Head’s Up program beneficial

Published 6:00 am Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) has recently endorsed USA Football’s Heads Up Football program on behalf of all the state’s student-athletes to help prevent concussions and other injuries to athletes.

MHSAA is the 12th high school athletic association in the country to endorse the USA Football program, which is designed to prevent injuries to all high school athletes. For the 2016 football season, the MHSAA is recommending that all 250-football teams in the state utilize the Heads Up Football program. Leaders in medicine, child advocacy and many college and NFL coaches, have endorsed this program.

Between 2005 and 2014, 97 high school football players died indirectly from the sport, which includes concussions, and heart-related issues to heat stroke and water intoxication. High school football players are nearly twice as likely to have a concussion as college players. Concussion protocol on all athletes has helped as athletes are held out of any physical contact while recovering.

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USA Football’s Heads Up program includes the following:

•Coaching Education-High school coaches complete an online course that covers football fundamentals and all sport topics of concussion recognition and response, sudden cardiac arrest protocols and hydration and heat preparedness.

• Concussion Recognition and Response: Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion related protocols at the start of the season.

• Equipment Fitting: Coaches, parents, and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

• Heads Up Blocking and Tackling: Drills are taught to reinforce tackling and blocking mechanics, teaching players how to perform these basic football skills with a focus on reducing helmet contact.

• Heat and hydration: Coaches, parents and players learn heat and hydration safety measures. With the heat we have in the summer in Lafayette County when teams are practicing, we all know how important this component is.

• Player Safety Coach: Each high school that is a member of this program appoints an individual that makes sure that High School Heads Up Football principles and protocols are properly taught and applied with a program.

It is good to know that the MHSAA is concerned with all of our high school athletes’ safety. Our student athletes from Lafayette and Oxford will be in better hands now.