ROXBURY, NJ - The Jr. Gaels football program and I are hosting an informational meeting April 27 at 7 p.m. in the Roxbury High School cafeteria. I invite the parents and guardians of all current Jr. Gaels players to attend.

I also especially invite parents and guardians who have been hesitant to allow boys to play football. The night is intended to provide an update about the changes happening within the Jr. Gaels program and a medical explanation about sports safety and injury prevention.

I have dedicated more than 30 years of my life to the game of football. I have been a witness to the countless benefits the game has bestowed on the hundreds of players I have coached over the years. I am fortunate to coach in Roxbury, a town that has a proud football history. My mission right now is to make sure that the next generation of Roxbury boys carries on that tradition and reaps the life lessons the game so often teaches.

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I recognize many parents are concerned about injuries and are hesitant these days to allow their sons to play football. They are especially concerned about the possibility of their sons sustaining a concussion, but they are also concerned about the possibility of their sons coming in contact with an out-of-control coach who can ruin their sons’ desire to play any organized sport.

I get all that. And that is why I am getting involved, more than ever before, with the Jr. Gaels program. I want to protect and promote this great game and make sure all Roxbury boys have an opportunity to experience football in an environment that promotes sportsmanship, commitment, toughness, family, and above all, safety.

I will moderate the program and make a short presentation about the changes happening in the Jr. Gaels football program. These changes include more extensive training for the Jr. Gaels coaches, a shortened preseason practice schedule and the teaching of a new tackling method that emphasizes player safety. 

The featured presenters of the night will be two medical professionals who allow and encourage their son to play football: Dr. Joelle Rehberg, a neurosurgeon who specializes in sports medicine and concussion and spine Issues, and Dr. Robb Rehberg a professor of athletic training at William Patterson University and president and CEO of Sport Safety International. They will provide the most current information regarding the safety of football and the proper methods to prevent, detect and treat concussions that happen in any sport or activity.

There is a lot of incorrect information out there regarding concussions and football. I would hate to see a young boy miss out on the experience of football because his parents don’t have accurate information about the sport.

All I am asking is that before parents make a decision as to whether or not they will allow their sons to play this year, they come and listen to the Rehbergs offer their professional perspectives on youth football and concussion risks and come and hear about the changes we are making in the Jr. Gaels program. 

The medical presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. The Rehbergs will answer any questions parents might have related to sports and concussions.

This will surely be an informative night that will allow parents to have the information they will need to decide on the direction of their sons’ athletic futures.

For more information about this night, please contact me at clorusso@roxbury.org .

Here are the credentials of Thursday Night’s Guest Speakers:

Dr. Joelle Rehberg, DO, FAOASM

Sports Medicine Physician

Specializing in Concussion and Spine

Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists

Morristown, NJ

Dr. Robb Rehberg, PhD, ATC, NREMT

Professor of Athletic Training - William Paterson University

President and CEO - Sport Safety International

ATC Medical Spotter - National Football League

Assistant Coach - Montville Broncos Youth Football