A lot of good things above. We've been using Jeff Janssen's Team Captain's Leadership Manual for the past six years and have had great results. We structured some of our stuff in a similar way that lions23 did. My biggest take-a-way from the first year until now is that you have to empower your leaders privately and then in front of the team to lead. As one example, anyone that goes through our leadership training is eligible to be voted onto our Leadership Council by their teammates. When that process takes place I tell our kids that they are voting for someone that they trust, that they think has their best interests at heart, and are giving those people permission to lead (and I explain what that looks like). Not only do your leaders have to know how to lead which is the training, but your team has to understand your expectation of leadership and "followership" in your culture so that those kids can and will lead.
We had 5 or 6 a couple of seasons ago on a team of about 65 kids, 9-12. One happened at a summer college recruiting camp, one the first day of contact in August practice, and the rest in games. The one common factor in all of them was that they were contact injuries, none of them were when the kid was running and tried to change direction and just fell to the ground. Didn't have a single one in at least the 4 years before that or the year after. Caused us to ask a lot of questions and I did a lot of research on ACL injuries and training. Long story short(er), all of the college people we talked to said it was a freak year and law of averages based on the fact that they were all contact injuries so not necessarily training related but I still implemented a prevention regimen into our offseason program and was more diligent about noticing at risk biomechanical stuff (hamstring to quad ratio, knees folding in when jumping and landing, etc).
We've been through a few iterations to find what works best for us. We have 3 different segments of practice (ST, O, D) and so we reset the scoreboard clock 3 times during practice (on our game field). Each time it countsdown the total time for the segment and then on the practice plan I put the "clock time" that we will transition from Indy, Group, Team, etc. If we have 10 min of Indy O, 15 min of Pass Skelly, and 20 min of Team we would set the clock for 45:00 and then the practice plan would have 45:00 next to Indy, 35:00 next to Pass Skelly, and 20:00 next to Team. Once the clock hits 0 we reset it for the next segment. I know that there are a lot of ways to do it but this has been a game changer for us.
Although we keep our frosh with us, we platoon our coaches (a little less than 80 kids in the program, including 9th graders). We have 11 coaches (2 are volunteer) on our staff. We split our coaches into offensive and defensive staffs and then send the "old guys" to O on one day and the "young guys" to D. The next day is switched for the kids but the coaches stay. We don't platoon kids so on an old guy offense practice day for example, they spend 60 min on O and 25 min on D. We do specials at the beginning. We generally have 2 "work days" of practice in the middle of the week. The first day is film, scouting reports, and a short time on the field. The last day is a pregame practice. All practices are 2 hours except the pregame (about an hour and half).
What do I love: Kids are more involved in practice, a lot less standing around, younger kids get more individualized attention and reps (instead of just being the scout team), we have a lot of young coaches so only having to worry about one position allows them to accelerate their growth as a coach, gameplanning is a little easier and less time consuming since O and D can be worked on at the same time.
What do I hate: The scout team doesn't get technique coaching often b/c when we are in team O the defensive coaches are on the other end of the field with the other group of kids, some/most days when you have the young guys , there has to be an intentional effort made to connect the young players with the old guys to build relationships and pass on tradition since they don't practice together, also have to be intentional about building relationships on the staff since O and D can become fragmented, you have to be cognizant of the amount of contact you do in practice as oftentimes you have some starters playing scout team for the 2nd team reps (but also a benefit b/c less kids standing around).
There may be more but this is off the top of my head. We just started doing this a couple of years as our program grew and this change (along with a couple of others) has really changed our program for the better. It's possible that we will see a decrease in numbers in a couple of years so we may not be able to sustain the split practices but we will definitely try.
We had a number of kids get them mid-season last year. They came to us precut for the Riddell helmets and have adhesive backs that just stick to the helmet interior. One thing that you need to know (that we didn't account for) is that a helmet has to be fit with the Unequal padding already installed. We had a number of kids that were at the top end of a medium (almost a large) helmet who couldn't wear the helmet with all of the padding installed because it was too tight.
The marketing is pretty good from the company. A number of NFL players were using their product for everything from extra helmet padding to rib protectors. James Harrison, Michael Vick, and Tony Romo were a few that they mentioned. I actually saw the product to a couple of times on TV during the season when I was watching NFL games. So, it is being used.
All in all, I'd say our anecdotal data is mixed. A number of kids said that the noticed a difference after games but we also had a kid sustain a concussion while using the Unequal product (he took a pretty big blindside shot). Our school did not make the purchase but I did organize it for families that were interested in buying it themselves so there wasn't a financial decision on my end. So, does the product really help to reduce the impact of collisions and risk of concussion? I don't know that I would say that it does after our experience but I don't have any hard data to back that up. I figured that it couldn't hurt to try.