West Seattle Junior Football & Cheer (WSJF&C) is committed to safety. Working in concert with our league (the Northwest Junior Football League, NJFL) and fellow franchises, we are working to make football a much safer game.
- All our coaches are certified in the USA Football Heads Up Football program and by the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).
- Players are slotted by age and weight.
- Our league is in partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington (UW) on a groundbreaking study about youth concussions.
- We have professional athletic trainers at all games.
- All our referees are from the Pacific Northwest Football Officials Association (PNFOA). These are the referees who work at high school football.
In-Depth Coach Training - Focus on Safety and Positivity
All WSJF&C coaches are certified by USA Football’s Heads Up Football. The unique program advances player safety through coach and player education of nationally endorsed standards.
Coaches attend over six hours of online training on safe tackling methods, dehydration, concussion awareness, and other important topics. Coaches also receive in-person NJFL training to reinforce the principles of Heads Up Football, safety, league sportsmanship, and mentoring from the PCA. Players are in turn taught safe play, hydration, and sportsmanship at practices and games, and off the field as well.
Players Placed by Age and Weight
The NJFL and WSJF&C add another layer of protection by placing players in their division based on age and weight (below). This helps ensure that athletes are playing against peers of similar size and maturity. It helps prevents scenarios where a smaller-in-stature-8-year old faces a very tall and/or strong 9- or 10-year-old player.
Athletic Trainers Part of UW and Children's Hospital Partnership
As part of the study, Children’s and the UW provide professional athletic trainers at all league games. Parents and staff will also receive educational materials on prevention and recognition of injury. Drs. Stan Herring, Sam Browd, and Fred Rivara are managing the research that is providing important knowledge on prevention and management of injuries in young athletes. Participation in this effort also allows for trainers to assist with game injuries and, in the rare event of a concussion, ensure the player is provided quality immediate care and follow-up.
- Seattle Pediatric: Concussion and Injury Surveillance in Youth Football Study
- UW Medicine – The Sports Institute: Concussion and Injury Surveillance in Youth Football Players
- Seattle Children's: New Findings on Concussion in Football's Youngest Players
One of the most effective ways we are keeping our games safe is having quality referees on the field. All WSJF&C referees come from the PNFOA, the same body that provides referees to all high school games in the King County area. This provides for consistency, accountability, and an overall understanding of our safety principles.