By Jeremy Joffray ~ Southeast Missourian
The first time a boy brings up the subject of playing football, often times the possibility of injury is the first thing that comes to a parent's mind.
Having an understanding of the game and the equipment players use to protect themselves can go a long way to easing those fears. Those are just a couple of the areas Central coaches explore in their annual Mom's Football Clinic which took place Saturday at Central High School.
"We're shown the equipment and how much care is taken to make sure our kids are not injured," said Cathy Matthews, who's son Andy will be a senior this season.
The clinic is now in its eighth year, after Central coach Lawrence Brookins brought it with him from Columbia, Mo. To Brookins' knowledge, this is the only such event in this part of the state.
"I think this is worth while, and my coaching staff enjoys it," Brookins said.
Mom's Day uses a mix of classroom and field exercises to give mothers a broad understanding of the game of football. The day starts with outside speakers, such as a referee to explain how the rules keep players safe, or a member of HealthSouth to explain the ways to prevent and treat injuries.
The event also allows each coach to explain his area of specialty. Mothers are shown basic positions on the field, and even are shown basic plays and what each player's responsibilities are during that play.
"I really learned a lot," Candi Brazil said, who's son Jake will be a sophomore. "I appreciate now all he'll have to study just for football."
After the mothers get to see some plays on the chalkboard, it's off to the practice field to put their knowledge to the test. Central's coaches run the mothers through some basic drills, and even line them up for a couple of plays.
Brookins said he thinks the mothers, if nothing else, can leave feeling like they know a little more about football.
"We're letting them experience what their kids go through," he said.
Beyond the technical aspects, the clinic gives the mothers a chance to get to know each other. For 10 weeks this fall the faces they see at the clinic will become a familiar sight.
"There's a real camaraderie there," Matthews said.
Added Brazil, "It's our social life for the next couple of months."