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  • 01 Mar 2016 12:45 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    Posted by John Reed on Sep 03, 2015

    Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008 John T. Reed

    Every year, I hear coaches making the same mistakes. Drills that look very busy and footballish but which are a waste of time, too much standing around doing nothing in practice, not enough time spent on learning assignments for the next game, failing to scout your opponents, and many more. Study this list and make sure you spend your valuable practice time on useful stuff.

    Coachnig Youth Football
    • Having any assistant coaches who are not your brother, sister, son, father, spouse, or other close relative or longtime personal friend. About 95% of youth football head coaches make this mistake. If you have assistant coaches who played football in high school or college and who have kids on the team, most of them will argue endlessly with you about everything. The dissenters will often go against your instructions when your back is turned. Most will bad mouth you to their son and to the other parents on the team. If you miss a practice or game, these men will put in the systems and plays they want and abandon your approach while you are away. If you stand firm against some change they want, some will go to the board and try to get them to order you to do it your assistants’ way or to get you fired. Read my lips. No assistants who are not trusted relatives, proven in past coaching with you, or longtime close personal friends. See my coach staff size article. Most coaches seem to think this can’t be right. Some contact me after the season to say, “You were right. I wish I had listened to you.” Every year I hear from coaches whose main coaching problem is internal, adult politics. The best way I know to deal worth it is an ounce of prevention.
    • Wasting practice time on conditioning and low-priority drills. Instead run a no-huddle during your team periods and focus on tackling and walk-throughs when it comes to drills. You have limited time to practice with your team, so that time must be used efficiently. Running a no-huddle all practice long will allow you to get more work done while conditioning your players. See my report on the warp-speed no-huddle. An efficient practice with minimal standing-around time will take care of conditioning better than pure conditioning drills like calisthenics, gassers, running the stadium steps, grass drills, and the like. Because of limited practice time and the best players usually going both ways, youth coaches can rarely find time for drills. Teaching assignments and making sure each player knows them takes priority and consumes almost all practice time, especially early in the season.
    • Subjecting players to sadistic football rituals like leg raises or bull in the ring in the name of conditioning or toughening. The real reason is to let middle aged men impress kids with how tough the middle-aged men were when they were kids. I should sell tee shirts that say, “the older my coach gets, the better he was and the more oblivious he becomes to how little we care” to youth players
    • Taking more than 20 to 30 seconds per play in practice. The typical youth football practice features coaches talking for three to five minutes between each play while the players stand around listening or staring into space. Problems must be fixed and that takes as long as it takes, but only the coordinator in charge of the segment should talk out loud and only he should determine when the next play begins.
    • Not working out the details of blocking assignments against various defenses and making sure the players know them.
    • Failing to give centers, long snappers, holders, passers, and option quarterbacks enough reps so they can master their assigned skill. For example, each of the three strings of centers, long-snappers and QBs must get a minimum of 1,200 reps of the snap before the first game. 
    • Failure to use the best athlete on the team as the place-kick holder.
    • Failing to insist that linemen stay lower than their line opponent. This requires massive discipline efforts but there is no alternative. I generally don’t like drills but I advocate a daily one to instill this discipline.
    • 100% platooning, that is, prohibiting any players from playing both offense and defense. The best 11 should be on the field as much as permitted. Typically, that means about seven guys go both ways and you only platoon about four each on offense and defense. Platooning is generally only a college and pro thing because youth and high school teams do not have enough good athletes to platoon. It is a classic nature-versus-nurture problem. Platooning gives you more time to teach, but teaching a weak player is less effective on game day than using a less trained, but superior athlete.
    • Failing to hold a parent meeting at which you explain your offensive, defensive, and special teams schemes and policies on position assignments and playing time.
    • Failing to practice and perfect administrative duties like getting substitutes in and out of the game on time.
    • Neglecting to spend at least 15 minutes on each of the six special teams per week.
    • Ignoring the need to teach and practice clock-management techniques.
