At Westview Youth Football player safety is our #1 priority which is why we've teamed up the NFL's Heads Up Tackling program. Coaches are trained proper tackling technique which is taught to all WYF players at every tackle grade level.
In addition, every WYF team will have a Player Safety Coach that has been certified in Heads Up, CPR, First Aid and concussion training.
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the Heads Up program, baseline testing, the importance of sleep as well as concussion and hydration information by checking the links below.
It is our hope and goal that no player is injured in our program as we push forward with the latest safety techniques.
Heads Up Football® is a comprehensive program developed by USA Football to advance player safety in the game of football.
USA Football's FREE Parent/Player Membership
It is important for parents to play a role in their children’s football experience and well-being. USA Football’s Parent and Player Memberships are paired for parental peace of mind. Membership tools and resources enable parents to make football safer for their children and become more involved. Membership tools and resources are designed to make players better, more prepared and safer.
Download the FREE USA Football App in the App Store or Google Play. Developed with support from the NFL, the app provides valuable information for parents and players.
Concussions & Baseline Concussion Testing
What is baseline testing?
Baseline testing is a pre-season exam conducted by a trained health care professional. Baseline tests are used to assess an athlete’s balance and brain function (including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solve problems), as well as for the presence of any concussion symptoms. Results from baseline tests (or pre-injury tests) can be used and compared to a similar exam conducted by a health care professional during the season if an athlete has a suspected concussion.
Baseline testing generally takes place during the pre-season—ideally prior to the first practice. It is important to note that some baseline and concussion assessment tools are only suggested for use among athletes ages 10 years and older.
How is baseline testing information used if an athlete has a suspected concussion?
Results from baseline testing can be used if an athlete has a suspected concussion. Comparing post-injury test results to baseline test results can assist health care professionals in identifying the effects of the injury and making more informed return to school and play decisions.
Education should always be provided to athletes and parents if an athlete has a suspected concussion. This should include information on safely returning to school and play, tips to aid in recovery (such as rest), danger signs and when to seek immediate care, and how to help reduce an athlete’s risk for a future concussion.
What should be included as part of baseline testing?
Baseline testing should include a check for concussion symptoms, as well as balance and cognitive (such as concentration and memory) assessments. Computerized or paper-pencil neuropsychological tests may be included as a piece of an overall baseline test to assess an athlete’s concentration, memory, and reaction time.
During the baseline pre-season test, health care professionals should also assess for a prior history of concussion (including symptoms experienced and length of recovery from the injury). It is also important to record other medical conditions that could impact recovery after concussion, such as a history of migraines, depression, mood disorders, or anxiety, as well as learning disabilities and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Who should administer baseline tests?
Baseline tests should only be conducted by a trained health care professional.
Who should interpret baseline tests?
Only a trained health care professional with experience in concussion management should interpret the results of a baseline exam. When possible, ideally a neuropsychologist should interpret the computerized or paper-pencil neuropsychological test components of a baseline exam. Results of neuropsychological tests should not be used as a stand-alone diagnostic tool, but should serve as one component used by health care professionals to make return to school and play decisions.
How often should an athlete undergo baseline testing?
If baseline testing is used, research suggests that most components of baseline testing be repeated annually to establish a valid test result for comparison. Baseline computerized or paper-pencil neuropsychological tests may be repeated every 2 years. However, more frequent neuropsychological testing may be needed if an athlete has sustained a concussion or if the athlete has a medical condition that could affect results of the test.
The importance of hydration for good health and properly functioning body systems cannot be overstated. As the warmer months approach and outdoor activities increase, special attention needs to be given to proper hydration and to the prevention of heat illnesses for all, but especially for young athletes.
Because the body cannot store water, we must constantly provide and supply it with water to maintain our body’s many functioning systems. While water contains zero calories, it is considered a nutrient, comprising 55-70% of our body’s composition.
Acting as a cooling agent for our body, water is also essential for all major bodily functions, to include:
- Maintaining the health and integrity of every cell in the body
- Aiding in blood circulation
- Carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Helping to eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism
- Regulating body temperature through sweating
- Moisturizing the skin
- Moistening mucous membranes
- Lubricating and cushioning joints
- Aiding in digestion
- Helping convert food to energy
- Helping the body absorb nutrients
- Protecting and cushioning vital organs
- Removing waste
Contrary to popular belief, simply drinking water when you are thirsty is not good advice when it comes to properly hydrating the body. When the thirst mechanism activates, it is usually a sign the body is already under hydrated (and possibly headed toward dehydration). At this point, the body has to catch up to function properly.
Sports Drinks - Electrolytes found in sports drinks can be beneficial in regulating nerve and muscle function and replacing electrolytes lost through sweat. For adolescent athletes enduring physical activity for more than sixty to ninety minutes at a time, or for young athletes who practice in high heat and humidity, sports drinks can be beneficial in replenishing lost nutrients. The bottom line, however, is that water (pure water) is essential for an athlete to perform optimally.
Many times young athletes refuse to drink water, preferring sports drinks instead, Offer this:
- Do not buy sugary sports drinks. Find something with little to no sugar.
- Place water on the table at every meal.
- Cut up fruit and place in the water to help flavor it.
- Use refillable water bottles to measure daily water intake.
- Have the athlete carry a water bottle to school and to practice.
- Sawka MN, et al. "American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement.”.Med Science Sports Exercise2007;39:377-390. Accessed May 3, 2014.
- Fitzgerald, M. “The New Rules of Hydration”. Active.com. Accessed May 3, 2014
Summer heat and intense practice can be brutal on a player. TVYFL & WYF have set up guidelines when temps escalate to keep student athletes safe.
Stage 1 - 90-95 degree temps - Able to practice with close monitoring. Limit helmets/pads to less than 50% of practice and periods no more than 10 minutes at a time, and only for activities that require equipment. Water breaks no more than 15 minutes apart.
Stage 2 - 95-100 degree temps - No equipment and only light activities with no player contact or sustained cardio. Water breaks no more than 15 minutes apart.
Stage 3 - 100-105 degree temps - No equipment and no active practice. Walkthroughs, team talks and other non-cardio activities permitted. Players have constant access to water.
Stage 4 - Over 105 degree temps - Cancel practice OR if at field keep players resting in shaded areas and chalk talks as whole group permitted. Players have constant access to water.
Sleep affects a student athlete's performance and recovery. Here are just a few ways:
- Ability to focus. An athlete who cannot focus will struggle to execute assignments, develop skills and improve overall skill sets. Being fully rested allows athletes to have heightened reaction times and awareness levels while making fewer mental errors.
- Improved overall health. Sleep is a major ingredient to an individual’s health, both mentally and physically. Sleep plays a huge role in reducing stress, limiting fatigue and simply feeling better in general.
- Quicker recovery. Exercise depletes energy levels and fatigues muscle. Sleep is the body’s opportunity to recuperate and get some gas back in the tank. Combining sufficient sleep with other recovery methods or treatments allows for quicker and more thorough recovery.