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W.F. Burns Middle School parents, players hold meeting before workouts

VALLEY — Only a week after school ended, the junior Rams and parents of WF Burns Middle School met on Tuesday night at the Valley High School cafeteria to discuss the schedule for summer workouts.

The sessions will run a couple of times per week throughout the summer, beginning on June 4 at 2:30 p.m.

“It’s exciting because you get two months basically to work with kids who want to be involved in an activity,” junior Rams football coach George Grimes said. “Especially with football, so many young men get a chance to come out. They have probably dreamed about this since they were in elementary school, about finally getting a chance to play, putting on a Valley uniform, so it’s an exciting time right now. It’s a part of getting better.”

Parents and players packed the cafeteria to the point where a line grew as the meeting went on. The ground rules for the year were presented to the attendees: All physicals and paperwork must be completed soon, girdles, as well as white and blue cleats, are uniform requirements, and there are two fees that every parent must pay for a total of $70 to cover uniform and booster costs.

The junior Rams who wish to resemble NFL stars like Le’Veon Bell, Carson Wentz or Ezekiel Elliott on the field might have to wait a couple of years. No arm sleeves, leg sleeves or facemask visors without a doctor’s note are allowed to be worn while on the team. White socks are required for all players. Gloves are allowed if the player has a blue and white pair.

Over the years, states across the country have placed more regulations and laws in place to protect the players in youth football’s long-term health. After summer workouts, teams aren’t allowed to have practice until Aug. 7. The first two practices are required to be in shorts, to cut down on the amount of full-speed practices in a season.

“We have always taught our kids the fundamentals of how to do things correctly and it’s just more of an emphasis now because of the national spotlight on it,” Grimes said. “That’s a troubling thing to think about that a child can be hurt so seriously that it could affect their entire life. We try to make sure that we teach them all of the correct fundamentals and that the number one thing is safety first. We can always slow and correct what needs to be done right so no one can get seriously hurt.”

Any WF Burns parent who has a child that still wishes to play football next season can come up to Valley High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT to talk to Grimes at workouts.