BIG TEN CONFERENCE PARTNERS WITH USA FOOTBALL
August 19, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
The Big Ten Conference announced today a partnership with USA Football to advance
player safety through USA Football's Heads Up FootballSM program.
Nearly 2,800 youth and high school football programs across the United States
representing 600,000 players and 90,000 coaches have committed to the health and
safety of their players by adopting Heads Up Football, a new program dedicated to
making the game better and safer. Heads Up Football provides coaching education and
teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches while teaching tackling
techniques that take the head out of the game.
Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport's national governing body, leading the
sport's development for youth, high school and other amateur athletes.
The Big Ten and USA Football will produce public service announcements featuring
each of the conference's head football coaches to voice the importance of Heads Up
Football participation. Video messages will appear throughout the 2013 football on
BTN, stadium video boards, conference and member institutions' athletic web sites
USA Football's five primary elements of Heads Up Football:
Heads Up TacklingSM
* USA Football's Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football
experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact.
* All coaches complete USA Football's Level 1 Coaching Certification course
(youth football) or USA Football's varsity-level coach training course (high school
Concussion recognition and response
* Coaches learn and are assessed on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols.
* Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the
start of the season and have them reinforced throughout the year.
Player Safety Coach
* Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football high school or youth
program. This individual is trained by USA Football to implement Heads Up Football's
player safety protocols, including coaching certification, and conducts safety
clinics for fellow coaches, parents and players.
* Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
The Big Ten is recognized as a leader in college student-athlete safety as well as
concussion research. The conference recently hosted the Big Ten-Ivy League Head
Injury Summit on July 18-19 to engage in collaborative discussions and to refine the
strategic priorities of the conferences' unprecedented research initiative that was
announced in June 2012.
"We are pleased to support USA Football and its Heads Up Football program," Big Ten
Commissioner JIM DELANY said. "It is extremely important to promote the proper
instruction of tackling at all levels to ensure the well-being of young athletes as
well as our student-athletes - nothing is more important than their health. Heads Up
Football reflects the innovation that is woven into football's heritage by changing
for the better how our game is played and taught."
"The health and safety of every young football player is our No. 1 priority and the
Big Ten Conference shares in that commitment by supporting our Heads Up Football
program," USA Football executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. "Commissioner
Delany and each of the Big Ten's universities partner with us to further advance a
better and safer game for young athletes who enjoy the fun, fitness and other
rewards gained by playing this exceptional team sport. We value the Big Ten's trust
and continued leadership for the betterment of our children."
"Football is rooted in proper fundamentals and techniques - this has been the case
since its earliest days," Northwestern head coach PAT FITZGERALD said. Fitzgerald
also is a member of USA Football's Tackle Advisory Committee. "The techniques that
USA Football teaches not only make our kids better players, but safer players as
"I know that I speak for every coach in our conference when I say that we are proud
to support USA Football and our new partnership. Heads Up Football is a vital
innovation for our athletes, particularly our children who enjoy and gain from the
sport at the youth level."
For more information, visit www.BigTen.org<http://www.BigTen.org>, or