“Tommy Tough” Football Safety
Section XI – NYSPHSAA
in its never ending mission to provide its student-athletes with positive and
safe athletic experiences has embarked on a journey to make the great game of
football even better. Through the vision of the Cutinella Family and the
stakeholders of Suffolk County football it is our hope that we can introduce
and implement changes that will protect the integrity of the game, minimize
risk and allow for positive growth.
with the Section XI Football Committee, Section XI Safety Committee, Suffolk
County Football Officials Association and the Suffolk County Football Coaches
Association have zeroed in on the following goals that will begin to be
implemented in the spring of 2016.
a mandatory safety statement that will be read pre-game by the officials to all
players in grades 7-12 at all contests commencing in the fall of 2016.
a “Player Safety Coach,’ as per USA Football.
and implement an education program for Athletic Directors, coaches, players,
parents, spectators and communities focusing on safety and proper techniques as
it relates to illegal helmet contacts. Programs will be designed and
implemented targeting all stakeholders with our vision of minimizing risk
thereby creating a safer game for all participants. Programs will begin in spring
associations in the enforcing of NFHS rules and regulations related to the
penalties for illegal contacts and hits. Flagrant fouls will result in the
appropriate yardage penalty as well as the ejection of the athlete from the
contest. The illegal hits of targeting, illegal
helmet contact (butt blocking, face tackling and spearing) and
defenseless player hits will result in the
appropriate yardage penalty as well as the player being removed from the field
for at least one play.
coaches ejected from a contest will be suspended from the next regularly
scheduled contest as per the NYSPHSAA and Section XI Misconduct Policy.
Repeated infractions may lead to additional penalties.
County Football Coaches Association has pledged its support to the officials to
make the calls necessary to minimize the risks of the all participants as well
as maintain the integrity of the game.
coaches in the downloading of game film to the Officials Association for their
review and use in the education and professional growth of all of its
Support and work
with USA Football in its efforts to promote and implement programs that are
being created for the benefit of all in the game.
Work with Suffolk
County Officials Association and Coaches Association in its commitment to
dramatically reduce illegal hits. Data on the illegal hits of targeting, illegal helmet contact (butt blocking, face tackling and
spearing) and defenseless player hits will be tracked and reported to
Section XI for compilation. This data will aid us in the evaluation of our
Work with our
Officials Association in the exploration and development of the best possible
bring each of these initiatives to the NYSPHSAA and NFHS level.
confident that through the implementation of these strategies and commitment by
all who love this great game we can create an even better experience for our
Pre-Game Officials Statement:
effort to minimize risks to you and your opponent, helmets are not to be considered
weapons and are not to be used as weapons. Helmets are not to be
intentionally used to initiate illegal helmet contact against an opponent, such
as spearing, targeting, butt blocking and face tackling.”
Sample Public Announcement During
Football Game (should be announced at least 2 times during contest):
name of both schools) school districts salute the Suffolk County Football
coaches, officials and Athletic Administrators for implementing the Tommy Tough
Football Standards, therefore reducing risks for all Suffolk County football
players. We ask all spectators to join the Suffolk County coaches in supporting
the officials when they make calls pertaining to targeting, illegal helmet
contact and defenseless player hits. Thank you for your anticipated
ABOUT TOM CUTINELLA
Thomas Cutinella was a
Shoreham-Wading River student-athlete who on October 1, 2014 in his junior year
suffered a traumatic and fatal head injury playing a game that he loved. He
was a bright light in the SWR community, intelligent, athletic, a positive
leader who strived to serve his team, community and country. Thomas was
indeed one of those individuals who made a difference and influenced all whose
lives he touched. Besides his qualities of selflessness, respect and
kindness he had that tremendous gift of leadership and used this gift to
inspire so many.
It is in his memory,
Section XI and the stakeholders in Suffolk County football have embarked on a
mission to put in place standards and policies which will not only protect the
integrity of the game but will be integral in minimizing the risks for all those
who participate. It is through the efforts of so many that these standards
have become a reality.
These standards are a way
for Thomas to continue to serve us all. They are a tribute to the way he lived
his life, in his death he will continue to inspire, lead and give back to those
Frank Cutinella, Thomas’s
dad, in his presentation at the New York State Athletic Administrators
Association state conference in March 2016 asked us all to continue to “Sing
Tommy’s song”. The Tommy Tough Football Safety Standards will continue to sing
his song…and the lyrics speak to serving others by reducing risks for all