Leon County, Big Bend Pop Warner Certified by USA Football as a Heads Up Football Program

Leon County Board of County Commissioners

Providing a Better, Safer Experience for Players and Parents

Leon County Government and Big Bend Pop Warner are announcing the certification of the County’s football program as a Heads Up Football program. Created by USA Football, the Heads Up Football program provides a better, safer experience for players. Through comprehensive education, coaches are trained to teach tackling fundamentals that reduce the risks of concussions and neck injuries. These important standards are supported by medical experts that guide the education curriculum.

"Any time we can make efforts to reduce injuries to our youth participants, the County embraces those opportunities," said Leigh Davis, Director of Leon County Parks and Recreation. "Big Bend Pop Warner has been a solid partner over the last 10 years, and this certification serves to strengthen the program we provide for Leon County citizens."

The Heads Up Football program focuses on six key areas:

  • Coaching Education – All coaches within the league are required to complete USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course, which trains them in the game’s fundamentals.
  • Equipment Fitting –  Particularly for helmet and shoulder pads.
  • Concussion Education – Employing protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Heat Emergency and Hydration –  Establishing approved protocols from the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.
  • Heads Up Tackling – Teaching fundamentals of this all-player skill in a safer way.
  • Player Safety Coach – Appointed by a certified organization to ensure compliance with Heads Up Football player safety protocols, coach certification and continuing education with coaches, players, parents and guardians.

USA Football launched Heads Up Football in 2012 and now with Pop Warner’s nation-wide adoption of the program, approximately 40 percent of the youth football community in the United States is operating under these safer standards.

“Big Bend Pop Warner is proud to be a certified organization leading the way and setting the bar for youth health and safety in our community,” said Corey Simon, President of Big Bend

Pop Warner and former Florida State University and National Football League star football player. “All Leon County football players can be winners when it comes to game safety.”

In addition to the requirements established by USA Football for a certified Heads Up Football program, Leon County Parks and Recreation and Big Bend Pop Warner are cultivating partnerships with local medical experts at Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic’s (TOC) Regional Concussion Center. The concussion center provides an advanced, cutting-edge level of care to assess, treat and manage concussion injuries.

“Partnering with TOC is a natural fit,” said Mike Wallace, Vice President and League Player Safety Coach. “TOC already provides excellent care for other injuries, and they are the only specialists that treat pediatric concussions. We are fortunate to have Dr. Scott Burkhart and his team here in Leon County.”

To promote the new certification and the new partnership with TOC, Leon County Parks and Recreation and Big Bend Pop Warner have two educational opportunities for players, parents and guardians.

Friday, July 25   

Sports Concussion Education and Awareness and Baseline Testing
Location: Academy Sports, 3122 Mahan Dr.
Time: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
*Academy Sports will conduct drawings for gift cards during the event.

Saturday, July 26

Parents on the Field, an educational session for parents and guardians regarding concussion prevention and treatment.

Location: Canopy Oaks Community Park, 3250 Point View Dr.
Time:    8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., 5-9 year olds; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 10-14 year olds

*No fees are required to participate in the session. TOC and Success Athletic Training representatives will also be present to field questions.

In addition, on Saturday, July 26, parents and guardians will be able to register their children for Leon County’s 2014 Big Bend Pop Warner football season.

Residents can also contact their respective association president for further information regarding registration:

  • Pete Williams – Bradfordville Association President, (850) 294-3900
  • Robert Bryant – Canopy Oaks Association President, (850) 728-6365
  • Shannon Baker Chaires – Capitola Association President, (850) 665-0495
  • Dawn Lynn Rentz – Ft. Braden Association President, (850) 510-1256
  • Phadrhea Acoff – Woodville Association President, (850) 597-4599

To verify an area’s association president and view a map of the designated areas, visit www.BigBendPopWarner.org .

For more information, contact Leigh Davis, Director of Leon County Parks and Recreation, at (850) 606-1475 / DavisLe@LeonCountyFL.gov or Jon D. Brown, Director of Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 / cmr@LeonCountyFL.gov .

About the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic and its Foundation

For over 35 years, TOC has provided the highest quality orthopedic and sports medicine care in North Florida and South Georgia.  TOC staff include 22 physicians with more than 200 employees, including PA’s, ARNP’s, RN’s, Certified Athletic Trainers, Certified Orthotics and an extensive support team of medical and technical assistants.  TOC provides a comprehensive Sports Medicine Program, a Regional Concussion Center, MRI services, an Orthotics and Prosthetics Division, Physical Therapy and an Outpatient Surgery Center.