Thanks to $40,000 donated by the Indianapolis Colts, USA Football’s Heads Up Football safety program will be offered to all Indiana high school football coaches in 2015.
The Colts’ financial assistance marks the first time an NFL team has offered to pay for coaches’ training at every football-playing high school in an entire state. In addition, the Colts will present 10 high school and youth football teams each with a $1,000 Jim Irsay Equipment Grant.
“Supporting youth and high school football is one of the integral parts of our team’s mission,” Colts vice chair and owner Kalen Irsay said in a statement. “As we work to make the game safer at all levels, we are excited to partner with USA Football, the [Indiana High School Athletic Association] and the Indiana Football Coaches Association on this effort to provide Heads Up Football training to Indiana high school coaches.”
Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football executive director, said, “This strong act of generosity and leadership shown by the Colts, the IHSAA and the IFCA is being noticed throughout the country’s high school football community.”
The emphasis for Heads Up Football among Indiana’s 327 high schools with football programs has earned the support of the IHSAA and the Indiana Football Coaches Association.
Heads Up Football is used by more than 750 high schools and approximately 5,500 youth leagues nationwide. The USA Football program is endorsed by more than two dozen leaders across medicine and sport, including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the National Federation of State High School Associations, college football’s five largest conferences, and the NFL, according to officials for Indianapolis-based USA Football.
Through Heads Up Football, USA Football provides online education and in-person training covering tackling mechanics that aim to reduce helmet contact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration protocols from the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, and proper equipment fitting.