INDIANAPOLIS -- USA Football has commissioned a full-season research study this year to examine player health and safety in organized youth tackle football.
The independent study, to be conducted by the Datalys Center, is the first sponsored by football's national governing body in the United States and is believed to be the first of its scope in youth football's 80-plus year history.
The research will look at any injuries suffered during the 2012 season in 10 youth football leagues across the nation. Athletic trainers will attend the leagues' practices and games to manage and document player health.
Approximately 3 million youngsters from ages 6 to 14 play organized tackle football.
"This ground-breaking research will enable us to strengthen youth football player safety in an evidence-based way," USA Football executive director Scott Hallenbeck said. "USA Football is committed to continue to lead America's football community and discover how our country's favorite sport can be made even better."
The study will include observations on player safety at different ages and at game versus practice situations; playing standards such as player age and weight that account for the safest play; and the incidence and severity of injuries in organized youth football.
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, the NFL Players Association and each of the league's 32 teams, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference. It already provides a unified youth football rulebook and recommended practices for leagues nationwide, and regularly educates more than 75,000 youth football coaches to teach the sport and manage player health, including suspected concussions, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.