Louisiana 11th state to endorse Heads Up Football program
USA Football is the sport’s national governing body and trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the U.S. In preparation for the 2016 football season, the LHSAA recommends that all of its 298 football-playing member schools employ Heads Up Football, which has earned the endorsement of leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport.Created and administered by independent non-profit USA Football, Heads Up Football establishes important standards rooted in the best available science. The program, available to all U.S. high schools, is employed by more than 1,100 high schools nationwide.
On a local level, the New Orleans Saints have reinforced the Heads Up Football program through several clinics educating coaches, parents and players about the certification program. In addition to increasing awareness across the state, the Saints have provided grants to high schools to cover the enrollment fees required in the nationally-endorsed coaching education and athlete safety program.
The events hosted by the Saints include Player Safety Clinics for coaches, Moms Clinics and forums with regional youth football leaders with the goal to expand and encourage youth and high school teams to enroll in the USA Football program. Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to teach and play the No. 1 participatory sport of U.S. high school boys.
Supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the program teaches tackling and blocking techniques designed to reduce helmet contact while addressing all-sport-relevant topics with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response; sudden cardiac arrest protocols; hydration and heat preparedness; and instruction on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
Every high school that participates in Heads Up Football designates a Player Safety Coach (PSC) from its football coaching staff. PSCs are trained by USA Football to guide, direct and monitor the program’s implementation as well as lead in-person training for fellow coaches, parents and players.
PSCs have access to USA Football clinics statewide throughout the spring and summer to learn Heads Up Football protocols and techniques.
Coaches enrolled in Heads Up Football complete an online certification course developed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and USA Football.
“The safety of our student-athletes remains my number one priority, and USA Football’s Heads Up Football promotes just that,” LHSAA Executive Director EDDIE BONINE said. “The partnership between the LHSAA, our state’s high school coaches association, the New Orleans Saints and USA Football is a prime example of the collaborative work that we continue to put forward for our young people.”
“The Louisiana High School Coaches Association is proud to endorse USA Football’s Heads Up Football program,” Louisiana High School Coaches Association Director TERENCE WILLIAMS said. “This program will advance how our coaches teach the sport’s fundamentals, make it even more fun to play and provide a baseline in safety training that can benefit coaches in every sport.”
“We are excited about the educational and injury prevention opportunities that this program will bring to the student-athletes of Louisiana,” added DR. GREGORY STEWART, chairman of the Louisiana High School Athletics Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
The committee, comprised of physicians, orthopedic surgeons, professional healthcare managers and high school and collegiate athletic trainers, fully endorses USA Football’s Heads Up Football program.