Bridgton Academy the first Postgraduate School in the Nation to Earn Heads-Up Certification

Bridgton Academy is committed to ensuring a positive football experience and advancing player safety this fall by providing a team-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches through USA Football’s Heads Up Football® program.

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, educates more youth and high school coaches combined than any organization in the United States. All Bridgton Academy coaches will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. Bridgton Academy head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s High School Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; sudden cardiac arrest protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; heat and hydration information; as well as Heads Up TacklingSM and Heads Up Blocking techniques, which aim to reduce helmet contact.

USA Football Master Trainer and Bridgton Academy Assistant Football Coach Matt Burgess has implemented, evaluated and monitored Heads Up Football player safety protocols at the Academy.

More than 6,500 youth football organizations and nearly 1,100 high schools took part in Heads Up Football in 2015, but Bridgton Academy is the first postsecondary school to receive Heads Up Football Certification.

As a Master Trainer, I’ve lead Heads Up Football clinics near and far,” said Bridgton Academy’s Matt Burgess, “but I am proud to be able to say that my own school, where I am an Alumnus, Teacher and Coach, has taken the steps to become Heads Up certified. We’re teaching the game the right way, better and safer for the athletes.  Hopefully the process will benefit our athletes allowing them bigger and better opportunities as they move onto college programs.”

“Heads Up Football is changing for the better how coaches are trained, players are taught, parents are informed and safety is addressed,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “We are proud to have Bridgton Academy join us in leading America’s youth football community, helping to further establish important standards rooted in education for the good of our young athletes.”

“We are incredibly proud to be the first – and still the only – post-secondary school in America to be “Heads Up” certified by USA Football,” said Bridgton Academy Headmaster Grady Vigneau. “We have always cared deeply about the safety of our young men as they pursue their futures as college student-athletes. Being a ‘Heads Up’ school reinforces our commitment.”

Heads Up Football requires eight primary elements:

Key Features
Coaching Certification

  • All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game’s fundamentals by completing USA Football’s online High School Coaching Certification Course.
    Player Safety Coach
  • Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football® organization, this individual ensures compliance with Heads Up Football’s player safety protocols, including coaching certification and conducting safety clinics for coaches, parents and players.

Educational Components

  • Concussion recognition and response
  • Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football’s online 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.
    Heat and hydration
  • Coaches, parents and players learn heat and hydration safety measures provided by the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute.
    Sudden cardiac arrest
  • Instruction on how to have plans and procedures in place to quickly react in the case of cardiac events, the No. 1 cause of death for children and teens taking part in athletics.
    Equipment fitting
  • Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
    Heads Up Blocking and Tackling
  • Series of fundamental drills reinforce tackling and blocking mechanics, teaching players who to perform these basic football skills with a focus on reducing helmet contact.

About USA Football: Indianapolis-based USA Football is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference. USA Football (www.usafootball.com), endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002, is the sport’s leader in coaching education and player skill advancement for a better, safer game.

Bridgton Academy’s mission is to provide a program for young men in a unique, one-year postgraduate environment to prepare for the competitive rigors of college and beyond.

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