FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s youth football players will be among the first in the country to try out a new program designed to cut down on concussions in the sport.
Fairfield Junior Football, which oversees the Fairfield Giants youth teams, was chosen to pilot USA Football’s Heads Up Program to reduce the risk of serious head injuries on the field.
“To be selected by USA Football for participation in the Heads Up Football pilot program speaks volumes about the Fairfield Giants Program and our mission for safe play," Fairfield Junior Football president Mark Innaimo said in a statement. "I believe the Heads Up Training coupled with our brand new, latest technology helmets, rates us Grade A in Fairfield County and in the New England Region when it comes to player safety."
As part of the program, the Giants coaches will receive special training this summer with USA Football. Part of the training includes lessons on concussion recognition and response from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so coaches will know how to identify the warning signs of serious injuries.
Coaches will also share that information with parents before the season begins. They will also be trained in proper pad and helmet fitting to make sure that safety equipment works as well as possible.
The pilot program will also focus on teaching kids USA Football’s new “Heads-Up” tackling technique. The system was developed by working with doctors and coaches from the NCAA and the NFL.
The program teaches players to go after opponents with their eyes on their opponent, leading with their chests instead of their shoulders or heads. The move is designed to keep the crown of the helmet out of the line of the tackle to cut down on direct contact to the head and limit concussions.
“Heads Up Football promotes a safer, better game,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said in a press release. “We are proud to have the Fairfield Giants 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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