Chatham's 7th Grade Chatham Youth Football team held a practice at the New York Giants Quest Diagnostics Training Facility on Tuesday, Oct. 28.

The team was bused from Chatham Middle School to the training facility and held a practice session on the indoor field used by the Giants for their practices. The Chatham players were addressed by and received autographs from current Giants’ players Peyton Hillis and Zack Bowman. The players then held a full practice on the Quest Diagnostics indoor field. After the practice session was completed, the players were taken on a tour of the Giants team meeting room and locker room.

The team was asked to participate in this event due to an invitation from USA Football to the New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League (NJSYFL). NJYSFL is affiliated with USA Football.

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USA Football, in concert with the NFL, promotes player safety programs around the country called Heads Up Football.  These safety initiatives include training on proper blocking and tackling technique, helmet and shoulder pad fitting and information on how to combat injury due to heat and hydration issues. The NJYSFL’s affiliation with USA Football and the Heads up Football program led to Chatham being invited to participate in this event at the Giants training facility.

Three town’s programs from the league were selected to hold a practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training facility, New Providence, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Chatham. The Chatham Youth Football Club was selected to be a representative because, according to the league, they are a model of success in implementing the Heads Up Football program. 

Bob Kautzmann, the head coach of the Chatham 6th Grade team and Henry Ashton, the defensive coordinator of the Chatham 7th Grade team, have been certified by USA Football to be Player Safety Coaches for the Chatham Youth Football Club.

With this certification they are equipped to train the other coaches in Chatham and throughout the league in the methods of Heads Up Football.  Kautzmann also coordinates all of the Player Safety Coaches for the NJSYFL.  Following the program’s methodology, all of the teams in the Chatham Football Club have kept a consistent number of players while showing quality results on the field. The 7th Grade team was asked to participate due to the player's and coaching staff’s success in implementing the Heads Up Football program while improving their level of play.