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Indianapolis Colts

Uniting for Indiana High School Football

The Indianapolis Colts lend support for Indiana high school coaches to enroll in USA Football's Heads Up Football Program in 2015





Colts, IHSAA, Indiana Football Coaches Association and USA Football unite for Indiana high school football

USA Football's Heads Up Football program, establishing important standards for nearly 1 million young football players in all 50 states, will be made available to Indiana high school football coaches in 2015, courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport's national governing body and leader in coaching education and player development.

The Colts' financial assistance marks the first time that an NFL team has offered to scholarship coaches at every football-playing high school within an entire state. The emphasis for Heads Up Football among Indiana's 327 high schools with football programs has earned the support of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA).

This USA Football program fulfils Indiana's state requirement for football coaching education.

The Colts' landmark commitment to Heads Up Football in Indiana is part of the team's recognition of USA Football Month across the NFL. In addition, prior to Saturday's 8 p.m. EST game against the New Orleans Saints at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts will donate more than 1,000 game tickets to local youth football organizations, present 10 high school and youth football teams each with a $1,000 Jim Irsay Equipment Grant and feature youth football scrimmages during halftime.

Heads Up Football is presently employed by more than 750 high schools and approximately 5,500 youth leagues spanning all 50 states. 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, the Colts and the NFL, among others.

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 (CDC) concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration protocols from the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut and proper equipment fitting.

USA Football's Heads Up Football program stands on six primary tenets:

Heads Up Tackling

  • USA Football's Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, which teaches to keep the head up and reduces helmet contact for safer play.

Concussion recognition and response

  • Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response protocols.

Coaching education

  • Coaches are certified through USA Football's High School Coach Certification course, developed in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Equipment fitting

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

Heat and hydration

  • Coaches, parents and players are taught heat and hydration safety measures set forth by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Player Safety Coach

  • Appointed by a high school enrolled in Heads Up Football, this member of the coaching staff ensures compliance with the program's player safety protocols, coach certification, and the conducting of safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.

"Supporting youth and high school football is one of the integral parts of our team's mission," said Colts Vice Chair/Owner KALEN IRSAY. "As we work to make the game safer at all levels, we are excited to partner with USA Football, the IHSAA and the Indiana Football Coaches Association on this effort to provide Heads Up Football training to Indiana high school coaches."

"The IHSAA applauds the Indianapolis Colts, USA Football and the Indiana Football Coaches Association for their collective efforts in providing critical instruction to Indiana football coaches which ultimately will create a safer and healthier environment for our student athletes which is our foremost consideration," IHSAA Commissioner BOBBY COX said.

"The Indiana Football Coaches Association applauds the efforts of the Indianapolis Colts in their support for USA Football and Heads Up Football," IFCA Executive Director and Indiana Football Hall of Fame coach BOB GADDIS said. Gaddis, who serves as the head coach at Columbus East High School, led the Olympians to Indiana's 4A state championship in 2013. "The IFCA is committed to implementing Heads Up Football as the foundation for safety education for our great sport in Indiana. The Colts are a great friend and supporter of the IHSAA, IFCA and high school football and we are excited to see them take it to another level."

"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," USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK said. "Through high standards and a shared commitment to our young athletes, we are seeing important changes for the better in how coaches are prepared, players are taught and safety is addressed. Thanks to the direction of Indiana's football leaders, this is precisely what continues to take place across our home state."

Some of the medical and sport backers of USA Football's Heads Up Football program include:

  • Amateur Athletic Union
  • Michigan H.S. Football Coaches Assoc.
  • National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • Minnesota Football Coaches Association
  • National Police Athletic League
  • American Football Coaches Association
  • National Association of Sports Officials
  • North Carolina Coaches Association
  • Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
  • National Athletic Trainers Association
  • Northern Va. Football Coaches Assoc.
  • Big 12 Conference
  • NATA Research & Education Foundation
  • Pac-12 Conference
  • Big Ten Conference
  • National Fed. of State High School Assoc.
  • Pop Warner Little Scholars
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • National Football League
  • Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society
  • Indiana Football Coaches Association
  • NFL Alumni Association
  • Sport Safety International
  • Korey Stringer Institute
  • NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee
  • Sports & Fitness Industry Association
  • Maxwell Football Club
  • Nat'l Interscholastic Athletic Admin. Assoc.
  • Southeastern Conference (SEC)

About USA Football: Indianapolis-based USA Football ( is the sport's national governing body, leading the game's development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football, the official youth football development partner of the Colts, the NFL and each of the league's other 31 teams, advances coaching education and player skill development for safer play and a positive football experience.

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