With all of the recent news and media attention towards concussions in sports, USA Football has put together a program to help minimize this problem and teach kids how to play the game the right way. USA Football is an organization that focuses their attention to the youth and amateur levels, and has partnered with the NFL to bring together the Heads Up Football Program. The Heads Up Football Program brings a positive experience to youth players and teaches kids how to play the game safely, while still having fun. This program provides health education and resources to parents, coaches, and players to help prevent injuries.
USA Football offers the proper teaching to coaches and assistants of youth football organizations, and requires them to complete a coaching certification course. In this course, coaches will learn about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition, the correct protocols to take when an athlete is concussed, how to properly fit helmet and shoulder pads, as well as teaching the proper tackling techniques.
âAll coaches within a youth program are now trained to teach the gameâs fundamentals by completing USA Footballâs nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Education Course,â said USA Football Director Steve Alic. âCoaches learn CDC concussion recognition and response protocols through USA Footballâs online course. Parents and players are taught these protocols before the start of the season during league-wide clinics and have them reinforced throughout the season.â
In addition to teaching coaches, USA Football has assigned a player safety coach to each organization, whose sole purpose is to watch the players and make sure they are using the proper techniques.
âEach league has designated a Player Safety Coach that will be in compliance with Heads Up Footballâs player safety protocols, including coaching certification and concussion safety clinics for coaches, players and parents,â said Alic.
The Heads Up Football Program teaches players to keep their heads up at all times, and out of the line of contact. All 32 NFL team are assisting in this program, and are going out to local youth leagues to help kids put the basics back into the game. Former NFL players that are involved in this program include Barry Sanders, Randall Cunningham, Lavar Arrington, Merril Hoge and former coach Jim Mora.
âUSA Footballâs Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact,â said Alic. âBy learning correct tackling techniques at an early age, athletes build muscle memory and take these skills with them as they progress through the sport. Heads Up Football is changing for the better how youth football is played.â
According to Alic the âHeads Upâ technique is not a new concept and it has been around for years, but recently forgotten.
âHeads Up Tackling is not new,â said Alic. âIt is based on the same core fundamentals that have been part of this sport for decades. Heads Up Football refocuses attention and re-emphasizes those fundamentals through a step-by-step approach for coaches to properly teach one of footballâs most basic skills. The instruction is designed to improve tackling skills, advance player confidence, increase safety and limit helmet-to-helmet contact, thus lessening the chance for injury, including concussion.â
Over the past few years 45 U.S. States have passed youth concussion bills to take control of the health and well-being of young athletes, and now with the Heads Up Football Program in place, a statement has been made.
By learning the proper fundamentals and techniques, kids are going to be a lot safer and have more fun, which is exactly what youth football is all about.
To continue reading about concussion safety click here.
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