Ashburn Youth Football League is a youth sports league created for the children of Ashburn, Virginia and the surrounding areas.The AYFL exists to promote youth football in the Ashburn area, and is intended to be an instructional league that places an emph


AYFL is committed to ensuring a positive youth football experience and advancing player safety this fall by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches. AYFL does this through a variety of activities including USA Football’s Heads Up Football program. Our program includes the following:


We do this knowing nothing is more important than the health and safety the children participating in our league. All of these programs are implemented, monitored and enforced by our Director of Player Safety. For more information on these efforts or any questions about player safety then please contact
Detailed information on each of the topic areas above is provided below.
USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. Every AYFL coach is trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams season. All AYFL 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, a Player Safety Coach/Player Safety Coaches will be trained by USA Football to implement, evaluate and monitor Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization. Player Safety Coaches 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 2013 by AYFL and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires five primary elements:

Heads Up Tackling

  • 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.

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.

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.

Equipment fitting

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

Player Safety Coach

  • Appointed by each participating Heads Up Football youth 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.

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.

Football is a contact sport. Accordingly it is our job to make is safe for all participants. A significant effort to achieve that objective is educating players and parents alike about the potential injuries inherent to football (and all sports in general). We believe there is much incorrect or anecdotal information available in the media today about football. Education is key to understanding the risks that come with the game.
In addition to education, AYFL also actively monitors injuries and their severity throughout the season. We do this to ensure that we are continually improving the safety conditions of our league...and because, as a Board, our children participate as well. See “On-Site Safety” below for more information. 

Here are some useful educational references about football:

For more information about football and injuries then please contact us at



In order to make the game of football safer for its athletes, the AYFL has hired a certified Athletic Trainer to cover all contests during the season. Athletic Trainers are health care professionals and licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine. They are uniquely suited to evaluate and diagnose concussion, as a large portion of their education is focused on concussion management. They are also trained in immediate and emergency care, assessment of injury and illness, prevention of injuries and treatment and rehabilitation. The ATC is typically located between the two fields, and can be contacted by radio at all times.

Please note that only the ATC, AYFL officials, referees or coaches should make the decision on whether or not to call an ambulance. In most situations, injured players who need medical care can be transported to Urgent Care or the ER by their parents. Our staff are trained to diagnose/treat the following:

  • Injured Players
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Wound Care
  • Concussions      
  • Heat Illness