More than 2,100 youth tackle football players age 5-15 across 100 teams and 10 youth organizations spanning four states were matched for location, socio-economic, playing standard and other factors. Datalys placed independent athletic trainers at the leagues’ practice and game fields to manage and document player health. Datalys’ study of the Heads Up Football program employed the same intensive methodology as its NCAA Injury Surveillance Program and the National Injury Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network (NATIONTM). Of the 2,108 players in the study’s sample, 1,404 were in Heads Up Football-practicing leagues, and 704 were in leagues that did not employ Heads Up Football. Datalys sought a two-to-one difference in 2014 Heads Up Football program players to balance its youth football safety surveillance data from 2012-13.
The study’s findings include:
Compared to non-Heads Up Football leagues, leagues that adopted Heads Up Football had a 76 percent reduction in injuries.Players in Heads Up Football leagues were 57 percent less likely to sustain a time-loss injury, which is an injury keeping an athlete from returning to play for at least 24 hours.Compared to non-Heads Up Football leagues, leagues that adopted Heads Up Football had a 34 percent reduction in concussions in practices and a 29 percent reduction of concussions in games.Through three years of research (2012-14) encompassing more than 6,000 players ranging in age 5-15, 2.8 percent of all players sustained a concussion. More than 90 percent of youth players in Heads Up Football leagues did not sustain an injury in games or practices during the 2014 season.Bruises were the most common injuries reported (27 percent of all injuries), followed by ligament sprains (22 percent of all injuries).