Here is the third reversion in two days of the USA Football’s Response to the July 27 NYTimes article with my comments in red.

USA Football third revision of their statement on New York Times article about Heads Up Football


By Scott Hallenbeck Now Scott adds his name and photo to this mess. Run, Scott, Run.

USA Football developed Heads Up Football in 2012 with no research, just a marketing plan to improve the safety of the sport and deal with the growing concussion concern. We deliver education, resources and best practices without evidence and a marketing plan to recruit to youth organizations and high schools and their coaches, players and parents.

In our continuing effort to improve player safety and to try to defend the program we had been selling for two years, USA Football commissioned the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention paid for to conduct an independent study to review the effectiveness of Heads Up Football since we had already been marketing it for two years for children age five and upThe New York Times story published July 27 has raised issues (blew the whistle we lied in congress) with how the research conducted by Datalys was reported – No, how USA Football used the study that Datalys conducted and clearly lists the limitations on page 7 of the report. We have acknowledged our error in using (marketing to parents and children) preliminary data since Feb after the study was peer reviewed and published (was not published until July). In early July, we informed our partners and constituents of this issue and have since set a policy that when USA Football commissions research, we will share it only once it has been peer reviewed and published. (But in a bad move for us, we had already summited and presented the false data in congress under oath on May 13).

USA Football stands behind the efficacy of Heads Up Football because we have nothing else to offer to make football safer. We are proud that nearly 70 percent of youth football organizations and a growing number of high schools have  joined us (been hoodwinked into) in working toward a better, safer game (which there is evidence in the study that HeadsUp alone cannot provide).


Allow me to reinforce (repeat) the facts that demonstrate the impact and value of Heads Up Football.

FACT: We believe in this program – THIS IS NOT A FACT, it is a desperate belief we are clinging to despite the facts

Heads Up Football is an important football safety program, and it is having a positive effect on youth organizations and high school programs nationwide.

FACT: USA Football is changing behavior for the better – NOT A FACT 

Through the program, coaches learn not only how to teach proper fundamentals and techniques but how to communicate with players and parents in order to foster a positive football experience (Coaches learn to talk to kids?).

Before Heads Up Football, there was no national focus on teaching and training football coaches, parents and players on concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration, equipment fitting, sudden cardiac arrest, Heads Up Tackling and Heads Up Blocking. (This only should be under the category of crimes that until 2013 NONE OF THESE ISSUES were addresses by USA Football). This has led to hundreds of thousands of coaches being trained in the highest standards in the sport, resulting in a safer and more positive environment for the players.

FACT: Heads Up Football is more than tackling – (important to point out since it doesn’t reduce head injuries)

This program delivers the sport’s highest standards (sad this is the best we can do) on all-player football fundamentals and mechanics (with the decades old ploy of setting up “proper way to play” to then be able blame kids for their injuries if they get hurt because they didn’t use proper technique) alongside important health and safety components.

Through a (we don’t have money to train everyone) train-the-trainer model, Heads Up Football is (marketing) changing behavior by unifying the football community under consistent terminology and techniques.

Launched nationwide in 2013 (with no scientific evidence), Heads Up Football originally included the core elements of:

In (marketing to) working with youth and high school football organizations, alongside input from our Medical Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee, the program has since added Heads Up Blockingand sudden cardiac arrest protocols as part of the only nationally accredited youth coaching certification program available in the sport.

FACT: Heads Up Football is more than a course

Heads Up Football is a multi-pronged approach (to hide the fact it doesn’t help concussions) that works hand-in-hand with other USA Football resources to (confuse the issue) create a positive learning environment in which millions of young athletes can learn the sport more safely. These resources are available to all youth leagues, and USA Football strongly recommends their implementation by all coaches to further advance safety.

  • National Practice Guidelines for Youth Tackle Football. Released (finally) in February 2015, these guidelines include a limit of 30 minutes per day (per day NOT A LIMIT FOR THE WEEK) for drills operated at full-contact speed defined by USA Football’s Levels of Contact.
  • Levels of Contact. USA Football is the first national organization in the sport to formally define full contact within practice sessions, breaking drills down into non- or light-contact levels (Air, Bags, Control) and full contact (Thud, Live).
  • Practice Planner. Youth football coaches can organize their drills quickly and easily while assigning a level of contact and time for each drill.

