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USA Football Clinic at Catt-LV Certifies Area Youth Coaches

CATTARAUGUS — Southern Tier youth football coaches received a four-hour course Sunday in some fundamentals of safety and will now be entrusted to bring those to their teams.

Ken Stoldt conducted a Heads Up Football Player Safety Coach Clinic at Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School, giving both classroom lessons and on-field demonstrations. Stoldt, who has also chaired the Section VI Football Federation since 2010, became a USA Football Master Trainer after meeting with the organization’s officials in Indianapolis.

“USA Football was looking for people in different regions, throughout the country and so forth and they actually go through the NFL cities,” said Stoldt, who has coached at Akron and Warsaw, and as an assistant at Alden, where he serves on the school board. “At the time Preston Teague (Director of Community Relations and Youth Football for the Bills) reached out to me. I went down to Indianapolis to check it out and (get) the training and really felt strongly about what they were doing.”

Stoldt said he once held a small clinic in Jamestown but had not done so in Cattaraugus County.

The clinic included 19 coaches from the Southern Tier, including some from Olean, Franklinville and Smethport, Pa. A clinic earlier this year at Ralph Wilson Stadium certified nearly 100 Western New York youth coaches as Player Safety Coaches.

The clinic began with an overview, then instruction on equipment fitting, concussion recognition and response and heat stroke and sudden cardiac arrest protocols. The trainee safety coaches coaches learn “more than you would think,” Stoldt said.

“For instance, when we get the measuring tapes out to measure the chest and the head for the helmet and shoulder pads, there were a lot of people in there who hadn’t used them before, a lot of the new ones,” he noted. “I think that you take some things for granted, like ‘Oh, I never realized this here, and yeah this makes for a better fit.’ It’s the same thing with concussions. It’s out there and we always hear about the topic but even myself, I go back to Indianapolis each year to train and there’s always something else that you pick up because they’re always doing more research.”

The coaches then took to the C-LV field to learn USA Football’s tackling and blocking fundamentals.

“The way it works, today they were broken up into three groups and I demonstrate each of the five tackling fundamentals and each of the five blocking fundamentals, give them coaching points, things to look for and so forth,” Stoldt explained. “Then, one or two coaches in each group teaches the rest of their group. They do the same demonstration, they get to teach it once or twice and go through it. Coaches can critique them and we get together and talk about what was just taught, what was new to them and so forth and we move on to the next drill.”

The newly certified Player Safety Coaches will be responsible for educating their team’s fellow coaches and players’ families.

“They are going to train the coaches within their own organization and they’re also going to have a meeting with all the parents as well,” Stoldt said. “We need to get all the coaches, all the parents on the board with things like signs and symptoms of concussions, the removal of play protocol, the heat and hydration issues. Parents can help at home making sure their kids are hydrated before they go to practice. They can look for signs of things when kids go home from practice. The more people we can educate and get on the same page, the better chance of success we have.”

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