    • Killing their own drives by throwing incomplete passes or interceptions. This stems from the notion that one “must” pass about 20% to 50% of the time or risk having one’s coaching manhood questioned. That much passing is fine if your team can execute it, but throwing incompletions and interceptions is not passing. Execution means protecting the passer, which for some reason is especially hard for young players. It also means the receiver getting open fast, accurately throwing to the receiver who is typically a moving target, and catching and securing the ball. This chain of events is a tall order for both youth players and youth coaches.
    • Varying the snap count (or even having a snap count), thereby causing false starts, which, in turn, result in punting away possession of the ball on the series in which the false start occurred.
    • Failing to fix obvious problems like repeated fumbled handoffs or incomplete passes.
    • Giving prestigious positions out on the basis of nepotism rather than ability and team need.
    • Putting all good players in the backfield or at wide receiver and all weak players on the line.
    • Failing to insist on ten minutes per practice of perfectly executed form tackling.
    • Failing to insist that kickoff and punt returners catch the kick in the air whenever possible.
    • Failing to scout upcoming opponents.
    • Running practice scrimmages against your own offense and defense. The one team I guarantee you will not face during the season is your own. You should never run your offense against your defense with the possible exception of an initial scrimmage or two where you are evaluating your players abilities to execute your schemes and you do not yet have scouting information on upcoming opponents. I am talking about the scheme, not the personnel. When you are practicing offense, have your defense line up in the upcoming opponent’s defense, not yours. Ditto when you are practicing defense. Have your offense line up in the upcoming opponent’s formations and run their plays.
    • Failing to videotape all games and some practices, identify problem areas, and fix them.
    • Putting undisciplined good athletes at contain on defense instead of disciplined players.
    • Kicking off and punting to the opponents’ best running backs.
    • Letting receivers backpedal or do 360-degree spins when trying to catch long passes. Just run under it.
    • Letting players hit full speed and tackle to the ground in practice. A month or two of full-speed hitting is necessary to get rookies over their fear of hitting. Veterans need to show the rookies what hitting looks like and feels like. One or two sessions of full-speed hitting are also necessary to ascertain which players belong in the offensive and defensive line and who wants to make tackles. But full-speed hitting should generally be eliminated from practice by the end of the second month. Our first game of the season in 2005 at the freshman high school level was against an inner city team. Their head coach had stepped down after years of being the varsity head coach. He believed in emphasizing hitting. About three-quarters of our players had played youth soccer, never football. They hit the crap out of our kids. I was afraid that our players were going to go into the fetal position. I did not emphasize hitting. To my pleasant surprise, our guys were so disciplined about their assignments that we won the game by a large margin. The game is about assignments, not hitting, although I must add that our kids got pissed and were hitting back as hard as they were getting hit by the end of the game. Bravo! After the game, I made a point of repeating that the game is about assignments and moving the chains and scoring, not a hitting contest.
    • Accepting penalties as an inevitable part of football, or, worse, as a welcome sign of aggressiveness. You will generally be forced to punt or turn the ball over on downs in the same series that you draw a penalty on offense. On defense, penalties enable an opponent who was about to have to punt to you to keep the ball for four more downs.
    • Having too many plays, formations, and defenses. You should have about four to twelve plays (the older the players, the more plays), one or two offensive formations, and one or two defenses. You do not need more and it will be a bear just to teach that many.
    • Failing to give your defense enough practice stopping the most difficult plays: sweep, reverse, fake reverse, counter, slant pass, halfback pass.
    • Substituting minimum-play players as an entire 11-man unit (usually with a non-minimum-play quarterback and running back). Minimum-play players should only be substituted one at a time at flanker (split end if you are using a full-house backfield offense like the double-wing or wishbone) on offense or interior line on defense. An entire offensive unit of minimum-play players will almost invariably go three and out, often losing yards in the process. You only get 6 to 10 possessions a game. An all-MPP defense often gives up a touchdown on every play.
    • Assigning the most junior, inexperienced coach to the offensive line. That was my first assignment when I first started coaching. In my final years, I also coached the offensive line myself as head coach, but then I did it because I had figured out that it is the most important unit and the one most in need of coaching.
    • Thinking that if the players do it, I must drill it. Very few things need to be drilled. See my article on drills.
    • Looking for excuses for losing instead of trying to find ways to win. I am starting a collection of youth-football-coach excuses for losing. If you have heard one not included in this list, please send it to me.

