Football coaches head 'back to school' for heads-up training

(WTHR photo)
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It was "back to school" this weekend for a group of football coaches from around the country. Indianapolis-based USA Football trained more than two-dozen coaches from 15 states to become master trainers in the Heads Up Football Program.

There was no slacking during the training event at the St. Vincent Sports Performance Center Sunday on the northwest side. Coaches covered everything from concussions, to tackling and hydration. Every technique the coaches learned will be drilled and tested.

High school football coach Jason Mohns from Scottsdale, Arizona will be a new USA Football Master Trainer when the weekend ends.

"It's not a vacation. It's been a lot of work. We had a 12-hour day yesterday, and it's a full day today and we go right from here to the airport, so it's been really intensive but it's been great," Mohns said.

After the training session in Indianapolis, the coaches will teach seminars to other coaches around the country, in turn passing their new skills to youth leagues and high schools.

"We're looking at professional development from a coaching standpoint, and what does every coach need to know to not only win games, but more importantly, to keep kids safe," said Michael Haynes, Manager of Heads Up Football.

This is the third year for the program and the curriculum is full. Coaches learned how to handle concussions, over-heating, and equipment fittings. Also, for the first time, coaches learned "Heads Up blocking" and received special training to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.

"We're just continually fine tuning our program, we look at whatever the current research is," Haynes said.

There are now more than 90 coaches certified with "Heads Up" skills across the country. More than half of the youth leagues in the US are registered with the program, along with hundreds of high schools.