ALPHARETTA YOUTH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PUTS SAFETY FIRST
Youth sports have much to offer our children - a sense of belonging, opportunities to build character and an enjoyable means to stay physically fit. The game of football in particular is often cited as "the ultimate team sport", from which countless lessons on teamwork, responsibility and achievement are gained. This being said, Alpharetta Youth Football Association (AYFA) understands and appreciates growing parental concern over the safety of youth sports, in particular the high-profile topic of sports-related concussions amongst young athletes. AYFA Board members are moms and dads themselves, and recognize that there is nothing more important than the well-being of our children.
AYFA administers a progressive and comprehensive Player Safety Program, covering all age levels in the flag football, tackle football and cheer programs. As a certified league in USA Football's "Heads Up Football" initiative, the coaching staffs of each of AYFA's teams are annually re-certified for critical player safety training such as "Heads Up Tackling" (a program teaching the fundamentals of safe tackling technique), heat and hydration awareness, and concussion prevention, recognition and response. Among the greatest dangers to young athletes is the risk of practicing or playing with an undiagnosed concussion, or returning to the field of play too soon after sustaining a concussion. Recognizing this, our entire concussion awareness program is geared toward immediate recognition and appropriate response. In the event of a concussion, AYFA follows strict return-to-play guidelines and our player safety personnel oversee a progressive return-to-play protocol under the guidance of the athlete’s physician.
Each team in AYFA has a designated Safety Coach responsible for reinforcing elements of the Player Safety Program, and granted with the authority to remove a player from the field of play at any time for evaluation. Above and beyond annual certification, AYFA provides all Safety Coaches with additional tools and training to aid in the recognition of concussions. For the 2014 fall season, every Safety Coach will have at their disposal the King-Devick Test, the leading sideline concussion screening test used extensively in collegiate and professional athletics. This tool will allow our Safety Coaches, at practice or on game day, to make a quick, objective sideline evaluation on whether a player should be removed from play.
Additionally, AYFA will provide for pre-season baseline testing of players, administered by the Sports Concussion Institute. Baseline testing is an important part of concussion treatment, as it provides physicians with an objective measurement of a player's neurocognitive abilities pre-injury. SCI will administer our testing using a tool called ImPACT - the leading such assessment tool commonly used at the high school, collegiate and professional levels.
All of these safety components, and more, are included in AYFA’s registration fee. (For more information or to register online, please visit us at www.alpharettayouthfootball.com). AYFA is proud to be leading the way in player safety for youth football programs, and strives to impart positive life lessons taught by football and cheerleading in a fun and safe environment. AYFA is one of North Atlanta’s most trusted youth sports leagues, serving the Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Johns Creek and surrounding communities for over 40 years with over 30 teams annually (K - 8th grade) and 150 coaches. Offering flag and tackle football and cheerleading at North Park’s state of the art facility, AYFA is a tremendous environment for your child to learn the great game of football, teamwork and overall life skills and a fantastic place for your family to spend the fall season.