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Learning from Cardinals and pros

By - May 21, 2017

By Aaron Fischer for The Sporting Nation 

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- High school students from throughout the southwest United States came together on Saturday for the 16th annual Football Skills and Education Camp which was hosted at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The primary focus of this camp was to teach the participants correct football techniques and also the importance of safety, nutrition and academic achievements.

Mo Streety, manager of youth football for the Arizona Cardinals, directed the camp which hosted around 600 attendants.

The camp began with a lecture presented by neurologist Dr. Javier Cárdenas, who works for Barrow Neurological Institute. He reiterated the seriousness of concussions.

“A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which is important to recognize,” Cárdenas said. “All concussions are serious.”

Cárdenas went on to summarize the symptoms of a concussion and how important the player’s duty it is to recognize when he or she may have experienced a head injury.

Not only did this camp benefit high school students, there was also a mom’s football safety clinic. This gave the mothers of these athletes the opportunity to learn more about the game of football and how to stay safe.

“I feel like it is important every year to bring them, so they can get that concussion reminder so they are the ones to know when they need to pull themselves out of the game,” said Rachel Arndt, mother of one of the campers and football booster president for Tonopah Valley High School.

After the classroom sessions, the activities moved outdoors where the campers began to stretch and get ready for position drills. One portion of the stretching contained a yoga session ran by Donna Chasan, an instructor specializing in yoga for athletes.

“Things that are overlooked is having that mental strength and being present when you’re an athlete because you can be strong, capable and be trained, but if your mind gets in the way and is constantly telling you that you can’t do it, you won’t do it,” Chasan said.

After the yoga and stretching session concluded, the campers separated into groups based on the position they play. These positons ranged from quarterbacks and running backs to wide receivers, offensive and defensive lineman, linebackers and cornerbacks.

Current Cardinals players Drew Stanton, Ifeanyi Momah, Zac Dysert, Gabe Martin and Hakeem Valles as well as Cardinals coaches and alumni made up the leaders that instructed the position groups. 

In addition to the skills training, one of the biggest take homes of this event was focused around academics.
“High school is a pivotal time to make the whole recruiting process and transition to college a little bit easier,” Valles said. “You know it sounds repetitive but they need to stick with school and their grades.”
Once the position drills were complete, Streety brought all the campers and mothers together for cool down stretching and final remarks. He reiterated safety, nutrition and the priority of performance in the classroom. 
“Your education is just as important as your skills,” Streety said.


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