With the players and numerous teams in the Gwinnett Football League beginning preparations for the 2009 season today, the teams' trainers won't be far behind.
The league's annual mandatory Parent Trainer's clinic will take place Saturday at Brookwood High School, with approximately 250 to 300 trainers - including two from each of the GFL's eighth-grade level teams - expected to be in attendance.
For the fourth straight year, the GFL will be partnering with Gwinnett Medical Center in helping to prepare team trainers to deal with the unique health issues of their young players.
"They (GMC) put on a first-class training seminar," GFL president Erik Richards said. "And it's always fresh every year. It's always informative. Every year, 255 to 300 trainers all walk out of it saying it was better than the year before."
The seminar, which is set to last from
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., will include discussion of a variety of issues ranging from heat-related issues - always a strong topic in the summer in the deep South - to concussions and head and neck injuries to sprains and fractures to youth cardiac issues.
The latter subject is likely to particularly hit home with the trainers.
The clinic occurs almost a year to the day of the death of 13-year-old Jahceem Xavier following a practice of the Shiloh seventh-grade team. That represented the absolute worst-case scenario, but one Richards wants his trainers to be as prepared as possible to deal with.
"God forbid we have an incident like we did last year," Richards said. "That was everybody's worst nightmare, but we want to have anybody trained for something like that just in case."
Richards was hoping to have the trainer's clinic the same weekend as the GFL's coaching clinic, though logistics forced the former to run last weekend.
"We had 500 coaches, and we couldn't pack them all in with the 250 to 300 trainers in the same place," Richards said. "We were kind of limited with our resources."