Texans general manager Rick Smith and Houston-area Heads Up Football Ambassador Ricardo McDonald took part in the Heads Up Football Grant Presentation at the Houston Texans YMCA on Monday evening. The comprehensive youth football membership program, developed by USA Football and supported by the NFL, aims at further strengthening youth player safety.
Over $40,000 in grant funds was awarded to five local Heads Up Football leagues. The endowments, ranging from $5,000-$10,000, will ultimately be used to make their leagues safer and better through investments in safety equipment, new helmets and shoulder pads, and practice equipment.
Smith spoke about the grant opportunity and the overall importance of the Heads Up Football program.
"To me, this is the most important initiative we have as a league because it's all about these young people and it's all about making sure that our game continues to be promoted the safe way that you play it," he said. "Football is such a wonderful part of life that teaches young people so much. It's important and that's why our organization is as supportive as it is and that's why the NFL is as supportive as it is."
The general manager had the opportunity to return to his days as a coach, instructing the crowd of 150 youth football players as they tossed around the pigskin. As a father, the initiative is especially meaningful to Smith.
"I've got two young sons that enjoy football, love football, want to play football," he said. "My oldest has played so it's important for me personally, as well."
Grant recipients at the event each had a league representative or coach who attended the Houston Texans Heads Up Football Coaches Summit in July. Leagues were also asked to meet additional requirements to become eligible to receive the Houston Texans Heads Up Football grant award. These grants will tremendously impact the five leagues that were awarded and will play a crucial role in further strengthening the quality of the game.
To learn more about USA Football and the Heads Up Football initiative, go online to http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/usa-football.html .