Detroit Lions Heads Up Football Health and Safety Reminders
With the football season in full swing at all levels from youth to the pros, it is important to note that all individuals involved with a football player’s participation in the game (coaches, parents, teammates) can help make the experience for that individual a better and safer experience.
Coaches should be well versed in the latest football techniques, practice organization, game planning and the understanding of child development.
But how can parents and even your child’s teammates help provide a better and safer experience? The key is education.
USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, has created an initiative called Heads Up Football, a comprehensive collection of resources, programs, applications and promotions to create change and address the complex challenges of player health and safety in youth and high school football.
Heads Up Football focuses on educating coaches, parents and parents on player health and safety issues including:
- Concussion Recognition and Response: Education is the first step and help protect players from concussion. Resources developed by the CDC help coaches and parents become educated on what to look for on the field and encourage attention to concussion symptoms
- Heat Preparedness and Hydration: Targeted education for coaches and parents increases the emphasis on prevention, recognition, and basic treatment of athletes. Best practices reinforce heat and hydration related safety at all levels.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest: It’s important for teams to have plans and procedures in place to quickly react in the case of cardiac events, the No. 1 cause of death for children and teens taking part in athletics.
- Proper Equipment Fitting: Improperly fitted equipment can place an athlete at greater risk for injury. USA Football has resources on how to properly fit helmets and shoulder pads.
- Heads Up Tackling and Blocking: Fundamental drills reinforce proper tackling and blocking mechanics, teaching players how to perform these basic football skills with a focus on reducing helmet contact.
Parents, find out if your child’s football organization is Heads Up Football certified. If they aren’t, ask “why not?” Ask what they are doing in terms of player health and safety and make sure that organization places top priority on player health and safety.
Even if your child doesn’t play football, player health and safety should be a top priority. Educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of concussions, the importance of staying hydrated, and how to handle a cardiac situation can only benefit those involved in sport.
Get involved, become educated, and make playing sports fun while providing a better and safer experience for all who participate.
About the author: Chris Fritzsching is Director of Football Education for The Detroit Lions. Click here to learn more.
Editor’s Note: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a proud sponsor of the Detroit Lions.
This blog is part of BCBSM’s #MIKidsCan Catch campaign aimed at celebrating the moments inspired by the game of football. Share your football photos on Instagram using #MIKidsCan and #Contest for a chance to score autographed gear, jerseys, game tickets and more. For more information and official rules visit ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan.
Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan (main), Detroit Lions (Coach Chris)
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