    Youth-football-coach excuses for losing

    • We’re slower than other teams
    • Our kids have not been toughened by living in a high-crime neighborhood
    • We have too much recruiting competition from soccer in our area
    • We’re too small
    • I have too many kids who are on Ritalin
    • We don’t have a winning tradition
    • We are a 13-year-old team in a Jewish area and many players miss many Saturday games to attend their own or each other’s Bar Mitzvahs (Sounds like a legit excuse. I just thought it was interesting. And you thought you had problems!)
    • What do you expect from a bunch of mamma's boy's that have never gotten into a fight before...

    Never say or tolerate statements which follow the format: “We have no hope of winning because of the following facts which are outside of our control:__________.” Either focus on finding ways to win among the things which are in your control or get out of the way and let someone else do it.

    I attended several youth practices just to observe. Except for visiting the practices of a four-time Pop Warner world champion coach, I have not been to another coach’s youth practice since 1989. I was appalled.

    My impression is that the vast majority of youth coaches have no clue what they are doing. What they do appears to be a crude recreation of their high-school or college football program, only they forgot the nitty-gritty details. All they remember are the daily rituals like conditioning and drills. They mimic the way football coaches used to talk thirty years ago, spouting tough-guy clichés right and left. “Ya gotta stick yer nose in there!” or “Lay the wood on ’im!”

    They run conditioning drills whose main purpose appears to be to cause the players to feel pain and wish the drill was over. They run football-related drills heedless of whether any of their plays or defenses calls for the skill being practiced or whether the players have already mastered the skill in question. They run excruciatingly slow scrimmage periods where the team might run five plays in twenty minutes. They are blind to the fact that half their players do not know their blocking assignments and move on to the next play even though the last one was a disaster.

    At pre-season football camps, players often put on an end-of-camp skit in which they impersonate their various coaches. The typical youth-football practice truly bears more resemblance to such skits than it does to a well-coached high-school or higher level practice.

    If you have no training at football coaching, at least use common sense. Youth football starts with a play, not with conditioning or drills or fundamentals. Put in your first play first. Then, run it and see if it is going smoothly. If the center and quarterback fumble the snap, which they will, they need to step aside and practice that. If a handoff is being fumbled, the personnel in question must step aside and practice that. Set up a scout defense and walk through the play over and over until every single offensive player is absolutely sure whom he blocks against each potential defense. Finally, run it live against a scout defense and watch closely. When there is a breakdown, find out what caused it before you proceed. Fix that problem immediately. It may require a different player in a key position, or a drill to improve technique, or a change in the way the play is run. The main point is put in your play and perfect it before you move on to the second play or defense. That will force you to do some drills and other coaching. But only do the drills you are forced to do in order to make the particular play work. No way do you have time to do generic drills for no reason other than you did them when you were in high school.

  • 01 Mar 2016 12:04 PM | William Lee (Administrator)
    Written by Dave on December 14th, 2010

    Stumbling Gorillas

    At both the AYF and Pop Warner National Championships there are many very good youth football teams that have dominated their opponents throughout the season. Several coaches I spoke to quoted their impressive records and point totals that bordered on the absurd. One coach was 15-0 with a 510-6 point total, another was 14-0 with a 456-14 point total.

    While this isn’t necessarily the rule, there were plenty of teams that for whatever reason had ruled their fiefdoms with an iron fist and had experienced very little adversity prior to the tournament. Several coaches told me they had not punted at all the entire season, several others mentioned they had punted 2 times or fewer. At least 30 coaches said they had not trailed in a game all year. I like to call these teams “gorilla” teams, they rule the jungle and have no legitimate threat to their control of their jungle. They dominate their competition and many times they face teams that are defeated mentally before they ever take the field, due to the gorilla teams appearance or the gorilla teams reputation.

    However, when most gorilla teams get to Florida, they find there are other gorillas just as talented as themselves who have little or no fear of facing other gorillas. I saw one gorilla Pee Wee team at the Pop Warner tournament, seemingly well coached on both offense and defense and with very good athletes, struggle to move the ball against another gorilla team. On their first punt, they barely got it off and it went just 12 yards, giving their opponent very good field position. On their next punting situation- 4th and 6 from their own 40, they decided to go for it and didn’t make it. On the next possession on 4th and 7 they booted a 14 yard kick. On another possession, they had 4th and 9 and faked the punt, it was an awful attempt, both the kicker and the player they were short snapping to were just a yard apart, it fooled no one and the snap was bad, the other team recovered and went in to score. On their last punting situation, they were 4th and 11 from their own 20 yard line. Since they punted so poorly and their fakes were just as bad, they decided to go for it and were stuffed to seal their fate.

