Youth safe football clinic to be at Davie High

Published 10:33 am Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dr. Matt Cline grew up in Lincolnton playing youth and high school football. He remembers times when he had his bell rung.’

“You just shook it off and kept playing,’’ he said.

Today, Cline is the medical director of the emergency department for Wake Forest Baptist Health – Davie Medical Center. He now knows that ignoring head injuries when they occur – and especially going right back out on the field – is dangerous.

“With concussions, it’s important to make that first diagnosis,’’ Cline said. “You don’t want a second concussion on top of what is later realized to have been an initial concussion. We’re starting to see clinical consequences down the road with people who’ve had repetitive concussions.”

Cline will be one of two Wake Forest Baptist physicians addressing the topics of head trauma, football-related injuries and proper preparation to hundreds of players, parents and coaches on April 30 at the Kids & Pros Heads Up Football Clinic.

Davie Medical Center is presenting the free program for children age 7 to 13 for the second straight year at Davie County High School, 1200 S. Salisbury St., Mocksville, from 2-5 p.m.

Kids & Pros was started by former University of North Carolina linebacker Buddy Curry, who played nine years for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Kids & Pros brings former NFL players to clinics around the country to teach young athletes better blocking and tackling techniques, as well as life skills lessons.

“Technique is everything when it comes to preventing injuries in contact sports,’’ Cline said.

Coaches who attend the clinic are taught the techniques, while parents are invited to learn about concussion awareness, equipment fitting and safety issues.

Dr. Heath Thornton, director of Wake Forest Baptist’s Sports Medicine Fellowship program, participated in last year’s clinic. In addition to the tackling techniques taught to the players, coaches and parents take away critical information.

For example, Thornton plans to discuss the importance of being prepared for practicing in summer heat. He listed things coaches must consider.

“Is the temperature at the point where players need to take off pads or work indoors or change the time of practice to evening or morning? Is someone watching the kids to make sure they’re not showing signs of any heat-related problems?”

Thornton said he grew up playing youth football and saw a teammate die on the field because of a heat injury. He said he hopes his presentation motivates coaches and trainers to both ask and answer the question: “Have I done everything I can to minimize risk for my players and my team?”

Registration is required. Learn more at the website,