(Editor’s note: The author’s wife is the social media coordinator for USA Football.)
ANDERSON — John Broughton has been passing out information on Heads Up Football to the parents of Pendleton Heights players for the past two years.
So when the Indiana Football Coaches Association and its counterpart in Minnesota on Monday became the first state associations to endorse USA Football’s groundbreaking program, it caused barely a ripple for the longtime Arabians mentor.
“We’ve been preaching that for years,” Broughton said of the system that emphasizes fundamentals and removing the head from the tackling process. “I’ve always believed that’s the proper way to tackle.”
More than 2,000 youth football programs across the nation have adopted Heads Up Football for this season, and the program has been endorsed by the NFL, the NCAA, the American Football Coaches Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations, among others.
By endorsing the program, the IFCA also endorses the following guidelines:
u Every head and assistant coach should be certified through a nationally accredited football coaching education program before stepping onto a youth or high school field.
u Every football commissioner, coach, game official, parent and player should recognize concussion signs and symptoms and know how to respond through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognition and response protocols.
u Every player should be taught tackling fundamentals that emphasize keeping the head up and out of the tackle.
u Every football coach, parent and player should know how to properly fit a helmet and shoulder pads.
“The IFCA is pleased to join with USA Football in support of its Heads Up Football program,” IFCA executive director Dave Land said in a press release. “It is extremely important to promote the proper instruction of tackling at all levels to ensure the well being of our players, which is our No. 1 priority. Heads Up Football reflects the innovation that is woven into our sport’s heritage by changing for the better how our game is played and taught.”