Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2016 31 MAKE PROPER PREPARATION PART OF YOUR GAME PLAN Football is the leading cause of school sports injuries. Proper preparation can go a long way in minimizing injuries. MAINTAIN FITNESS Be sure you are in good physical condition at the start of football season. During the off-season, stick to a balanced fitness program that incorporates aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility WARM UP AND STRETCH Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury. COOL DOWN AND STRETCH Stretching at the end of practice is too often neglected because of busy schedules. Stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible. HYDRATE Even mild levels of dehydration can hurt athletic performance. If you have not had enough fluids, your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation. A general recommendation is to drink 24 ounces of non- caffeinated fluid 2 hours before exercise. Drinking an additional 8 ounces of water or sports drink right before exercise is also helpful. While you are exercising, break for an 8 oz. cup of water every 20 minutes. Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons GLF: More attention than ever is being paid to serious ramifications of concussions. As the father of a son, what is your view on this topic? TC: Playing a position that is at high risk of head injuries and “long-term damage,” you would think that I would have reservations about my sons playing football, but it is actually quite the opposite. I think that football provides so much more upside than life-changing damage. In most leagues, coaches have to be “Heads Up” certified in order to coach. If we can just teach our children the right way to play, we can watch our kids safely play for years and years to come. GLF: Do you have a specific type of helmet that you would recommend to parents? TC: There is a universal rating system that rates all eligible football helmets that can be worn. My advice is do a little research and find which ones are rated the highest. Don’t go for the one that looks the best or which one their favorite player is wearing, equip yourself with the one that fits you the best and provides you with the most protection. GLF: Would you advise parents to have a conversation with their child’s coach? TC: Absolutely. As a parent, we should always be involved without being over- bearing. Have a conversation with the coach away from the child, maybe over email or on the phone if there isn’t a time for a face to face. Stay current with your child on what he is going through and dealing with on the field and in the locker room with his teammates. GLF: What makes a great football team? TC: A great locker room. When a football team cares about each other and is selfless, they are hard to stop. Still to this day, my favorite team I have ever played on was my high school team, senior year. We were not the biggest, not the fastest, and definitely not the most talented. But what we lacked in physical tools, we more than made up for in heart. ABOUT TYLER Tyler Clutts, 31, played defensive end for Fresno State University and began his professional career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), launching a three-and-a-half-year journey to fulfill his childhood dream of playing in the NFL. Tyler debuted in 2011 as a Fullback for the Chicago Bears. He has since played six seasons in the NFL, most recently with the Dallas Cowboys. Tyler is pictured here with his wife, Tiffany, daughter Giada (4), son Luca (2), and is expecting twins this winter. Tyler, pictured above with his family, and on left showing a few moves from his playbook to 12-year-olds Elijah Brown and Caden Parks. “There was a time that I was working three jobs and still had to sleep in my car the night before an 'open tryout' because I could not afford a hotel. I found strength in my faith, my family, and my friends.” “Football is safer today than it has ever been. To start with, coaches go through mandatory training each year to help identify any sign of a concussion. We also are constantly looking to science and technology for better equipment. As coaches who want to protect this great game, we must find new and innovative ways to continue to make it safer for our players.” - Larry Thexton Head Football Coach, Prince of Peace Christian School NOTE: POPCS is the first high school in Texas to transition to a carbon fiber and Kevlar helmet designed by Simpson and Ganassi racing and is the first of its kind to receive a 5 Star rating.