USA Football’s commitment to youth and high school football is to foster an environment for participants through education, training and certification. We are dedicated to the best possible experience for all who take the field.

Heads Up Football continues to bridge the gap between youth and high school football safety. Since its creation in 2012, we have seen significant progress.



Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools:

  • Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools, the 10th largest school district in the country, has employed Heads Up Football since 2013. In this time, the district has reported a 43.3 percent decline in concussions among its 3,000 football-playing student-athletes. During this same time span with all 25 of its high school programs enrolled in Heads Up Football, overall football injuries have declined 23.9 percent.
  • Data was collected by Fairfax County Public Schools’ athletic trainers.

FCPS Bill Curran Director of Student Activities and Athletics said: “The data clearly show that our student athletes are benefitting from this partnership with USA Football and that FCPS is seeing significant returns. Players are spending more time on the field and in the classroom as we have seen the number of concussions and total injuries drop during this three-year period”

South Bend (Ind.) Community School Corporation

High schools within the South Bend (Ind.) Community School Corporation, with approximately 1,000 football-playing student-athletes, reported concussions from football declined by 40 percent from 2014 to 2015, the first year that the school system implemented Heads Up Football district-wide.

In 2014, there were 53 concussions treated during the football season. In 2015, that number was reduced to 32. Concussion data was recorded by the high schools’ athletic trainers.

SBCSC Athletic Director Kirby Whitacre stated: “While it may not be possible to quantify with data just how important Heads Up Football has been to our programs, it would be safe to say that it is the single biggest component of our multi-point approach. The coaches’ education, the safety coach instruction, and, of course, the techniques protocol for tackling and blocking have given us a consistent approach to reducing injuries. I think it is fair to say that USA Football’s Heads Up Football program has been invaluable to us and we are so happy to have had the opportunity to become a part of the program.”

*Heads Up Football Case Studies and the research within is not conducted by USA Football, and have not yet been peer-reviewed and published.


Sports and Fitness Industry Association

Among U.S. children age 6-14, 2.169 million played tackle football in 2015, up 1.9 percent from 2014 (2.128 million). Flag football participation among the same age group totaled 1.669 million in 2015, up 8.7 percent from 2014 (1.535 million).

In the 15-18 year old age group, 1.248 million U.S. children played tackle football in 2015, up 2.5 percent from 2014 (1.218 million). Flag football participation among this age group totaled 548,000 in 2015, up 10.5 percent from 2014 (496,000).

“You’re seeing greater physical literacy in better youth football programs – programs that embrace coaching education and teach the sport smarter and safer,” Sports & Fitness Industry Association President and CEO TOM COVE said. “In football and other sports, it will be interesting to learn if participation keeps rising as player safety continues to increase and the trend of higher standards in coaching education becomes the norm.”