    This game was being played on one side of the field for the entire game due to poor punting of the one team and pretty good punting by the opponent. The opposing team was consistently getting 30 yards on their punts or were just going for it on fourth down because of the field position they had. The winning team was able to take a few more chances due to field position, whereas the losing team couldn’t dig very deep into their playbook.  In the end the punting game was the deciding factor in this game which was decided by one touchdown.

    Neither team was able to move the ball very well, but on each exchange the one team was gaining 20 yards or more of field position, which in the end won them the game. It was very obvious the losing team had not punted much during their season if at all. They didn’t need to, but they had obviously failed to perfect it for the day they might need it.

    The same is true of some blocking scheme adjustments. Like any youth football league with about 100 teams, our league has very good teams, good teams, average teams and poor teams, the coaching runs the gamut. Depending on the schedule, we may have a good number of teams where we can run our base 12-14 plays with our regular blocking rules and schemes and win handily if we execute well and our players technique and effort are near potential. However there are always teams that are bigger, faster and better than us on the schedule, if not during the regular season, then in the playoffs or when we play out of conference in tournaments. Against the teams you bully, things like traps, influence plays, false pulls, wrong waying, key breaker plays or screens may not be effective at all. When you play teams that have players that do not play aggressively or are not coached well, those type of plays or tactics often times fail miserably, because those players are going to respond and play differently than well coached or aggressive players. The danger is, once you run a wrong way pull or key breaker play and it doesn’t work well against the weaker team, the coaching staff and players lose confidence in the play or adjustment and it is either put on the backburner or tosses altogether.

    In many leagues the rules also prevent you from developing your teams for title runs. Many leagues mercy rules prevent you from working and developing aspects of your game that you will need once you are playing on a bigger stage. There are very few teams that are winning National Championships without a legitimate pass threat or great special teams. I’m not talking about going Air Raid and throwing 70% of the time, I’m talking about being able to threaten the field with the potential of a completed pass that will net 20 yards or more. In many leagues once you are up by 3-4 touchdowns you are not allowed to throw the football. These mercy rules are well intended and needed in many places where coaches are out of control, but they can also hinder team development.

    What to do? If you think your team can be a league or National Title contender, you have to perfect parts of the game that you may not need until you face another gorilla. You MUST perfect those parts of the game you didn’t need to beat the weaker or average opponent with, that means committing practice time to it. If you have a title contending youth football team, you may need to play a game within a game. To work on your punting game, when ahead by 3-4 scores, go ahead and punt on third down to get the practice. In games where you feel confident your team has the upper hand, start throwing the ball earlier than you normally do or on downs you normally wouldn’t throw the ball on. Use your influence or false pulls/wrong waying even though your base plays are working extremely well. Keep the end goal in mind which is not only beating your opponent today, but winning the last game against another gorilla. If you are controlling the game on offense, put your weaker players in earlier on defense to keep the score differential tight enough not to go into mercy rule so you can work on your offense and special teams. I don’t get caught up in the final score, I could care less about shut outs, my goal is to prepare the team to it’s full potential and to win that final big game.

    To win on the big stage, in most cases you are going to need all the tricks in your bag to beat the other gorillas in the jungle. Before every game take a few moments off to the side away from everything to think about your end goals, don’t get caught up in the moment and excitement of the game that day. Write some of the things you need to work on, on your play sheet to help remind you. My game three sheet said: Punt, Wrong, Burst 43 G, Buck, Smoke Pass, all things we were going to need later in the season. There were spots in that game where I was able to work in all five of those points of emphasis. When you get to that final game you will be glad you invested the time to fully prepare for that opponent, often times it will be the difference maker.

    Copyright 2010 Cisar Management, all rights reserved. This article may be republished but only if this paragraph and link are included. http://winningyouthfootball.com

  • 24 Feb 2016 12:43 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    SFIA Football Glove Specification Program

    By NFHS on February 19, 2016 football


    Sports governing bodies including the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as a number of youth leagues require that football gloves used during game play meet certain performance standards. These performance standards ensure the glove does not give the player an unfair advantage in controlling the football.

