Jul 28, 2016Is Heads Up Effective?
Youth football programs have struggled to maintain enrollment levels due to concerns about safety. As a way of assuaging fears, the National Football League funds and promotes Heads Up Football, a program that teaches tackling drills and safety procedures to coaches.
According to an article from the New York Times, Heads Up Football has been promoted as an effective way of increasing safety for football players. Introduced by U.S.A. Football in 2013, Heads Up Football’s requirements include a clinic for one coach per team—the team’s other coaches take online courses—to learn about proper hydration, blocking and tackling, concussion recognition and response, and other safety topics.
Heads Up Football has been reported as an effective way of improving player safety in youth football, with the NFL and U.S.A. Football saying it has reduced concussions by about 30 percent. However, an independent study published in July 2015 showed a lack of statistically significant effect on injuries and concussions resulting from Heads Up Football.
“Everybody who is involved in trying to improve the safety of youth sports, when parents such as myself are so desperate to have effective solutions, has the responsibility to make sure that any information that they are putting out to the public is accurate, is comprehensive, and is based on legitimate science,” Elliot F. Kaye, chairman of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, who has worked with U.S.A. Football and the NFL on improving helmet safety told the New York Times. “It does not appear that this met that standard.”