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Pop Warner is committed to ensuring a positive youth football experience and advancing player safety this fall by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches through USA Football’s Heads Up Football program.

USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. Pop Warner includes teams in 42 states.  The Chicagoland group is comprised of over 20 teams throughout the suburbs.

Every Pop Warner coach will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All Pop Warner head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact.

Through Heads Up Football, a Player Safety Coach/Player Safety Coaches will be trained by USA Football to implement, evaluate and monitor all Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization. Player Safety Coaches work with league commissioners, coaches, parents and players throughout the season to provide on-site clinics and mentoring to ensure that coaching and player safety best practices are used.

“Heads Up Football promotes a safer, better game,” USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. “We are proud to have Pop Warner join us in leading America’s youth football community through Heads Up Football, helping to set the highest standards of player safety and coaching education in any youth sport.”
Adopted in 2013 by Pop Warner and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires four primary elements:

Coaching education
All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game’s fundamentals by completing USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
Concussion recognition and response

Concussion recognition
and response
  • Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
  • Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a league-wide clinic and have them reinforced throughout the season.

Tackling technique
USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact.

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

Hampshire Football Philosophy