Clevleand Browns front $2K for safety training, Comets’ Casey Wolf wants ice hockey back

By Jason Hawk -

The Cleveland Browns are serious about preventing head injuries — and they’re putting up $2,000 to help the Comets do so.

The award is part of the National Football League’s Heads Up program.

“We send a coach from our staff to the Heads Up training, they become the Heads Up coach for our teams, and they come back and teach our coaches,” said Amherst Schools athletic director Casey Wolf.

Training will be done in 2016 and will focus on limiting both concussions and debilitating neck injuries.

Wolf said when tackling it’s important to keep eyes up. When players rush in with eyes on the ground, it’s a recipe for disaster.

“A lot of times when you see these injuries in the NFL when they’re seriously injured they’re going in with their head down,” he said. “Our coaches do everything in their power to teach kids to do it the right way.”

The $2,000 prize will be used to buy helmets and shoulder pads as old protective gear is cycled out of service.

A representative from Riddell Sports helps Comets coaches look over equipment each year. What is deemed deficient due to wear and tear is taken out of commission.

There are also limits to how long equipment can be worn. For example, helmets can’t be used more than 10 seasons, said Wolf.

Ultimately, football is a rough game and concussions are going to happen, he said. But having up-to-date equipment and using the best training techniques will go a long way toward increasing safety on the field.

In other Amherst sports news, Wolf is intent on reviving the Comets varsity ice hockey team.

An initial meeting was held this past week to gauge interest at Steele High School, and eight prospective players came forward. Wolf said he suspects there are more at Amherst Junior High School.

Parents and students have expressed a desire to see the team return to the rink. Wolf said ideally he would have 13 players and two goalies, but few Southwestern Conference teams have rosters that large.

For the team to be sustainable, it needs to have 10 or more players each season.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk