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'Heads Up' football clinic at Flowery Branch focuses on player safety

Former Atlanta Falcon Curry leads training session

POSTED: May 31, 2015 1:12 a.m.

Close to 60 youth and high school football coaches from around the state filled the cafeteria at Flowery Branch High School Saturday morning looking to learn more about player safety.

The clinic, led by USA Football Master Trainer and former Atlanta Falcon Buddy Curry, was part of the Heads Up Football program launched in 2012 as a comprehensive approach to a better, safer game.

“It’s a train to trainer model,” Curry said. “These guys are expected to go back to their associations and train the parents and train the coaches on the safety initiatives that USA Football and the NFL are rolling out.”

Concussions receive the majority of headlines when it comes to player safety, and the Heads Up program educates coaches on concussion recognition and response, as well as instructs them on proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting. The program also focuses on sudden cardiac arrest protocols, heat preparedness and hydration.

“It is a very informative clinic,” Flowery Branch Junior Falcons coach Jason Moore said. “It’s good for every organization to have the player safety coordinator.

“We’ll have coaches and parent meetings and instruct them on the information we’re given.”

After the classroom teachings, the coaches were taken out to the field. Curry then guided them through a series of drills aimed to reinforce proper Heads Up tackling and blocking techniques that focused on reducing helmet contact.

“We need to train these kids on proper techniques and help them enjoy competition,” Curry said. “Help them enjoy the game of football.

“We need to have coaches learn to become students of the game, to learn how to coach correct fundamentals and techniques, and parents to relax enough to let their kid enjoy playing, especially when they’re young.”

Curry played for the Falcons from 1980-87. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1980 and an All-Pro selection in 1980 and 1982.

This is his third year with USA Football and the Heads Up program, and his sixth time leading a clinic in Georgia.

He understands the risks involved in playing football.

“If you want your kid to be completely safe,” Curry said. “Don’t let him go to school, don’t let him go out. You need to keep him in the house and hopefully a tornado doesn’t come.

“There’s risk in everything you do. What football offers is a team sport. It’s the ultimate team game where you learn how to compete as a team, be a part of a cog that hopefully is successful.”

The Falcons also do a number of different youth football and coaching clinics, as well as clinics for mothers, in order to spread the message of USA Football and the Heads Up Football program.

“We like to incorporate Heads Up Football in as many programs as we can,” Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Coordinator Amanda Dinkel said.

“We think it’s so important for the players and the safety of the game to make it a better and safer game for our kids and future generations.”



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