PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin wasn't trying to invent a catchphrase, just something his players would remember when getting into the murky waters of what is and what isn't a legal – not to mention safe – hit.
The Steelers coach came up with one anyway.
Now the team and one of the nation's leading concussion experts hope Tomlin's "don't hit the head, don't use the head" will help educate young players on how to avoid dangerous collisions that lead to significant injury.
"This campaign has the possibility of tremendous change for our youth and high school football players," said Dr. Micky Collins, the clinical and executive director of UPMC's sports medicine concussion program.
The initiative, considered the first of its kind by an NFL team, will include a packet sent to various middle school, high school and youth football programs throughout Western Pennsylvania. The packet will contain a fact sheet about the UPMC concussion program, a letter from Tomlin and Collins and posters for locker rooms with the phrase splashed across a picture of the coach.
"If these words are really followed, I guarantee we're going to prevent a lot of injuries," Collins said.