    The new SFIA Football Glove & Hand Pad Specification meets the requirements set forth by both the NFHS and NCAA.

    Exponent, a certified ISO 9001 firm with over 90 scientific and engineering disciplines, staff of approximately 900, located in 20 offices throughout the United States and 5 international offices, is the independent lab that will verify gloves certified to the SFIA specification meet the requirements of those specifications.

    All brands and models of gloves listed on this page have met the SFIA Football Glove & Hand Pad performance specification that certifies the gloves are legal for use in game play sanctioned by the NFHS, the NCAA and youth leagues. All products that have met the SFIA Football Glove performance specification will possess the mark (as depicted to the right) on the glove and on merchandise packaging.

    Visit the SFIA Football Glove and Hand Pad Specification page.

  • 24 Feb 2016 12:27 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    Article from NFHS.org

    By Cody Porter on February 17, 2016 football article


    The elimination of clipping from high school football is the latest attempt to reduce the risk of injury made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee.

    The decision to eliminate clipping in the free-blocking zone (Rule 2-17-3) was the most significant of three rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

    “With very few major rules changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee for the 2016 season, it indicates that the committee feels that the rules of the game are in pretty good shape,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

    Clipping, as previously stated in Rule 2-17-3, was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

    “The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s action this year on making clipping illegal in the free-blocking zone once again reinforces its continued effort to minimize risk within the game,” Colgate said.

    “I look forward to ongoing conversations about how best to limit exposure to harm within the free-blocking zone and in situations involving defenseless players,” said Brad Garrett, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association.

    Other changes for the 2016 season will include those made to football protective equipment and gloves in Rules 1-5-1d(5)a and 1-5-2b.

    “The committee expanded the options on what can now be worn as a legal tooth and mouth protector and also football gloves,” Colgate said.

    Tooth and mouth protectors that are completely clear or completely white are no longer illegal. Rule 1-5-1d(5)a continues to require that tooth and mouth protectors include an occlusal (protecting and separating the biting surfaces) portion and a labial (protecting the teeth and supporting structures) portion, and that they cover the posterior teeth with adequate thickness.

    In Rule 1-5-2b, football gloves are now required to meet either the new Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) specifications or the existing National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) test standard at the time of manufacture.

    “I give my compliments to the voting members of the NFHS Football Rules Committee as they continue to put the health and safety of student-athletes at the forefront of all committee discussions regarding the future of the game,” Garrett said.

    A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”

    According to the 2014-15 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,617 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,938 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 1,698 girls participated in football during the 2014-15 season.

  • 12 Feb 2016 1:19 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    Click here for full story.

    Starting with the Fall 2015 Season, a Ohio youth football league has gone to State ID cards as their source for player age and identity.  Click the aboe link to view the full story.

  • 09 Feb 2016 12:29 PM | William Lee (Administrator)
    by Becky McKenzie December 2015

    LexisNexis(R) logoAthleticBusiness.com has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

    Copyright 2015 The Durham Herald Co.
    All Rights Reserved

    The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)


    It's a beautiful autumn afternoon. There's a chill in the air, and the school bleachers are filled with football fans cheering for the hometown team. I wouldn't miss this game. I came to watch my 12-year-old nephew play in the youth football championship game.

    The game was competitive, but resulted in a tough loss for the hometown team. My nephew was disappointed the season was over. From August through October he lives and breathes football. But frankly, I am relieved to see the youth football season come to an end.

    As a registered nurse with 30 years of experience, I am well aware of the recent publicity surrounding football injuries. I've read the many stories about the danger of concussion injuries sustained while playing youth and high school football.

    Related: As Concerns Grow, Experts Seek to Make Prep Football Safer

    Neurologists have voiced concerns over the possible risks for long-term brain damage as a result of repeated hits to the head. In the past three months, eight high school football players have died of blunt force head injuries sustained during a game.

    Despite the risk of serious injury, football is one of our country's most popular sports. There are about 3 million youth football players nationwide, and 1.1 million high school football players. According to JAMA Pediatrics, 1 in 30 football players ages 5 to 15 will sustain a concussion per season. This risk is higher in high-school-aged players, with a rate of 1 in 14. According to the study, youth and high school football players suffer concussions more frequently than knee sprains and fractures.

