‘Heads Up’ football helping players avoid concussions

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The danger of hard hits on the field has coaches making changes. Football programs like the Jim Kelly Youth Football League (JKYFL) have turned to something known has “heads up” football.

The name says it all. Coaches focus on teaching technique and making sure players keep their heads up.

“I have 25 kids. One is my own, and then the other 24 are my adopted sons,” Jennifer Cobb told News 4 during a recent practice session. Cobb is the Team Mom for the Cheektowaga Thunderbids. “We were here last year too, and we didn’t have any concussions thank God,” Cobb said.

The Thunderbirds switched to the heads up program this year. “We teach them how to safely tackle and play football so that everyone is safe. I think it’s better,” Cobb said.

LEARN MORE || CDC releases free Heads Up App

Coach Joe D’Amaro calls the early indications encouraging.

“It’s a program that’s new. It’s been around for 3 years, and it’s dramatically reduced concussion rates as well as other injuries like bruises, broken bones.

The NFL and Bills back the program. “It’s a comprehensive program that really teaches everything from the basics, from the beginning football position, from our breakdown position, through completing the tackle,” D’Amaro explained.

Coaches hope the players learn when they’re young, so they can carry the technique with them for life.

Cobb believe it’s working. “I feel much safer knowing everybody knows what they can and can’t do, and everybody will be safer,” she said.

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