Football Coaches

Donnie Lindberger, USA Football master trainer, left, and Kevin Lynott Jr. demonstrate a drill at Middletown High Monday night during a coaches clinic.

MIDDLETOWN — After five years of traveling the country in his spare time as a master trainer for USA Football, Kevin Lynott was finally back on home turf Monday night.

Back in front of familiar faces at Middletown High School, where he served nine years as the school’s varsity football coach and led the Knights to three state titles and 36 consecutive wins, Lynott conducted a Heads Up Football training session to promote safe tackling and good health for high school players.

The clinic was attended by more than 60 football coaches employed by Frederick County Public Schools, including the majority of the 10 varsity head coaches, most of whom are friends and former coaching rivals of Lynott’s.

The coaches went through three hours of online training prior to Monday’s four-hour session at Middletown, which featured a demonstration of safe tackling techniques by one of the top tackling instructors in USA Football, master trainer Donnie Lindberger, a varsity assistant football coach at Perkiomen Valley High School outside of Philadelphia.

“We realized there are mixed messages being sent out about football, and that coaches need to be certified [with the Heads Up program],” Lynott said. “Parents need to know the game is safe for their kids. That was the initiative with this.”

As a result of this training, Frederick County is the first Maryland school district to enroll in the Heads Up program, which is gradually expanding across the country.

“We know that no sport is [completely] safe,” said Kevin Kendro, the supervisor of athletics and extra curricular activities for FCPS who attended Monday’s training. “But we are trying to make all of our sports safer, and, tonight, we made the game of football safer.”

Lynott has been doing similar types of clinics across the country for USA Football for the past five years. After realizing Frederick County Public Schools was not yet certified with Heads Up, he reached out to Kendro about putting on Monday’s program at Middletown.

He said he does eight to 10 training sessions per year, mostly in the Maryland, Pennsylvania and D.C. region. Occasionally, he will be a part of one in North Carolina or another part of the country.

“We have been trying for two years to get it here [in Frederick County]. Finally, it is. Sometimes, it takes a while with all of the paperwork and stuff,” Lynott said. “Every time I do one of these, I get so much energy from the coaches. I see a lot of them saying, ‘Hey, I am going to to this better, and I am going to do that better.’”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

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