Heads Up Football® is a comprehensive program developed by USA Football to advance player safety in the game of football.

Key Features

  • Player Safety Coach ( PSC )
  • Coaching Certification

Education Components

  • Concussion Recognition & Response
  • Heat Preparedness & Hydration
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest
  • Proper Equipment Fitting
  • Heads Up Tackling®
  • Heads Up Blocking®

Player Safety Coach

These individuals are responsible for ensuring their organizations’ compliance with core Heads Up Football® health and safety protocols, including coaching certification and conducting safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.


The sport’s only nationally accredited courses with content created from football experts and health professionals. Coaches with valid USA Football certification become eligible for coaching insurance benefits.

"The content here is good for teaching coaches at all levels ... I recommend to parents that before I let my youngsters play, their coach must be certified by USA Football's Coaching Certification program."

Tom Coughlin, Head Coach, New York Giants


Education is the first step to help protect players from concussion.

Resources developed by the CDC help coaches and parents become educated on what to look for on the field and encourage attention to concussion symptoms.

Topics include:

  • What is a concussion?
  • Signs and symptoms of a concussion
  • What to do when a concussion occurs


Heads Up Football® strengthens its commitment to player safety by adding a heat and hydration training curriculum – with assistance from the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Targeted education for coaches and parents increases the emphasis on prevention, recognition and basic treatment of athletes. Best practices reinforce heat and hydration-related safety at all levels.

  • Defining the injury and prevention strategies
  • On-field and off-field messaging to players
  • Action plan for dealing with symptomatic athletes


Heads Up Football® provides instruction on how to have plans and procedures in place to quickly react in the case of cardiac events, the No. 1 cause of death for children and teens during exercise.


Learn how to properly fit helmets and shoulder pads. Improperly fitted equipment can place an athlete at greater risk for injury.

"To me, coaching certification is critically important, and what USA Football is doing is really great. It’s brilliant. It’s what we should be doing. Let’s give them a place to go where they can learn the game, and parents can have the confidence that my coach has been certified."

John Harbaugh, Head Coach, Baltimore Ravens

Heads up Tackling®

USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling® is a step-by-step protocol to teach the core principles of the skill and sets a new standard in player safety. The program utilizes five fundamentals through a series of drills to reinforce proper tackling mechanics and teach players how to properly tackle with a focus on reducing helmet contact.

  • Breakdown


  • Buzz


  • Hit


  • Shoot


  • Rip



USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking® helps coaches teach players how to properly engage with a defender, drive with the legs and maintain the correct body position for effective and safer play.

  • Breakdown


  • Shoot

    Get Off

  • Hit


  • Rip


  • Buzz


Heads Up Football® Is SUPPORTED BY:

  • NFL
  • NCAA
  • NFHS
  • AFCA
  • NIAA
  • SFIA
  • ESPA
  • ACC
  • BIG
  • Pop Warner
  • E USA
  • PAC12
  • SEC
  • College Football Playoff
  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • American Medical Society For Sports Medicine
  • Korey Stringer Institute
  • NATA
  • Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society
  • National Association of Sports Officials
  • PTA
  • NFL Alumni
  • POP Warner
  • UYFL
  • Maxwell Football Club
  • MaxPreps

Get More Information

*All fields are required
Call 1-877-5-FOOTBALL ( 1-877-536-6822 )


Let your league organizer know you want your coaches to be USA Football-certified


  • John Fox

    I think you guys have covered every key step in tackling fundamentals. So much of the problem is the launching with the head down, and you guys are addressing that in this technique. Keeping the head up and using terminology that doesn’t encourage using the head is important.

    John Fox, Head Coach
    Chicago Bears

  • Urban Meyer

    My son plays youth football, and the No. 1 thing we taught him is safety. I think Heads Up Football is tremendous. It’s a critical part of our game. It’s something we take very serious as college coaches, and I obviously take very serious as a dad of a child playing football.

    Urban Meyer, Head Coach
    Ohio State (Big Ten)

  • Jerry Reese

    When I know that my son is coached by qualified coaches who’ve been certified to teach tackling and teach the fundamentals of football, that makes me rest easy.

    Jerry Reese, General Manager
    New York Giants

  • Andy Reid

    This is a technique sport, and the technique they’re teaching at USA Football is huge... I can tell you everything my youth coach taught me to this day, so it’s so important that our youth coaches teach the right things, teach the proper fundamentals.

    Andy Reid, Head Coach
    Kansas City Chiefs

  • David Shaw

    The biggest thing for me, the impact of USA Football on the youth level, is allowing parents to say, 'You know what? My children are being taught by someone who knows what they are doing.' The coach has been certified. He knows how to teach the game, so the kids can play the game the right way – a safer way.

    David Shaw, Head Coach
    Stanford (Pac-12)

  • Bill Snyder

    USA Football is a wonderful avenue to help young people understand so many things, particularly the fundamentals of the game as it relates to staying healthy. For youth coaches to be able to go through USA Football certification is really significant and important. It’s a great asset to them and, obviously, a great asset to the families of young people who play the game.

    Bill Snyder, Head Coach
    Kansas State (Big XII)


What it's all about

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