    Riddell manufactures a football helmet with built-in sensors designed to alert coaches to the severity and frequency of impacts to the head. But these sensors may provide a false sense of security. Last month, a Riddell InSite Impact Response sensor failed to recognize the intensity of a hit, and a California high school player collapsed from a brain injury and remains in a coma.

    Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations: better training for players and coaches, proper tackling techniques, and the use of skilled athletic trainers to reduce injuries for young athletes. But perhaps the largest investment in safety has been in educating coaches. The "Heads Up Football" program, for instance, begun in 2012, has made dramatic improvements with reducing youth football injuries over the past three years.

    Youth football leagues adopting "Heads Up Football" typically have a 76 percent reduction in injuries compared to non-"Heads Up Football" leagues. "Heads Up Football" leagues had a 34 percent reduction in concussions in practices and a 29 percent reduction during games. Less than 10 percent of youth football players in "Heads Up Football" leagues sustained an injury in the 2014 season.

    More than 160,000 coaches are now certified through "Heads Up." Coaches are taught how to fit each player properly for helmets, shoulder pads and other protective equipment and to ensure the equipment is in working order. Training also includes emergency first responder medical treatment for injuries that may occur, including concussion awareness, heat exhaustion and cardiac arrest.

    There are 10,000 youth football programs in the U.S. Last year, 35 percent of the youth football programs did not participate in USA Football's "Heads Up" program. According to interviews with "Heads Up" certified coaches, the reasons often cited for not participating include lack of buy-in and support from the local community, lack of awareness of the benefits of the program, and opposition to change - "fear of changing the game."

    But the costs for the "Heads Up" program are minimal. The group rate cost for a youth program is $10 a coach. The online training may take a few hours.

    I believe every youth playing football should have the benefit of a coach and program that's invested in proper safety training and education.

    So with this year's football season coming to a close, I challenge the 3,500 youth football programs that have not adopted "Heads Up Football" to use the winter months to prepare for next football season by committing to the training. And for the parents of children wanting to play youth football, confirm that your local youth football league is a participant in the "Football Heads Up" program.

    Becky McKenzie, MBA, MSN, RN is employed at Duke University Hospital in perioperative services, and is a doctor of nursing practice student at Duke University School of Nursing.


    December 2, 2015





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  • 08 Feb 2016 12:45 PM | William Lee (Administrator)

    BEACHWOOD, Ohio-- “I will never see my son pitch another ball.”

    That from Amy Baca of Willowick, whose only son, Colin, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition during a routine physical.

    Speaking from their doctor's office in Beachwood, Amy said her 15-year-old son had been a star baseball, basketball and soccer player throughout most of his childhood.

    But the February diagnosis would change his life forever.

    Baca said, "It was very scary in the beginning because it was such a new diagnosis to us. Colin has always been one of the most healthy children."

    Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Cardiologist Doctor Kenneth Zahka said underlying heart murmurs are common in young people.

    But Zahka said Colin’s was different, adding, "When we listened to him, we were also concerned. What was causing the heart murmur? And we did some tests and showed the reason he had his heart murmur because he has abnormal heart muscle and that abnormal heart muscle is called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy."

    Doctors said it is now a very busy time of year for sports physicals, as required by Ohio state guidelines and they could mean a matter of life or death.

    If Colin’s condition had gone undetected, it could have proven fatal.

    Colin’s diagnosis is not only a wakeup call for him, but for his entire family as well.

    His parents and older sister are now all being tested to see if they too, have any type of heart conditions.

    Amy said, "There's so many different genes they can test for, that they test the most popular ones just to be on the safe side. So our daughter was cleared today. So she's good."

    Amy and her husband will undergo genetic testing in the fall.

    Meantime, Colin will be a sophomore at North High School in Eastlake in a few days and is already looking forward to learning more about his new passion: playing golf.

    Doctors say abnormal heart conditions can happen to anyone, no matter the age. And while it can be treated through medications or surgery, there is no cure.

    *See Colin's visit on FOX 8 News in the Morning.*

    See the Fox 8 Story

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