More than 900 youth football leagues have committed to the new Heads Up Football program, an initiative supported by the NFL and USA Football to promote a positive youth football experience for players, coaches and parents. It includes education of proper techniques and safety measures in an effort to curb concussions and other injuries.
The NFL recently announced that 77 former players, including Barry Sanders, Carl Banks and Randall Cuningham, will participate in the program as Heads Up Football ambassadors.
The 900 leagues encompass more than 200,000 youth players and 30,000 coaches in the United States.
Meghan McCaffrey, clinical assistant professor and laboratory coordinator in the department of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University, is available to comment.
“The attention being brought to educating the youth participating in football by the Heads Up program the NFL is involved with is yet another step in the right direction for attempting to decrease the morbidity of concussions and cervical spine injuries,” said McCaffrey.
“Over seven years ago, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association began the Heads Up campaign to educate coaches, players and parents on how to help prevent cervical spine injuries and head injuries by tackling with the head up and leading with the shoulder and not the head and it is great to see the NFL becoming so involved in promoting this concept. This year, the NCAA has implemented new rules and penalties for dangerous behavior on the field that results in significant injury to the head or neck. As an athletic trainer, it is my hope that the continued dedication to education, recognition and proper treatment of spine and head injuries will lead to a lower incidence for these injuries. The tragic event of a young high school football player, Deantre Turman, who died just last week from a tackling injury during practice, is a stark reminder that the importance of this campaign and having an athletic trainer on the field to properly manage these injuries cannot be understated.”
To speak to McCaffrey, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations at Quinnipiac, at 203-206-4449 (cell) or 203-582-5359 (office).