INDIANAPOLIS – As safety awareness among all levels of football continues to take on a more prominent role, the Indianapolis Colts and USA Football together team up for the fourth straight year as the sport's expert in youth player development and coaching education.
USA Football is in its second season of calling the Indianapolis area home and Colts Youth Football Commissioner Mike Prior recognizes the importance of having such an organization in close proximity.
"USA Football is huge," Prior said. "Since they moved into town, they've not only been a big impact for youth football all over the country, but it's really helping out Indiana more being located downtown."
This year USA Football started a "Heads Up Football" program which Prior said focuses on how to play safer, by teaching proper tackling techniques and concussion awareness.
The Colts are celebrating USA Football Month by creating some special events including having youth football players attend a preseason game and having youth football scrimmages in Lucas Oil Stadium on game days.
In September 2010, USA Football moved its national headquarters to the Circle City and the relationship with the Colts has grown much stronger.
"All their new programs they try and test usually start here," Prior said. "We open up our doors for them to run their camps and clinics."
At tonight's preseason finale with Cincinnati, Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay will present a check for $10,000 to seven youth and two high school football organizations.
"We are pleased to join our neighbor USA Football to celebrate the beginning of another season for young players and their families throughout Colts country and are proud to help further strengthen deserving football programs with equipment grants," Irsay said.
"Through USA Football Month, the Colts are proud to show our continued dedication to youth and high school football, recognizing its important role in our communities."
With around 3,000,000 kids from ages 6-14 playing tackle football each year and more than 400,000 adults volunteering in teaching these children, the Colts have taken the chance to assist a fellow neighbor in USA Football while continuing the partnership of developing youth football.
"You're more in contact with them to be able to brainstorm on how could we get this information out to coaches, what's the easiest path and means," Prior said. "They are in our backyard now. There are a part of the Colts, and that branding together goes a long way."