also glad to see that education and training are going to be the new norm. The game that I played and loved will continue at a higher level providing opportunities for young boys to play the game that helped mold and shape me and taught me valuable lessons about myself, life and dealing with the challenges that ultimately make us better.

We are very fortunate to have Brian Hansen working closely with this effort in the Sioux Falls area. His involvement with FCA gives him a very clear understanding of the advantages and challenges faced by youth football programs in our area. He knows the athletes, the families, and the coaches involved in this effort, and he is well liked and respected as a leader for youth sports. Best of luck to him as he embarks on this venture for the NFL and USA Football! We look forward to his involvement during the 2013 season!

Next up in our blog series...Dr. Thayne Munce from the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance will share his thoughts about USA Football's concussion studies and Sanford's research on concussions in youth football right here in Sioux Falls.

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