The NFL and its 32 teams recognize August as USA Football Month, saluting USA Football as the sport’s leader in coaching education and player development on high school and youth levels.
USA Football Month is celebrated throughout the NFL preseason. USA Football’s Heads Up Football® program, endorsed by experts in medicine, child advocacy and athletes, continues to establish important standards rooted in the best available science. The program is credited for improving how coaches are trained, players are taught, parents are informed and safety is addressed.
In its 2014 study examining player health and safety in organized youth tackle football, the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention found that leagues that participate in Heads Up Football, have certified coaches and adopt contact restrictions in practice have 76% fewer injuries, 34% fewer concussions in practices and 29% fewer concussions in games than leagues that don’t participate in the program.
Approximately 6,500 youth football leagues and more than 1,100 high schools in all 50 states, representing more than 1 million players, have adopted Heads Up Football for the 2015 season. The USA Football program incorporates in-person training with USA Football’s coaching education courses. More information about USA Football can be found at www.usafootball.com.
Fans will see, hear and learn about USA Football Month in the NFL through a number of ways, including:
- Heads Up Football helmet stickers worn by all NFL players throughout the preseason
- Heads Up Football-branded on-field stencils and end-zone banners in NFL stadiums
- NFL teams donating more than 60,000 preseason game tickets to players in leagues that are registered for Heads Up Football
- Heads Up Football clinics hosted by NFL teams at training camps
- USA Football messages promoting better and safer play during national preseason telecasts
- Youth football scrimmages in NFL stadiums during halftime of preseason games
- USA Football-branded in-stadium scoreboard video messages
- “Play Football” PSAs run in-game, during broadcasts and on NFLhealthplaybook.com
- NFL team-customized USA Football Month digital banner displays on teams’ websites
- USA Football Month messages in NFL teams’ game programs
Seventy-percent of all youth tackle football leagues nationwide participate in Heads Up Football and put its medically endorsed standards into practice. Football is the No. 1 participation sport of high school boys, with an additional 6,607 boys participating in 2013-2014, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Football has remained the most popular sport of high school boys since 1969 when the NFHS began tracking such figures. Football is the only sport played by high school boys to have ever drawn more than 1 million student-athletes and has remained above 1 million players since the 1998-99 school year.
“Education is a powerful catalyst to change for the better how young athletes are taught and how safety is addressed,” said USA Football CEO and Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. “Our work is based in the best available science and guided by leaders across medicine and sport for the good of youth and high school players who love the fun of football and benefit from their experience. We are proud of our partnership with the NFL and we value the continued support of the league and its teams.”
“Just as NFL players are in training camp now, so too are youth and high school football players getting ready for their seasons,” said NFL Director of Youth & High School Football ROMAN OBEN. “Whether youth are playing tackle football in a Heads Up Football league or playing NFL FLAG, we look forward to working with our teams and USA Football to celebrate all of youth football – the players, the coaches, the parents and the communities which support thousands of youth football leagues throughout the country.”
Among the leaders across medicine and sport who support USA Football’s Heads Up Football program include:
|· Amateur Athletic Union||· Korey Stringer Institute at the U. of Conn.||· Nat’l Interscholastic Athletic Admin. Assoc.|
|· American College of Sports Medicine||· Md. Public Secondary Schools Ath. Assoc.||· National Parent Teacher Assoc. (PTA)|
|· American Football Coaches Association||· Maxwell Football Club||· National Police Athletic League|
|· American Medical Society for Sports Med.||· Michigan H.S. Football Coaches Assoc.||· North Carolina Coaches Association|
|· Arizona Interscholastic Association||· Minnesota Football Coaches Assoc.||· Northern Va. Football Coaches Assoc.|
|· Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)||· National Association of Sports Officials||· Oregon School Activities Association|
|· Big 12 Conference||· National Athletic Trainers Association||· Pac-12 Conference|
|· Big Ten Conference||· NATA Research & Ed. Foundation||· Pop Warner Little Scholars|
|· Boys and Girls Clubs of America||· National Fed. of State High School Assoc.||· Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society|
|· Conference USA||· National Football League||· Southeastern Conference (SEC)|
|· ESPN||· NFL Alumni Association||· Sport Safety International|
|· Indiana Football Coaches Association||· NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee||· Sports & Fitness Industry Association|
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 positive experiences through athletics. Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter @USAFootball.
Press Release courtesy of NFL Media & NFL Communications