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Local youth football league teaches coaches and players safety first

The Tri-County Youth Football League offers youth football for kids in the 5 to 12 age range to teach the kids about the contact sport safely.

KILGORE, Texas — Participation in youth sports has grown over the years. While many parents think the competitiveness of sports allows their child to exercise and learn to work as a team, there's still the fear of a child being injured.

That's why the Tri-County Youth Football League doesn't just teach the players about proper technique and safety.

"We have a coaches clinic at the beginning of each season," said Kevin Tinney, league president. "I get information from our (Kilgore) high school athletic trainer. We also do an online of USA football coaches clinic, which teaches you know how to recognize safety."

The league is made up of 18 teams made up of kids ages 5 to 12.

"(The teams) are all here in East Texas, from Texarkana all the way down to Palestine," said the league president.

Tinney is also the coach for the Kilgore Bulldogs, which play in the sophomore division.

Credit: Tri-County Youth Football League

He says the first thing he does with his players is get to know them.

"We make them feel comfortable, we talk to them, get to know them that way they're listening whenever we're teaching," Tinney said.

On the field, the Bulldog's coach can be heard reminding players about technique and to keep their heads up.

"If you're not blocking properly, or you're not tackling properly, not only can you hurt the other player, but you can hurt yourself as well," he explained. "Do everything with your head up to where you can see, never lead with your head when trying to make a tackle."

With about half of the season left, none of the Kilgore Bulldog's have had any injuries this season.

"At any level kids can get hurt, we're not out here to get kids hurt," Tinney said. "We're out here to teach them and help them have to have fun."