Today 18 Indiana high-school football programs were hosted at the Indianapolis Colts' headquarters at an exclusive event focused on student-athlete health and safety.
The event was the culmination of the inaugural HELMETs sweepstakes, a collaboration between the Indianapolis Colts and UnitedHealthcare to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training.
Select players, coaches and school administrators from each school attended the event, which featured remarks from guest speaker and former Colts offensive lineman Ryan Diem and a Heads Up Football™ clinic conducted by USA Football; and concluded with an awards ceremony at which Tri-West Hendricks High School was selected at random to win the HELMETs grand prize of new 5-star helmets for the school's varsity football program (valued at $25,000). The 17 remaining finalists each received a $1,000 donation to the school's athletic department.
HELMETs encourages and motivates Indiana high-school football programs to strengthen their commitment to player health and safety by enrolling in USA Football's Heads Up Football program – endorsed by leading medical associations and the NFL – to advance coaching education and student-athlete safety. Eighteen schools were nominated by fans as part of the 2015 sweepstakes:
Avon High School
Carmel High School
Chesterton High School
Decatur Central High School
Delphi Community High School
East Noble High School
Evansville F.J. Reitz High School
Fishers High School
Lapel High School
Monrovia High School
New Castle Chrysler High School
New Prairie High School
Plymouth High School
Roncalli High School
Southport High School
Tri High School
Tri-West Hendricks High School
West Washington High School
"We are excited to host the culmination of the inaugural HELMETs initiative," said Matt Godbout, Colts senior vice president of business development. "Our partnership with UnitedHealthcare is off to a great start, and we look forward to growing the game of football together through education and safe equipment."
"UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to join the Indianapolis Colts and USA Football in advancing young athletes' health and safety," said Dan Krajnovich, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Indiana and Kentucky. "HELMETs connects coaches, parents and athletes with tools and resources to address the issues that affect athletes. These finalists are outstanding examples of high schools and coaching staffs committed to providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves on the field."
"HELMETs is an important and exciting partnership for the good of student-athletes across our home state, and we're pleased to contribute to it," said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. "Coaches are teachers. Supporting their programs with education and quality equipment are powerful catalysts for exceptional and fun football experiences that fuel lasting fitness, academic and social benefits."
USA Football is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the country.
The 2016 HELMETs sweepstakes officially launched today. To be eligible, high-school football programs in Indiana must commit to enhancing player health and safety through Heads Up Football certification. 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. More details about USA Football's Heads Up Football program can be found at www.usafootball.com/headsup.
UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 870,000 people in Indiana with network of 170 hospitals and nearly 21,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.
UnitedHealthcare’s Mike Merk moderates a mini panel discussion with Colts’ former offensive lineman Ryan Diem and UnitedHealthcare’s John Lurker at an exclusive event focused on student-athlete health and safety. The event was the culmination of the inaugural HELMETs sweepstakes, a collaboration between the Indianapolis Colts and UnitedHealthcare to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training.
Representing Tri-West Hendricks High School, North West Hendricks School Corporation Superintendent Rusty King accepts the HELMETs grand prize check to purchase new 5-star helmets for the school’s varsity football program (valued at $25,000) from former Indianapolis Colts’ offensive lineman Ryan Diem and UnitedHealthcare’s Liz Drury. The check presentation was part of an exclusive event focused on student-athlete health and safety.