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GCPFL and Seminoles Football are members of the USA Football Heads Up Program.

The program is focused on youth and high school football. It includes a comprehensive collection of resources, programs, applications to address the player health and safety issues in the game.

There are five tenets of Heads Up Football:

  • Education and certification: In order to make the game safer, USA Football has created an education and certification process for youth football. This helps for consistent teaching and terminology.

After completing an age-based course, coaches will earn certification, receive a certificate, appear on theUSA Football National Coaching Registry and become eligible for coaching insurance benefits.

  • Equipment fitting: Not every player is alike and that means each piece of equipment will not fit the same. The Heads Up Football program shows not only players, but parents how to make sure a helmets and shoulder pads fit properly. That includes sitting the player out in case the helmet is an improper fit and there is no certified alternative.

It is essential that every player has a properly fitted helmet and shoulder pads. League administrators, coaches and parents should be able to recognize equipment that fits properly and check the fit of equipment throughout the season. Improperly fitted equipment can place an athlete at greater risk for injury.

  • Concussion awareness: This aspect teaches players how to handle head injuries and coaches what to do if they think a player has sustained a head injury. It provides a protocol of what to expect, what to tell a doctor and what do to in the process of return-to-play.

Coaches and parents should know what to look for on the field and encourage attention to concussion symptoms.

  • Heads Up Tackling: This is a process that teaches a safer way to tackle without using the head — and provides another way to avoid head injuries.

USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contacts.

  • Heat and hydration: USA Football has worked with the Korey Stringer Institute, a premier research group for hydration among athletes, to create best practices for keeping players hydrated before, during and after practices and games.

For more information about Heads Up Football visit www.usafootball.com