Minnesota Youth Athletics Services


Football Summit

Trusted Coaches Hosts Youth Football Summit

Minneapolis, MN -- Trusted Coaches, the educational division of the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, recently held the 2017 Minnesota Youth Football Summit, designed for youth football leaders and coaches. The Summit was held on Saturday, June 24, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The Summit also included a free U.S. Bank Stadium tour. 

Anthony LaPanta, of Fox Sports North and a youth/high school coach, emceed the event. This event was free to the youth football community, thanks to the generous support of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s Legacy Fund and the Minnesota Vikings.

The Summit was created in order to bring the Minnesota youth football community together to examine the challenges and identify innovative solutions to make the game more enjoyable for children while enhancing safety. Opening remarks were made by Dan Klinkhammer, MYAS Executive Director,  Dana Nelson, Super Bowl 52 Legacy Fund, and Brad Madson and E.J. Henderson of Minnesota Vikings Youth Football. This event was endorsed by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association and the Minnesota State High School League.

  • Keynote Presenters Joe Erhmann (Former Pro-Bowl defensive lineman with the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions; named the “The Most Important Coach in America” by Parade Magazine) and Jody Redman (Executive Director and Co-Founder of InsideOut Initiative, and Associate Director, Minnesota State High School League). Joe and Jody have developed the InSideOut Initiative (https://insideoutinitiative.org/) sports education system based on Joe's book InsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives. InSideOut is funded by the NFL Foundation to educate school coaches on how to reclaim the transformative power of sports. The program is currently active in seven NFL markets: Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Houston, and has trained tens of thousands of coaches. The program plans on moving into other NFL markets and reaching out to the youth sports community.
  • Dr. Uzma Samadani, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota, who is a national authority on youth concussion studies. She emphasized that the benefits of the great game of football far outweigh the risks, which are apparent in any activity that someone participates in.
  • Dawson Blanck, Executive Director of Trusted Coaches, explained www.trustedcoaches.org and how it is important for youth coaches, administrators and parents within a youth football organization. The recent partnership between USA Football/Heads Up Football and Trusted Coaches combines an online membership and certification programs onto a single risk management platform, that features a convenient dashboard for youth sports administrators. This collaborated effort creates a “one-stop shop” for youth football coaches and organizations.
  • USA Football Master Trainer, Terry Donovan, described the "rugby" shoulder tackling technique, the new "rookie tackle" experimental program and the comprehensive USA Football resources that are available for administrators, coaches, and parents. 
  • A panel of esteemed high school coaches and a separate panel of youth sports leaders discussed youth football problems and solutions that enhance the great game of football. Both panels were moderated by Kevin Merkle, Associate Director of the Minnesota State High School League. The high school panel included former Vikings, Dr. Leo Lewis III and Brooks Bollinger, as well as Dave Nelson and Adam Fischer. They provided great perspective on ways the high school program can easily and effectively connect with the youth football organization in their community. This in turn promotes pride and connectivity from the grass roots to the high school level.


For further information, please contact Dawson Blanck, Trusted Coaches Executive Director at dawson@trustedcoaches.org or 763-746-1719.


  • Registration, Continental Breakfast and Vendor Show begins at 8:00am

  • Welcome and Introduction
    • Dan Klinkhammer - MYAS Executive Director
    • The Super Bowl 52 Legacy Fund - Dana Nelson and/or Chad Greenway
    • The Minnesota Vikings and Youth Football - Brad Madson and/or EJ Henderson

  • The InsideOut Initiative for Youth Football
    • Joe Ehrmann
    • Jody Redman

  • Youth Football and Concussion Risks
    • Dr. Uzma Samadani - Professor of Neurosurgery (U of M)

  • Trusted Coaches/USA Football Partnership
    • Dawson Blanck - Trusted Coaches
    • Mike Cuzzone - USA Football

  • What High School Coaches are Looking for in Youth Football Programs
    • Ron Stolski - Brainerd H.S.
    • Dave Nelson - Minnetonka H.S.
    • Brooks Bollinger - Cretin Derham Hall H.S.
    • Adam Fischer - Farmington H.S.
    • Leo Lewis - North High AD/former Viking

  • Best Practices in Youth Football Programs
    • Kevin Merkle - MSHSL Executive Director
    • John Swanson - N. Suburban Football League
    • Tony Wix - Minnetonka Youth Football
    • Scott Gagnon & Adam Lares - Mpls. Park Board
    • Maurice Chenier - Armstrong Cooper Youth Football

  • Door Prizes and Adjournment

  • Optional - Free US Bank tour (typically $18 fee)
Youth Sports Done Right