Health & Safety
Heads Up Football®
Heads Up Football® is a comprehensive program developed by USA Football to advance player safety in the game of football.
Funded in part by the NFL Foundation, Heads Up Football is designed to change the culture around America’s favorite sport and enhance player safety at the youth and high school level. This comprehensive solution promotes coaching education, concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration, sudden cardiac arrest, proper equipment fitting and Heads Up Blocking and Tackling.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football® program focuses on eight key areas:
- Coaching Education: The sport’s only nationally accredited courses with content created from football experts and health professionals. Coaches with valid USA Football certification become eligible for coaching insurance benefits.
- Equipment Fitting: Learn how to properly fit helmets and shoulder pads. Improperly fitted equipment can place an athlete at greater risk for injury.
- Concussion Recognition and Response: Resources developed by the CDC help coaches and parents become educated on what to look for on the field and encourage attention to concussion symptoms.
- Heat Preparedness and Hydration: Heads Up Football® strengthens its commitment to player safety by adding a heat and hydration training curriculum – with assistance from the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. Targeted education for coaches and parents increases the emphasis on prevention, recognition and basic treatment of athletes. Best practices reinforce heat and hydration-related safety at all levels.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Provides instruction on how to have plans and procedures in place to quickly react in the case of cardiac events, the No. 1 cause of death for children and teens during exercise.
- Heads Up Tackling: USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling® is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contact.
- Heads Up Blocking: USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking helps coaches teach players how to properly engage with a defender, drive with the legs and maintain the correct body position for effective and safer play.
- Player Safety Coach: These individuals are responsible for ensuring their organizations’ compliance with core Heads Up Football® health and safety protocols, including coaching certification and conducting safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.
To learn more about Heads Up Football, visit: http://usafootball.com/headsup
In 2012, the NFL and USA Football collaborated on Heads Up Moms Clinics to provide helpful information to moms who have children who are considering or play tackle football. The clinics include classroom instruction on proper equipment fitting, concussion awareness lectures and the heads up tackling technique as well as participating in on-field drills.
USA Football trainers, doctors and football moms join the event to discuss the topics on concussion awareness, proper football techniques and educating them overall about proper awareness when it comes to health in sports.
These free clinics typically take place at the host club or university football practice facilities and include current and former players, coaches and front office personnel.
USA Football is building a better, safer game through certified coaching education, health and safety initiatives, equipment grants and changing the way the sport is played at the youth and high school levels. To learn more about all of USA Football's programs, visit: www.usafootball.com.