The Oregon School Activities Association has approved a new rule that will require all high school football coaches undergo USA Football’s Heads Up tackling training before the 2016 season. Oregon is the first state to implement the program that is aimed at making the game safer.
USA Today High School Sports reports that all teams will have a designated Player Safety Coach who will be responsible for implementing the Heads Up football training program throughout the school’s entire football program.
The Heads Up program educates coaches on many aspects of safety, including concussion recognition, equipment fitting, blocking and tackling, heat exhaustion and emergency response.
Back in 2008, Oregon was the first state in the nation to prohibit a player from returning to the field if he was suspected of having a concussion.
“The committee sees this as a natural next step as we continue to look at innovative ways to minimize the risk of all football injuries, but particularly concussions,” said Dr. Michael Koester, who was the chairman of the OSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, in a news release. “This is an opportunity for high school coaches to set a standard for the youth leagues in their communities across the state. Ideally, we’ll have youth coaches getting certified as well, allowing for continuity of tackling techniques and safety protocols through an athlete’s entire playing experience.”