‘HEADS UP’ was launched with help from the CDC, where information about concussion protocols and player health and safety can be easily reached by parents and coaches.

“The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC’s) developed the “Heads Up concussion in Youth Sports.” It helps youth coaches, players, and parents be more aware of a concussion. Heads up provides important information on preventing, recognizing and responding to a concussion. 63% of youth coaches viewed concussions being more serious, 72% said they are educating others about concussions, and 50% had learned something new.[92]

“According to the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), kids who begin playing football before the age of twelve are at a greater risk of depression, behavioral regulation, apathy, and executive functioning. Michael Alosco, PhD lead author for the (BUSM) states, “This study adds to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts through tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences”.[93]

‘HEADS UP’ to Youth Sports

“To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the ‘HEADS UP’ Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports.

“The ‘HEADS UP’ initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

“Get prepared for the new season. ‘HEADS UP’ Concussion in Youth Sports is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others helping to keep athletes safe from concussion.

URL Link:  https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/index.html

URL Link: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/index.html

“To mitigate the public relations (PR) nightmare, the NFL (National Football League)  has taken several steps to better assure player safety and bring awareness to head injuries in football players of all ages. Several rule changes took place between 2007 and 2014.

“NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo in December 2009 to all 32 teams stating that a player who sustains a concussion cannot return to play if he shows signs or symptoms, such as inability to remember assignments or plays, a gap in memory and persistent dizziness. This move changed the 2007 rule saying a player cannot return only if he has lost consciousness.[42] 

“Additionally, new rules regarding “crown of the helmet” tackles have been installed where a runner or a tackler cannot initiate forcible contact with the crown of the helmet outside the tackle box so as to protect players’ heads.[43] 

“Lastly, the NFL and USA Football launched the Heads Up Football initiative, which “emphasizes a smarter and safer way to play and teach youth football, including proper tackling and taking the head out of the game.”[44] 

“The PR issues surrounding the NFL’s cover-up of concussions are far from over, and it is too early to tell how and to what extent these events will impact the NFL or football playing. Robert Boland, professor of sports management at New York University and former college football player says, “In the short-run, [the NFL] is still thriving,” but downward trends in youth football players shows that future generations “might have less of an intimate attachment to the sport.”[45] 

Boland says this in light of Pop Warner football enrollment dropping by 9.5 percent between 2010 and 2012, likely linked to the high-profile concussion problem.[45]

92. Covassin, Elbin, Sarmiento., Tracey, R J, Kelly (May 2012). “Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” Initiative”. The Journal of School Health82 (5): 233–8. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00692.xPMID 22494094.

93. “Study suggests link between youth football & later-life emotional, behavioral impairment”EurekAlert!. September 19, 2017.

42.  NFL “Goodell issues memo changing return-to-play rules for concussions.

43. “Smith, Michael David. “NFL officiating video stresses new “crown of the helmet” rule.” NBC Sports. 

44. NFL “NFL celebrates USA Football Month with launch of USA Football’s Heads Up Football initiative.”

45. Drummond, Katie. “Can the NFL survive its concussion crisis?.” The Verge.

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