For nearly two decades, the Scott County Youth Football League has provided children a safe environment to learn a sport that is not commonly offered in a basketball-focused state. This year, the League’s hard work paid off when three of its teams made the playoffs; only the top four teams in each division make the playoffs.
“While only a fraction of Scott County kids actually plays football, we’re still successful,” said Eugene Roush, president of the Scott County Youth Football League. “[We have had] positive impact on over 150 families.”
The Scott County Youth Football League is part of the Southern Indiana Youth Football League, facing teams at Silver Creek, Charlestown, Providence, Clarksville, and Clark County Catholic. The local football league is divided into three divisions — Mighty Mites, grades kindergarten to second; Pee Wees, grades third and fourth; and Juniors, grades fifth and sixth. The Scott County Youth Football League’s program focuses on safety, having fun, and accountability.
“Our coaches preach, ‘Do your job — at school, at home, and on the football field.’ Kids need to understand they’re going to make mistakes and that’s ok, just learn from it and grow from the experience,” Roush said. “Many of our coaches have helped kids with homework and counseled them for misbehaving or not wanting to wake up for school in the morning.”
On the field, the Scott County Youth Football League is a Heads Up certified, a program through USA Football, the national governing body and member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The program trains amateur and youth football programs on concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration, sudden cardiac arrest, proper fitting equipment, shoulder tackling, and blocking. USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy, and athletics. The safety coach of the Scott County Youth Football League is trained by the National Football League, Roush said. The safety coach works with the other League coaches on teaching proper and safe techniques.
“Every one of our coaches goes through hours of training to teach children how to properly tackle and block safely. We are a safety first organization — period,” Roush said. “We are investing in the safest football helmets on the market. We recently purchased 30 new Xenith helmets.”
Xenith helmets use football helmet technology developed by a former Harvard quarterback and Columbia University doctor and is used in youth leagues to professional leagues. The helmets use Adaptive Head Protection, a technology that protects against linear and rotational forces and provides a custom fit with retention.
“We understand there is a misconception that football is the most dangerous youth sport. We have several children who play for us whose parents are doctors and nurses. There are inherent dangers in every youth sport. We teach the game the right way to limit injuries and invest in state-of-the-art equipment. There has never been a safer time to play the game,” Roush said.
Football is not the only focus of the League. It also offers cheerleading for students, kindergarten through sixth grades. The League gives opportunities for adults to become volunteers in the program and make an impact on the next generation of leaders, professionals, and citizens of Scott County.
“Our goal is ultimately to give the children and parents of Scott County an outlet to be apart of something fun and enjoyable. We believe busy kids are healthy kids,” Roush said. “[…]we have to invest in our children, they are our best hope.”