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Heads Up Football

Lake Oswego Youth Football (LOYF) is committed to ensuring a positive youth football experience and advancing player safety by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches through USA Football's Heads Up Football program.

USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. LOYF is comprised of more than 240 players and 45 coaches representing the Lake Oswego Community and Laker Nation.

Every LOYF coach will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All LOYF head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football's accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact.

Through Heads Up Football, Coaches will be trained to implement, evaluate and monitor all Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization. Our Player Safety Coach will work with league commissioners, coaches, parents and players throughout the season to provide on-site clinics and mentoring to ensure that coaching and player safety best practices are used.

Adopted in 2014 by LOYF and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires four primary elements:

Coaching education

  • All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game's fundamentals by completing USA Football's nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.

Concussion recognition and response

  • Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football's Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.
  • Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a league-wide clinic and have them reinforced throughout the season.

Tackling technique

  • USA Football's Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact.

Equipment fitting

  • Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.

USA Football's Heads Up Tackling technique was developed with contributions from USA Football's Tackle Advisory Committee, which includes Northwestern head coach PAT FITZGERALD, UCLA head coach JIM MORA, former NFL running back MERRIL HOGE, Miami Christopher Columbus High School head coach CHRIS MERRITT and sports psychologist DR. DAVID YUKELSON.

About USA Football: USA Football, the sport's national governing body, leads the game's development, inspires participation and ensures a better and safer experience for all youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions and provides more than $1 million annually in equipment grants and youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football ( is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.  

Equipment Fitting

Equipment Tips


Helmets are not comfortable. They are tight, heavy and difficult to get used to, but they protect the most important part of our body. Players will be fitted for their helmet, and should wear them for at least a week or two before asking for a larger size. It takes about that long to get used to wearing one. Helmets can be adjusted by adding or removing air, or changing the ear pads. Please see your coach before making any adjustments. They are to protect your child's head, not to be a comfortable fashion piece.


Pants should extend to just below the knee cap. The knee pad should cover the knee cap and not be above or below it.

Shoulder Pads

Should be tight against the chest and back with draw string pulled tight. Inside pad that sits on the shoulders should extend just past the outside of player shoulder.

Extra Equipment

It is the responsibility of each player to arrive at practice and games with all their equipment including their mouth piece. Coaches will have a supply of extra mouth pieces and helmet ear pads, along with repair equipment, but if a player shows up without a mouth piece, or full set of pads, they will not be able to participate.

Equipment Care

You are responsible for the proper care and use of equipment provided to you. Please ensure that equipment is returned on the requested return date, is laundered and in good repair. Your attention will enable Lake Oswego Youth Football to control costs and provide equipment to all future participants.