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More Than 30,000 High School Students to Participate in NFL Character and Skill Development Program

More than 30,000 high school football players will focus on character development, life skills and on-field techniques from May-August as part of the NFL High School Player Development (HSPD) program which is presented by the National Guard through the NFL Youth Football Fund.

Since its inception in 2001, the HSPD program has provided participants with a curriculum that focuses on inspiring excellence in the classroom, community, and on the playing field.  The program, which is funded by the National Guard through the NFL Youth Football Fund, is free for students and will be implemented at more than 150 sites in 36 states this spring and summer.

The character development and life skills portion of the week often features guest speakers and discussions on life after high school.  Students also will take part in a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) session about player safety, including concussion treatment and management.

This is the third year of the National Guard's sponsorship of the HSPD program.  During each session, members of the National Guard will speak with participants about personal development and community service while providing support to coaches on site. 

Each participant receives an HSPD Student Planner, NCAA initial eligibility requirements, and time management instruction.

On-field components of the HSPD program include fundamental skill development by position, reviews, and individual competitions. As part of on-field training, players focus on both an offensive and defensive position, and eventually apply their newly-learned fundamentals to live drills. Participants have access to innovative teaching and drills developed by leading NCAA coaches.  The 2011 Instructional DVD and Practice Plan has been produced by the University of Alabama.

In addition, HSPD kits will be sent to high school football coaches nationwide this year, impacting more than one million high school football players.

Please visit for the most up-to-date information on HSPD sites.

About the NFL Youth Football Fund

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF's youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors

About the Army National Guard

The Army National Guard is the oldest component of the United States armed forces.  The first militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on December 13, 1636.  From the Pequot War in 1637 until the present day, the Army National Guard has participated in every war or conflict this nation has fought.  The motto of the today's National Guard is "always ready, always there."   The Guard is proud to support young, aspiring student-athletes by providing them with an opportunity to develop fundamental football skills by position, reviews and individual competitions in combination with mandatory character development instruction. The Guard not only protects communities in times of natural disaster but they also provide emergency assistance in extreme situations, which requires teamwork, dedication, determination, and innovation. As these high school athletes will soon learn, the qualities and skills needed to serve as a citizen-soldier are also the qualities essential to making a great football player.

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