FACT: Heads Up Football is being embraced (hugged?!? without scientific evidenced)

More than 6,300 youth organizations and 1,100 high schools signed up for Heads Up Football in 2015, improving the quality of the sport for their athletes (because they fell for our marketing).

Since Heads Up Football’s inception (in 2012 without scientific evidence or any testing), USA Football has trained thousands of Player Safety Coaches, selected by their leagues to serve as the conduit for the program, along with certifying hundreds of thousands of coaches. Player Safety Coaches are responsible (for the safety of millions of children playing tackle football):

  • Completing USA Football’s Level 1 online coaching education course
  • Attending a one-day clinic led by a USA Football-trained Master Trainer (one day for all of those safety issues)
  • Overseeing his or her organization’s implementation of Heads Up Football
  • Ensuring that all coaches are certified
  • Holding in-person clinics for head coaches
  • Attending practices and games to serve as a reference point for coaches and parents while ensuring that Heads Up Football elements are being taught

FACT: Heads Up Football continues to evolve (because it is our marketing plan)

USA Football works alongside experts in medicine and sport to constantly evaluate and improve what it offers through Heads Up Football.

As we have added elements and other materials to help coaches do their job better, we will continue to seek and recognize information that adds to the value and benefit of the sport and the children who enjoy playing it.


Heads Up Football reduces injury rates (NOT CONCUSSIONS) during practices by 63 percent, as shown by a peer-reviewed and published study in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine (OJSM) in July 2015 (linked). (BECAUSE THEY USED POP WARNER CONTACT LIMITS NOT HEADSUP AND YOU LIED TO CONGRESS ON THIS POINT)

There also is additional independent research that underscores Heads Up Football’s efficacy in reducing concussions at the high school level:

  • Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools, the 10th-largest school district in the country, has (You fail to inform parents that Fairfax Schools implemented reduced contact practice guidelines in 2013) employed Heads Up Football since 2013. In this time, the district has reported a 43.3 percent decline in concussions among its 3,000 football-playing student-athletes within its 25 high school programs, all of which are enrolled in Heads Up Football. Overall football injuries have declined 23.9 percent.
  • High schools within the South Bend (Ind.) Community School Corporation (SBCSC), with approximately 1,000 football-playing student-athletes reported concussions from football to decline by 40 percent from 2014 to 2015, the first year the school system implemented Heads Up Football district-wide.


A number of constituents have provided statements of support of Heads Up Football and its effectiveness.

Bill Curran, the director of student activities and athletics for Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools  (Fairfax Schools implemented reduced contact practice guidelines in 2013), has made the following statement:

“In our three seasons within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, our independent data clearly show that our student-athletes are benefitting from it. We are seeing significant returns. Since adopting the program in 2013, total injuries spanning practices and games among our football-playing student-athletes have decreased 23.9 percent and concussions have decreased 43.3 percent. I have 25 high school football coaches who will tell you Heads Up Football works.”


Dr. Michael Koester, (Stay tuned after I contact him) chairperson of the Oregon Schools Activities Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, states:

“Heads Up Football is the logical next step forward as sports medicine experts continue to work with coaches to implement innovative ways to minimize the risk of football injuries. The Oregon School Activities Association’s endorsement of the program – and requiring our football-playing schools to adopt Heads Up Football – is an important opportunity for high school coaches statewide to set an example for youth leagues in their communities. As a team physician and the parent of a high school football player, I stand behind Heads Up Football as a leading intervention for safer play.”


Jon Butler, (JON IS IN THE SAME SINKING BOAT AS SCOTT) executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., is also standing behind Heads Up Football stating:

“As we continue to make football safer and better for young people, Pop Warner places value on changes that make a difference. That’s why we have done things like reduce contact to twenty-five percent of practice time, eliminate kickoffs for our youngest divisions and require that any player who suffers a suspected head injury receive medical clearance from a concussion specialist before returning to play. Giving our coaches the tools they need to teach the game the right way enhances those efforts. It’s why we made USA Football’s Heads Up Football training mandatory for all Pop Warner coaches. Because we’re confident that a well-educated coach is critical to a safer football experience.”

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