Lead with the Hands

May 9, 2017

Former NFL lineman Scott Peters has started a company that mixes martial arts with football to teach players to lead with their hands—not their heads. So far Peters’ company, Safe Football, has worked with 450 high schools and six NFL teams.

“It’s based on leverage, on generating power and using your hips, and it makes a lot of sense,” Anthony Castonzo, a left tackle and seven-year veteran on the Indianapolis Colts, told the Indy Star. “The coolest part was that he had a reason for everything he was teaching us. It’s all based on evidence.”

The idea of pairing martial arts with football came to Peters while he was recovering from an ankle injury. He wanted to do something other than riding a stationary bike and ended up going to a jiujitsu gym.

“These guys were bankers, in their 50s!” Peters told the Indy Star. “I’d never gotten worked over that bad before, not even by NFL defensive linemen.”

When the University of Washington hired him as a strength and conditioning coach, Peters paired pieces of jiujitsu methodology into players’ workouts. The results were impressive—no concussions for 13 games—and led to Peters starting the Safe Football company.

 “I’m not sure if you’re ever going to be able to fully remove the head from the game,” Castonzo told the Indy Star. “But if we’re able to get all parties on board and minimize (its impact), that’d be a great start.”