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"Heads Up" training program teaches safer tacklilng

5:14 PM, Aug 20, 2013   |    comments
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CBS/WUSA9)-- The players and coaches of the Fairfax County Youth Football League are among the 2,800 youth football organizations across the country taking part in new training program that aims to prevent head and neck injuries. 

It is called Heads Up, and that is exactly what the Alexandria Titans are being taught to do in order to tackle safety. 

Seven-year-old Isaiah Hayes already understands why its a rule.  "Cause if you put your head down then you could hit your head and crack your neck," he says.

USA Football developed the techniques with funding from the NFL.  Coaches like Marcus Mudarri get special instruction on conducting drills, monitoring player safety, and fitting equipment properly.   

Mudarri says the Heads Up program is reassuring to parents who want to protect their student athletes from concussions, and more kids are signing up.  

"I do really think that's because parents feel more comfortable about letting their kids play football," says Mudari. 

The Heads Up program is now being piloted in 32 high schools in eight states, including Fairfax County Public Schools, which earlier this summer became the first district in the country to require Heads Up training in all its high school programs.