For the first time, high school football programs spanning all 50 states are enrolled in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, including high schools in more than 60 of the largest U.S. school districts.
New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago are among the country’s school districts pursuing coaching education and player safety protocols that Heads Up Football teaches this season. The 2017 season marks the greatest number of high schools enrolled in Heads Up Football since USA Football first offered the program was first offered to high schools in 2014.
Enrolled school districts and schools receive access to USA Football’s Heads Up Football online curriculum at NFHSLearn.com and are informed of Heads Up Football in-person trainings in their area. USA Football conducted more than 400 in-person trainings through the program this year. Heads Up Football-enrolled school districts and schools are responsible for ensuring their coaches complete the program’s certification.
Some high schools receive in-kind grants and financial assistance for program enrollment from state and regional high school coaches associations, ESPN, the NFL Foundation and charitable foundations of NFL teams.
“Implementing Heads Up Football across our district benefits our student-athletes and helps coaches in all of our sports buy in to important protocols to teach and play them safer,” said Greenville County (South Carolina) Schools Athletics Director Darryl Nance. “Through education and consistent delivery of skill and technique taught in the Heads Up Football program, we have had a notable increase in football player safety through a declining concussion rate. Our coaches, players, parents and medical professionals support Heads Up Football and the positive difference it has brought to our schools.”
Heads Up Football establishes important evidence-based practices through a comprehensive approach to teach and play the sport. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, among other leaders in athletics and medicine, support the education-based program.
“Student-athletes’ safety is at the forefront for the Fort Worth ISD interscholastic coaches and administrators,” said Lisa Langston, Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District athletic director. “Having our football coaches go through the Heads Up Football program put that belief into action. The techniques and protocols learned through Heads Up Football are vitally important and valuable for our student-athletes. Our coaches also find great value in the training and cite it as a significant contributor toward their professional development.”
“Every high school that participates in Heads Up Football deserves credit for taking an important step to advance student-athletes’ health and safety,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. “Such forward-thinking initiative by schools and their coaching staffs set a significant example for others.”
Heads Up Football instructs coaches on health and safety protocols as well as on-field fundamentals, including:
Among the public school districts that have taken the initial step to enroll in the Heads Up Football program for 2017 are: