USA Football, the national governing body for youth football launched a new awareness campaign called “Heads Up Football” where coaches will teach parents, young athletes and other coaches how to tackle properly. With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backing the program, the new initiative is set to spread across the nation in an effort to help keep young athletes safe.
“Safety Coaches” who are trained with this specific regimen will pass the knowledge throughout different leagues throughout the states in hopes of helping young athletes avoid injury while playing. Safety Coaches will also include parents as part of solution so that the techniques are instilled in athletes for years to come.
According to the National Center of Sports Safety, 28% of players between the ages of 5 and 14 are injured while playing. Previous studies have shown that football has nearly twice the injury rate as the next most popular sport, basketball. Those coaches also will educate everyone involved in youth football about concussion awareness and the correct way to identify and use equipment. One of the breakthroughs is encouraging parents to be "collectively part of the solution," said Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football's executive director.
For now, Heads Up Football is a pilot program that Hallenbeck hopes becomes the norm across America.
The first three player safety coaches are Rick Regalado of Santa Monica, Calif., Tom Healy of Fairfax, Va., and Michael Brandt of Noblesville, Ind. Each was chosen by the commissioner of his local league, and, after the coaches completed USA Football's training regimen, they headed back home to pass on the knowledge. Ideally, there will be player safety coaches working in every league, although that could take years to implement. For now, Regalado, Healy and Brandt will be hands-on instructors and observers in their leagues, working with coaches, parents, players and game officials.
THERE IS SO MUCH INFORMATION COMING OUT NOW ABOUT FOOTBALL INJURIES, PARTICULALRY CONCUSSION, AND THE THING THAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT THEM AND TREAT THEM. IT IS A VERY GOOD THING, AND HOPEFULLY, WILL PREVENT INJURIES AND THE LSTING AFFECTS, FOR MANY PLAYERS OF ALL AGES.
BUT, KEEP IN MIND, FOOTBALL IS FOOTBALL. IT IS A VIOLENT SPORT, AND NO MATTER THE PRECAUTIONS TAKEN, INJURIES ARE GOING TO OCCUR.
WE APPLAUD THESE ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR AWARENESS AND EFFORT. WE MAY NEVER KNOW WHO IS SAVED, AND TRULY IN THIS INSTANCE, NOT KNOWING IS BETTER THAN THE OPPOSITE OUTCOME.