Falcons Football and Cheer Program teaches youth valuable life lessons

Camp H.O.P.E. begins this Saturday

Jason Lewis | 4/10/2014, midnight
Youth football and cheer programs have been a staple in Los Angeles’ African American community for decades, as boys learn ...
Keith Johnson talks to two young football players, teaching them the value of respecting each other.

The Falcons are also greatly concerned about the issue of concussions. Hard hits are a part of football, and it is hard for a coach to know if a player is hurt or not.

“Sometimes coaches just don’t know,” Johnson said. “They don’t know the impact of that hit. They may not even have seen the hit.”

To address this issue, the Falcons, through a partnership with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, have been able to purchase every kid in the program a Ridell Insite Impact Response System helmet. This is a high-tech helmet that has sensors that measure the impact to the brain that a collision generates. If the impact levels are above a certain threshold, coaches on the sidelines are alerted and that player will come out of the game to be looked at by the medic on the sideline.

The Falcons are one of the few programs in California that have these helmets, and to them, the greater financial cost was worth it to ensure that the boys on the field are safe. They have also changed their coaching techniques, as they teach the children to tackle without using their heads.

The Falcons are kicking off their year this Saturday, as they will host Camp H.O.P.E., which not only teaches the fundamentals of football and cheer, but through a partnership with the Los Angeles County, experts will come out and speak about juvenile obesity, diabetes, sugar content in food, what a healthy diet looks like, what should be ordered at a fast food restaurant, what sugar does in the body, and why it is important to stay away from it.

The eight-week camp is held on Saturdays at the L.A. Expo Center, which was secured through a partnership with Councilman Curren Price, from 8-10 a.m., and it is $50 for all eight weeks. Parents are asked to arrive at 7:30 a.m. for registration.

For more information, visit their website at www.fyfs.org.