The Healdsburg Bulldogs Youth Football and Cheer based in Healdsburg, Ca, is committed to ensuring a positive youth football experience and advancing player safety this fall by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches through USA Football’s Heads Up Football program.
USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. Healdsburg Bulldogs is comprised of more than 120 players and 20 coaches.
Every Healdsburg Bulldogs Football coach will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All Healdsburg Bulldogs head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact.
Through Heads Up Football, a Player Safety Coach/Player Safety Coaches (Joe Collins) has been trained by USA Football to implement, evaluate and monitor all Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization. Player Safety Coaches work with league commissioners, coaches, parents and players throughout the season to provide on-site clinics and mentoring to ensure that coaching and player safety best practices are used.
"Heads Up Football promotes a safer, better game," USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. "We are proud to have Healdsburg Bulldogs Youth Football and Cheer join us in leading America’s youth football community through Heads Up Football, helping to set the highest standards of player safety and coaching education in any youth sport."
Adopted in 2013 by Healdsburg Bulldogs and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires four primary elements:
All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game’s fundamentals by completing USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
Concussion recognition and response
Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a league-wide clinic and have them reinforced throughout the season.
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.
Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique was developed with contributions from USA Football’s Tackle Advisory Committee, which includes Northwestern head coach PAT FITZGERALD, UCLA head coach JIM MORA, former NFL running back MERRIL HOGE, Miami Christopher Columbus High School head coach CHRIS MERRITT and sports psychologist DR. DAVID YUKELSON.
- USA Football Heads Up Program - http://usafootball.com/headsup
- Heads Up Football Game Plan & Tackling Guide (pdf)
- YouTube Video about Heads Up Football