INDIANAPOLIS (92.3 The Fan/AP) — USA Football’s youth player safety program takes a major step this weekend with the first workshops for its Heads Up Football initiative.
The national governing body of the sport in the United States will conduct the workshops Saturday and Sunday, with 21 trainers teaching the concepts of Heads Up Football to youth league leaders across the country.
Among the youth coaches taking part will be former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Buddy Curry; Chuck Kyle, head coach at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School and John Roderique, head coach at Webb City (Mo.) High School, winner of eight state championships and formerly an assistant with NCAA Division II national champion Pittsburg State University.
“We are proud that St. Ignatius head coach Chuck Kyle will be taking a leadership role in USA Football’s Heads Up program,” Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said. “USA Football puts the safety of our kids first, and this program provides the training which instructs youth coaches how to be exceptional teachers.
“For many years, Chuck has represented everything that is good about our sport in Cleveland, the state of Ohio, and across the nation. Like the Browns, he is fully committed to raising youth football’s standards, and the Heads Up Football program accomplishes that goal.”
Kyle has been the head coach at Cleveland St. Ignatius High School for 30 years, leading his alma mater to a 301-69-1 record, including 11 state championships – the most by any school or coach in Ohio playoff history. His program has been named USA Today national champions three times, and he has twice been named national coach of the year.
A full-time English teacher and the head track coach for the past 29 seasons, Kyle was the head coach of the 2009 U.S. Under-19 National Team that won a gold medal at the IFAF Under-19 World Championship in Canton, Ohio.
Heads Up Football is a comprehensive approach to a safer game and features proper tackling techniques; education of leagues on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussion recognition and response protocols; and instruction on properly fitting helmets and shoulder pads
“Heads Up Football promotes a safer, better game,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “We are proud to have Chuck help us lead America’s youth football community as a Heads Up Football Master Trainer, helping to set the highest standards of player safety and coaching education across youth sports.”
In the program, coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a league-wide clinic, then have them reinforced throughout the season. Proper tackling without using the head is taught, as well.
The tackling technique was developed with contributions from USA Football’s Tackle Advisory Committee. Members of the committee include Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, UCLA coach Jim Mora and former NFL running back Merril Hoge.
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