BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -The Southeastern Conference announced today a promotional relationship with USA Football to advance player safety through USA Football's Heads Up Football® program.
More than 5,500 youth and high school football programs across the United States representing nearly 1 million young athletes have committed to the health and safety of their players by adopting Heads Up Football, a program dedicated to making the game better and safer. Heads Up Football provides coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches.
Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport's national governing body, leading the game's development for youth, high school and other amateur athletes.
USA Football will produce public service announcements featuring a number of SEC head football coaches, discussing the importance of Heads Up Football participation and the sport's inherent values. Video messages will appear throughout the 2014 football season on the SEC Network, stadium video boards, conference and member institutions' athletic web sites and usafootball.com.
USA Football's primary tenets of Heads Up Football:
Heads Up Tackling
• USA Football's Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, which teaches to keep the head up and reduces helmet contact for safer play.
Concussion recognition and response
• Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response protocols through USA Football's Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
• Coaches, parents and players are taught CDC concussion-related protocols.
• Coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game's fundamentals by completing USA Football's nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course. High school coaches will gain training through USA Football's High School Coach Certification course, developed in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations.
• Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
Heat and hydration
• Coaches, parents and players are taught heat and hydration safety measures set forth by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.
Player Safety Coach
• Appointed by a participating Heads Up Football youth organization or high school, this individual ensures compliance with Heads Up Football's player safety protocols, coach certification, and the conducting of safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.
"Passion for football runs deep through coaches, players and fans within the Southeastern Conference." SEC Commissioner MIKE SLIVE said. "USA Football's Heads Up Football program establishes important standards for health and safety that youth leagues and high schools can incorporate to create the best environment for young athletes and learn to play and enjoy a great team sport."
"The health and safety of every young football player is our No. 1 priority, and the Southeastern Conference shares in that commitment by endorsing our Heads Up Football program," USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. "Commissioner Slive and each of the SEC's universities partner with us to further advance a better and safer game for young athletes who enjoy the fun, fitness and other rewards gained by playing this exceptional game. We value the SEC's trust and continued leadership for the betterment of our children."
In addition to the SEC, some of the medical and sport backers of USA Football's Heads Up Football program include:
• Amateur Athletic Union
• Md. Public Secondary Schools Ath. Assoc.
• Nat'l Interscholastic Athletic Admin. Assoc.
• American College of Sports Medicine
• Maxwell Football Club
• National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
• American Football Coaches Association
• Michigan H.S. Football Coaches Assoc.
• National Police Athletic League
• American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
• Minnesota Football Coaches Assoc.
• North Carolina Coaches Association
• Arizona Coaches Association
• National Association of Sports Officials
• Northern Va. Football Coaches Assoc.
• Atlantic Coast Conference
• National Athletic Trainers Association
• Pac-12 Conference
• Big 12 Conference
• NATA Research & Ed. Foundation
• Pop Warner Little Scholars
• Big Ten Conference
• National Fed. of State High School Assoc.
• Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society
• Boys and Girls Clubs of America
• National Football League
• Sport Safety International
• Indiana Football Coaches Association
• NFL Alumni Association
• Sports & Fitness Industry Association
• Korey Stringer Institute at the U. of Conn.
• NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee
• United Youth Football League
About USA Football:
Indianapolis-based USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is the sport's national governing body, leading the game's development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football advances coaching education and player skill development for safer play and a positive football experience.
For more information, visit http://www.secsports.go.com, or www.usafootball.com.