With the start of the high-football season less than three weeks away and with two-a-day practices in full swing, player safety is a major concern for area teams as they prepare for the new campaign.
For the Minford Falcons, head coach Brent Daniels takes a diligent approach in combating the heat and potential injuries.
“If a kid gets dinged, we get him out right now and get him checked out,” Daniels said. “For the majority of the time, we’ve got a trainer at our practices.”
As far as the heat goes, Daniels stresses the importance of hydration.
“During two-a-days, these are long tedious days, it makes it hard, so one of the things I do is make sure that we’ve got water at each drill. So kids can grab a sip while they’re at each station,” Daniels said. “
“We take three or four mandatory breaks at each practice. It’s mandatory, whether we’re done or not (with the session), we take a five minute break. We send them over, we get them water and they cool down. We keep them as hydrated as possible, especially in these hot days.”
During his 27 years on the sidelines, Daniels has seen his share of changes in regards to safety. But since the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy studies, which are being linked to concussions as a result of playing football, that have been publicized through the NFL, Daniels has seen a drastic change in contact during practice.
According to Daniels, his team’s have engaged in contact drills less and less each season.
“We might hit 10 or 15 minutes and run our stuff,” Daniels said. “We don’t hit as much, we’ve geared it don’t each year. We still do contact but we might add bags with it.”
Even though they try to avoid unnecessary contact in practice, Daniels said they still have to find the right balance to make sure the kids are prepared to play a high-school football game every Friday night.
“We try to limit it but we try to get enough in so we don’t send our kid out on Friday night and he doesn’t get obliterated,” Daniels said. “It’s a real fine line but my guys do a real nice job of keep it to a minimum and getting the maximum results.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.