Ed Block was a long-time trainer for the (then) Baltimore Colts football team. In his years of service, he noticed that many of his football players experienced injuries to the fingers, hands, and wrists which prevented them from playing their best.
Furthermore, he believed that by specifically strengthening the fingers and hands one could potentially reduce the likelihood and severity of injury to these areas and thus give his team a tactical advantage on the field.
He came out with “Ed Block Hand Exerciser” which was a tin filled with putty which could be squeezed to build grip strength (and which was likely the very first commercially available hand exerciser for athletes). It worked! The Colts were one of the best teams in football for a number of years, winning Championships in 1958-59, 1968, and 1970.
In his autobiography, Raymond Berry, the Hall-of-Fame receiver who led the NFL multiple times in yards, receptions, and touchdowns pointedly mentioned The Ed Block Hand Exerciser as a tremendous factor in his ability to catch the football. Berry writes that he used the Ed Block Hand Exerciser to strengthen each individual finger!
Training your grip is one of the best things you can do as a football player.
Away from football, Ed Block also let his services to a hospital for crippled children in Baltimore.
Today, “the Ed Block Courage award” is given annually to a player from each team in the National Football League (NFL) who are voted for by their teammates as role models of inspiration and sportsmanship.