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Hansen takes role on ‘Heads Up’ program

Former NFL defensive end Phil Hansen is taking a leading role within USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, promoting a better and safer game on youth and high school levels nationwide.

USA Football will instruct Hansen and 20 other football experts from 15 states – including high school coaches and former NFL and college players – as USA Football Master Trainers during a workshop Apr. 5-6, in Indianapolis, Ind.

A former defensive end for 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Hansen has served on the Detroit Lakes Public Education Foundation board and as a NFL Players Association representative. 

He played on three Super Bowl teams with the Bills, was named to the 1991 All-Rookie Team and was inducted onto the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 2011.

During his collegiate years at North Dakota State University, Hansen set records in career sacks (41) and pass breakups (32), while being a part of Division II National Championship teams in 1988 and 1990.

USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is a comprehensive approach to a better and safer game, encompassing USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response, Korey Stringer Institute-approved heat and hydration protocols, equipment fitting instruction and Heads Up Tackling techniques.

Nearly 2,800 youth leagues across the United States registered for Heads Up Football in 2013, accounting for more than 25 percent of the youth football community.

In addition, 35 high schools in 10 states piloted Heads Up Football during the 2013 season.

USA Football is offering its Heads Up Football program to all youth leagues and high schools in 2014.

After completing the USA Football workshop, Master Trainers will instruct youth leagues in their regions on Heads Up Football principles and teach youth league- and high school-appointed Player Safety Coaches, who will oversee their programs’ implementation of the highest national coaching standards for football.

These standards include league-wide completion of the Level 1 Coach Certification Course as well as conducting a Heads Up Football Coaches Clinic and a Heads Up Safety Clinic for parents and players.

Player Safety Coaches monitor their leagues’ practices and games throughout the season.

“The health and safety of every youth and high school football player is our No. 1 priority,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenback said. “We are proud to have this group assist us in leading America’s youth and high school football community as USA Football Master Trainers.

“With direction from experts in medicine and sport, we are committed to set important standards rooted in education for the benefit of our young athletes.”