Sep 5, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer recently filmed a 30-second video message with USA Football to advance player safety through its Heads Up Football program for a better, safer game.

Meyer, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and all Big Ten head football coaches shared personal support on camera for Heads Up Football during Big Ten Football Media Days in July. Heads Up Football, created by USA Football with medical experts and football leaders on multiple levels, encompasses coach certification, safer tackling techniques, Center for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition and response protocols and proper equipment fitting.

Meyer’s 30-second message will appear throughout the 2013 football season on BTN, Ohio Stadium’s video board,, and

Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players.

Nearly 2,800 youth leagues across the United States representing approximately 600,000 players and 90,000 coaches have committed to the health and safety of their players by adopting Heads Up Football. A high school version of Heads Up Football is being piloted by 34 schools across 10 states this season with a national rollout planned for 2014.

“The health and safety of every young football player is our No. 1 priority. Coach Meyer and the Big Ten Conference share in that commitment by supporting our Heads Up Football program,” USA Football executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “We value the Big Ten’s trust and continued leadership as we deliver significant behavior change in our sport for a better, safer game.”

USA Football’s five primary elements of Heads Up Football:

Heads Up Tackling 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.
Coaching certification All coaches complete USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification course (youth football) or USA Football’s varsity-level coach training course (high school football).
Concussion recognition and response Coaches learn and are assessed on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols.Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season and have them reinforced throughout the year.
Player Safety Coach Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football high school or youth program. This individual is trained by USA Football to implement Heads Up Football’s player safety protocols, including coaching certification, and conducts safety clinics for fellow coaches, parents and players.
Equipment fitting Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

The Big Ten is recognized as a leader in college student-athlete safety as well as concussion research. The conference recently hosted the Big Ten-Ivy League Head Injury Summit on July 18-19 to engage in collaborative discussions and to refine the strategic priorities of the conferences’ unprecedented research initiative that was announced in June 2012.

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