Monday, June 18 , 2018, 2:21 pm | Fair 69º


Santa Barbara Youth Football League Adopts National Heads Up Program

The Santa Barbara Youth Football League was founded in 1971 by Jim Halliburton with a mission “to provide the opportunity for youth to profit from physical, mental, moral and spiritual development using the great game of football as a catalyst.”

The SBYFL 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. The SBYFL is comprised of more than 300 players and 70 coaches, and is a chapter of the Tri-Valley Youth Football Conference. The TVYFC has six chapters located in Ojai, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Vandenberg Village, Santa Ynez and Nipomo. The SBYFL is the first to adopt the Heads Up Football Program within the TVYFC, with the hope the conference will follow suit for all chapters.

Every SBYFL coach will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All SBYFL head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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, player safety coaches will be trained by USA Football to implement, evaluate and monitor 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 the Santa Barbara Youth Football League 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.”

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The Santa Barbara Youth Football League is comprised of more than 300 players and 70 coaches, and is a chapter of the Tri-Valley Youth Football Conference. (Santa Barbara Youth Football League photo)

Adopted in 2013 by the SBYFL and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires five primary elements:

» 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.

» 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.

» Coaching education — 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.

» Equipment fitting — Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

» Player Safety Coach — Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football youth organization. This individual ensures compliance with Heads Up Football’s player safety protocols, including coaching certification and conducting safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.

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.

— Colleen Lampe represents the Santa Barbara Youth Football League.


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