Sixty (60) youth football leagues in the San Francisco area have committed to the future of youth football by adopting a new USA Football program dedicated to making the game better and safer. The Heads Up Football program ensures a positive youth football experience and advances player safety by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches.
USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL, the 49ers and the league’s other 31 teams. These youth leagues are among more than 900 youth football organizations that will incorporate Heads Up Football into its 2013 season.
Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will work alongside select leagues throughout the 2013 season as an NFL Ambassador. Brown played 1990-96 in San Francisco, compiling 24½ career sacks.
More than 70 NFL alumni will work alongside select leagues throughout the 2013 season as NFL Ambassadors. Other former 49ers serving as NFL Ambassadors include Bryan Gilmore (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Antonio Goss (Greenville, S.C.).
Participating league coaches will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact.
Parents can help ensure their youth football players are participating in a better and safer brand of football, by visiting http://www.USAFootball.com, where they can enroll their league to be a Heads Up Football league and ensure that their coach is certified.
“The 49ers are proud to endorse Heads Up Football as part of our continued efforts to promote a safer, more enjoyable game for today’s youth,” 49ers Youth Football Manager Jared Muela said. “Giving youth coaches the proper training needed to teach tackling appropriately, is a critical step in ensuring kids have the best possible experience playing football.”
“The health and safety of every youth player is USA Football’s No. 1 priority,” USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. “These Bay Area leagues show exceptional dedication to their players, parents and coaches, and we are proud to have them be part of Heads Up Football. Each of them is committed to the highest standards of player safety and coaching education in all of youth sports.”
Through Heads Up Football, each league will nominate a Player Safety Coaches to be trained by USA Football. Player Safety Coaches will evaluate and monitor Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization as well as work with league commissioners, coaches, parents and players throughout the season to USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique was developed with contributions from USA Football’s Tackle Advisory Committee, which includes Northwestern head coach PAT FITZGERALD, UCLA head coach JIM MORA, former NFL running back MERRIL HOGE, Miami Christopher Columbus High School head coach CHRIS MERRITT and sports psychologist DR. DAVID YUKELSON.
Learn more about Heads Up football at: http://www.usafootball.com.
About USA Football: USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, leads the game’s development, inspires participation and ensures a better and safer experience for all youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions and awards more than $1 million annually in equipment grants and youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002, USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.
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