The professional organization for NFL athletic trainers has endorsed USA Football's Heads Up Football program, which teaches kids safe tackling technique.

The Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society on Thursday announced its plan to partner with USA Football in an effort to prevent concussions in youth football.

"Athlete safety is advanced through education, and that is the heart of USA Football’s Heads Up Football program,” society President John Norwig said in a statement. "Education converts awareness into action. This program is establishing needed standards and behavior modification built upon the best medical science and research.

"Young athletes deserve this level of commitment. We are proud to endorse it."


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USA Football's Heads Up Football program calls for coaches to be taught how to recognize concussion symptoms, teach proper tackling technique and ensure players' helmets and shoulder pads fit properly. A USA Football player safety coach helps programs implement the Heads Up protocols.

Nearly 2,800 youth football leagues have registered for Heads Up Football this year. A pilot program is being tried in 35 high schools across 10 states, including Landon in Bethesda.

The American College of Sports Medicine and the National Athletic Trainers Association previously endorsed the Heads Up program, as did more than two dozen other medical and sports organizations.

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