Foster High School head football coach SHAUN MCDOWELL is taking a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game on youth and high school levels nationwide.
USA Football will instruct McDowell and 23 other football experts from 16 states – including high school coaches and former NFL and college players – as USA Football Master Trainers during a workshop Mar. 29-30 in Indianapolis.
The head coach at Foster High School, McDowell brings 12 years of coaching experience. He also served as head coach at Willowridge High School and was an assistant at Cypress Creek and Bush high schools. A member of the Texas State 7-on-7 board of directors, he helped three teams reach the regional semifinals of the Texas state playoffs.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is a comprehensive approach to a better and safer game, encompassing USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response, Korey Stringer Institute-approved heat and hydration protocols, equipment fitting instruction and Heads Up Tackling techniques.
Nearly 2,800 youth leagues across the United States registered for Heads Up Football in 2013, accounting for more than 25 percent of the youth football community. In addition, 35 high schools in 10 states piloted Heads Up Football during the 2013 season. USA Football is offering its Heads Up Football program to all youth leagues and high schools in 2014.
After completing the USA Football workshop, Master Trainers will instruct youth leagues in their regions on Heads Up Football principles and teach youth league- and high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches, who will oversee their programs’ implementation of the highest national coaching standards for football. These standards include league wide completion of the Level 1 Coach Certification Course as well as conducting a Heads Up Football Coaches Clinic and a Heads Up Safety Clinic for parents and players. Player Safety Coaches monitor their leagues’ practices and games throughout the season.
“The health and safety of every youth and high school football player is our No. 1 priority,” USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. “We are proud to have this group assist us in leading America’s youth and high school football community as USA Football Master Trainers. With direction from experts in medicine and sport, we are committed to set important standards rooted in education for the benefit of our young athletes.”
Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to a better and safer game. Adopted by youth leagues on a national level in 2013, Heads Up Football stands on six primary tenets:
|Coaching education||· 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. High school coaches will gain training through USA Football’s High School Coach Certification course, developed in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations.|
|Equipment fitting||· Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.|
|Concussion recognition and response||· Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response protocols through USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.· Coaches, parents and players are taught CDC concussion-related protocols.|
|Heat and hydration||· Coaches, parents and players are taught heat and hydration safety measures set forth by the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute.|
|Heads Up Tackling||· USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, which teaches to keep the head up and reduces helmet contact for safer play.|
|Player Safety Coach||· Appointed by a participating Heads Up Football youth organization or high school, this individual ensures compliance with Heads Up Football’s player safety protocols, coach certification, and the conducting of safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.|
Organizations that support USA Football and its Heads Up Football program include the American College of Sports Medicine; National Athletic Trainers Association; Korey Stringer Institute; Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society; National PTA; National Federation of State High School Associations; Pop Warner Little Scholars; National Police Athletic League; AAU Football; Boys and Girls Clubs of America; American Football Coaches Association; Atlantic Coast Conference; the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences; the NFL and NFL Foundation; and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.
USA Football is the national governing body of the sport in the United States as well as the official youth development partner of the NFL, all 32 teams and college’s Atlantic Coast Conference. Youth tackle football is played by 2.8 million American children age 6-14. USA Football has trained more than 110,000 volunteer youth coaches to better teach the sport’s fundamentals and to address player safety with CDC protocols.