Arkansas approves USA Football Youth Coach Certification

By Samuel Teets | Posted 5/23/2024

The Arkansas Department of Health has approved USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification as a pathway for football coaches to satisfy the Coach Safely Act.  

Signed by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders in 2023, the Coach Safely Act requires Arkansas youth football coaches to pass a coach training program approved by the state. With the decision from Arkansas’ Department of Health, football coaches and programs in the state now may continue to use USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification to prepare for their seasons.  

As football’s governing body in the U.S., USA Football welcomes opportunities to coordinate with national, state and local leaders to share the latest educational materials, recommendations and research. USA Football supports youth programs in all 50 states, helping organizations provide athletes with memorable experiences. More than 5,500 youth programs serving over 1.3 million athletes enrolled with USA Football in 2023.  

More than 1.1 million coach certifications have been completed since 2012 nationally, reinforcing the football community’s goal to ensure the sport is coached and played smarter than ever before.  

“USA Football's Youth Coach Certification is a comprehensive, athlete-centered program that helps coaches support the health, well-being and performance of athletes,” said Lauren Davenport, USA Football Senior Manager, Education & Training. “Our certification offers pathways for both tackle and flag football coaches and covers a range of topics, including head, heart and heat materials, on-field drills and skills, practical coaching, team management and abuse prevention. We support coaches in creating environments for athletes to participate, develop and compete in football.” 

USA Football’s certification encompasses interactive, instructive modules built with experts in medicine, long-term athlete development and sports. These modules cover all specified areas of the Arkansas Coach Safely Act, including emergency preparedness, concussions and head trauma, heat and extreme weather-related risks, physical conditioning and training equipment usage and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).  

“USA Football’s certification represents the best of youth sports,” said Director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National Hospital, Dr. Gerard Gioia. “From player safety to exciting player skill development, this is what 21st century youth sports coach preparation looks like, and it’s what moms and dads should expect from a sport’s governing body. USA Football does vitally important work, advancing youth athletes’ health and wellness through a terrific team sport for our kids.” 

Nationally accredited by the United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE), USA Football’s certification has undergone a rigorous review process to meet the evolving needs of coaches and provide best-in-class education.  

“Accreditation [through the USCCE] ensures that a coach education program can deliver evidence-based knowledge, resources, and skills to its coach members,” said USCCE Accreditation Chair Andrew Driska, Ph.D. in 2022. “USA Football has developed a comprehensive program that prepares coaches to meet youth athletes at their stage of development while prioritizing quality experiences and healthy environments.” 

USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification is trusted by coaches in all 50 states and has been completed in 15 foreign countries across six continents.