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Alumni: Salamanca’s Hill Advocates for USA Football

A year after moving from the area, a former Salamanca football assistant has returned to the game — in a regional capacity.

Aaron Hill spent seven seasons as an assistant to Jason Marsh, moved his family last summer for a sports marketing job at The University of Pittsburgh. Now, still in the Steel City, he is a month into a new position with USA Football, a non-profit youth football governing body.

Now, Hill is the Northeast regional representative for USA Football. He considers the Heads Up Football initiative central to his position.

“We’re looking to drive participation rates and make the game safer for all youth and high school athletes through our coach education programs” Hill said. “Essentially, I’m responsible for traveling the Northeast and creating conversations with commissioners and coaches about making the game better overall.”

Hill’s regional ranges from Maine to South Carolina.

As a former player and coach, the SUNY Cortland graduate described a personal stake in the game’s future.

“Football has been a passion all my life, played it until I was 20 years old, coached it for seven years after that,” Hill said. “Obviously we’re starting to see that we have to make some changes to make sure the game survives. It’s always been appealing to me, something I’m passionate about, it provides benefits I believe in. The opportunity presented itself and I was fortunate to land the position.”

-- The initiative’s name suggests teaching a safer tackling technique, which is chief among Hill’s concerns, but not the only one.

“The key components of heads up football are concussion recognition response, heat preparedness and hydration,” he said, “sudden cardiac arrest is a concern right now, proper equipment fitting and of course the main component is proper tackling technique.”

Hill recalled his Salamanca coaching experience, and gave the Warriors and the city’s youth teams a solid review.