Feb 19, 2015
Coach Training is Key

A new study has found that youth football players whose coaches have been trained by USA Football’s Heads-Up program are less likely to suffer a concussion than those whose coaches were not.

According to an Associated Press article that appeared in the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

  • Researchers at Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention in Indianapolis collected data on more than 2,000 football players aged 5 to 15 in 10 leagues across four states last fall.
  • Players in Heads-Up leagues were 34 percent less likely to suffer a concussion in practice and 29 percent less likely to have one in a game.
  • Players in Heads-Up leagues also were 76 percent less likely to be injured overall and 57 percent less likely to sustain an injury that would keep them out longer than a day.
  • Seventy two players in the study had their helmets fitted with devices that measured the impact of hits. Those in Heads-Up leagues suffered an average of 2.5 fewer impacts of 10 G-forces in each practice.

Dr. Tom Dompier, Datalys President and the study’s chief researcher, said the findings illustrate that educating coaches in teaching proper tackling is critical:

“In my own mind, I think coach education is important, and I think the data collected shows that it’s important. I don’t want to promote USA Football over someone else’s program. But I think it’s important coaches receive some training in proper tackling and equipment fitting.”

He also added that he’d want his son to play in a Heads-Up league:

“My son is 6 and he played (flag) football last year and probably will this year. If he does play tackle football next year, it will be under two conditions. One is whether we can find equipment that fits and the second condition is that the league will have to go through Heads-Up Football,” Dompier told The Associated Press.

The full text of the study, which was commissioned by USA Football, is not yet available.

Read the full article here.

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