The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association on Tuesday endorsed USA Football's Heads Up Football safety program.

The association, which includes public high schools from Maryland's 24 school districts, is the first state high school sports assocation to endorse the program.

A press conference to formally announce the endorsement is planned for Monday at the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore.

Maryland had already been active in the program. Landon School in Bethesda participated in a Heads Up Football pilot program last year along with 34 other high schools across 10 states.


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Calvert Hall football coach Donald Davis and 20 other coaches and former players participated this month in a USA Football safety workshop. Instructors at the two-day program taught participants about concussion recognition and response, heat and hydration protocols, proper equipment fitting and Heads Up tackling techniques.

The workshop certified participants to instruct youth leagues around the region and teach high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches.

Nearly 2,800 youth football leagues registered for Heads Up Football in 2013. Youth leagues and high schools in every state can participate in the program this year.

Other organizations that support the program include the American College of SportsMedicine, National Athletic Trainers Association, Korey Stringer Institute, the NFL and the Big Ten Conference.

Critics of the Heads Up Football program have called it a marketing ploy to attract greater youth football participation in the wake of increased concussion and traumatic brain injury awareness.

apyles@baltsun.com

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