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OHSAA endorses USA Football's Heads Up program

Published: August 26, 2016 10:00 AM

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has endorsed USA Football's Heads Up Football High School program for the betterment of the state's football-playing student-athletes. Including the OHSAA, a total of 30 state high school athletic associations and coaches associations spanning 24 states support the USA Football program.

In preparation for the 2016 football season, the OHSAA recommends that each of the state's 720 football-playing high schools enroll in the USA Football program, which is supported by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, among other leading associations spanning medicine and sport.

Created and administered by independent non-profit USA Football, Heads Up Football High School establishes important standards rooted in the best available science. More than 1,100 high schools nationwide registered for the program in 2015.

"The OHSAA is committed to partnering with organizations that enhance student-athlete safety throughout the state of Ohio," said OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Beau Rugg. "The education gained through USA Football's Heads Up Football High School program will improve the overall quality and safety of play while keeping the same fun, competitive atmosphere for which Ohio high school football is known. We are excited to begin."

The Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns each support the OHSAA's endorsement of USA Football's Heads Up Football High School program.

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Heads Up Football High School is a comprehensive approach to teach and play the sport. The program teaches tackling and blocking techniques designed to reduce helmet contact and improve skill development and all-sport-relevant topics including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response; sudden cardiac arrest protocols; hydration and heat preparedness; and instruction on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

Schools participating in the USA Football program are to designate a Player Safety Coach (PSC) from their football coaching staffs. PSCs are trained to guide, direct and monitor the program's implementation as well as lead in-person training for fellow coaches, parents and players. PSCs have access to USA Football clinics throughout the offseason to learn Heads Up Football protocols and techniques. Coaches within high schools enrolled in the program gain training through USA Football's Heads Up Football High School Coach Certification, which was developed in partnership with National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Education Components of Heads Up Football High School:

/ Concussion Recognition and Response

/ Heat Preparedness and Hydration

/ Sudden Cardiac Arrest

/ Proper Equipment Fitting

/ Shoulder Tackling

/ Heads Up Blocking

"This endorsement by the Ohio High School Athletic Association sends a positive message and unifies leaders in football across Ohio through a shared commitment to its young athletes," said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. "We are proud to partner with the OHSAA for the good of its member schools' football-playing student-athletes."

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