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NFL-funded youth safety program not reducing concussions despite claims

Heads Up Football, an NFL-funded youth football safety program, is not reducing concussions despite its claims.
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Heads Up Football, an NFL-funded youth football safety program that teaches proper tackling techniques, is not reducing concussions despite its claims to the contrary, The New York Times has found.

USA Football, which has been given millions of dollars to help sell Heads Up to youth football programs, granted the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention $70,000 in 2015 to study the results of the initiative, according to The Times. Datalys then told USA Football that the program was reducing injuries by 76% and concussions by about 30%.

The league and USA Football then used this study as a selling point for Heads Up. 

“USA Football erred in not conducting a more thorough review with Datalys to ensure that our data was up to date,” USA Football executive director Scott Hallenbeck told The Times in an email. “We regret that error.”

“We’re the ones that put out the numbers. We’re the ones that kind of blew it,” Datalys president Thomas Dampier added.

Representatives from the NFL and USA Football told the paper that they were unaware Datalys’s study did not support Heads Up Football’s claims.

The NFL admitted in March that a link exists between football and CTE.

On the topic of player safety, Peter King wrote Tuesday at The MMQB that the NFL Players Association had agreed to establish a joint committee to meet twice or more per year to monitor field conditions to help curb injuries caused by playing surfaces.