On Tuesday morning, it was our pleasure to talk with former Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. The six-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro gained 13,662 yards on the ground and scored 91 rushing touchdowns in his estimable 13-year career. For all his size and power, "The Bus" had amazingly light feet, and he'd be just as prone to juke you out of a tackle as he would be to bowl you over.
On this podcast, Bettis wanted to talk about the initiative he's working on with Dick's Sporting Goods. Entitled "PACE" (Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education), the promotion seeks to perform baseline concussion tests for athletes from middle school up to high school. From the press release:
ImPACT begins with a 20-minute test that is administered pre-season for a baseline result, and again post-injury to assess the possible after effects of concussions. The program evaluates multiple aspects of brain function including memory, processing speed, reaction time and post-concussive symptoms, allowing doctors to make safe return-to-play decisions and reducing the possibility of long-term neurological effects.
To date, more than two million people from soldiers to athletes from high schools, colleges and professional sports teams have passed through the ImPACT program, making it the most widely-used concussion evaluation system in the country. As part of the PACE Program, middle and high schools new to the ImPACT program can obtain ImPACT testing for up to 300 student athletes ($500 value) free of charge.
You can find out more about how to donate, or to have your school participate, by going to the PACE website.
After we talked about his involvement in PACE, Bettis discussed his own history with contact-related injuries in football, his thoughts on the new contact rules and how they were implemented, how he developed those quick feet (hint: Bowling?), what the scene was like at Ben Roethlisberger's wedding, and what he thinks of the Steelers teams that have taken the field since he walked away from the game after Super Bowl XL in February of 2006. He also re-created the "whimpering" noise made by defensive players as he crashed into them.
It's a fun and informative interview, so be sure to check it out!
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