Dolphins, Stoneman Douglas football players unite to host free youth football clinic
Right tackle Sam Young, who grew up in South Florida, volunteered because he wanted to help his neighbors. Young was among a handful of Miami Dolphins players and alumni at Sunday’s free youth football clinic, held in conjunction with players from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School football team.
“It’s great,” Young said of the event, which involved about 50 varsity and junior varsity players from Stoneman Douglas helping kids ages 7-16 work on football skills at Pine Trails Park.
“It’s a great way to get everyone out in the community and just kind of help bring the community around something positive. You’ve got some members of the Douglas football team out here. It’s great to see them having some fun. I’m happy to be a part of an organization that’s helping to rebuild, helping do this for this community.”
Young attended St. Thomas High School and lived on the border between Coral Springs and Parkland. He played Little League baseball nearby and had basketball practice for his travel team at Douglas High. He said he had a bunch of friends that attended Douglas.
“I consider it part of the community I grew up in,” he said.
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Douglas football coach Willis May, who lost two members of the athletic department among the 17 people who were killed in the mass shooting at the school on Feb. 14 in assistant coach Aaron Feis and athletic director Chris Hixon, expressed his gratitude to the Dolphins for conducting the youth clinic, specifically former tight end Troy Drayton, manager of youth programs, and former linebacker Twan Russell, youth programs ambassador.
“They’ve done so much for our kids since the tragedy three weeks ago,” Mays said. “This is just awesome for our younger kids. We forget about them sometimes. They’re the brothers and the sisters, their older siblings are at the high school and they’re bringing that stuff home every day.
“To have the guys get a break, too, and enjoy and not have to go through the sadness that they’ve been going through the last three weeks, to have a day like this, it’s awesome, it’s a blessing.”
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Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod was unsure whether he’d be in town to attend the clinic. But once he knew he’d be here, he volunteered.
Bushrod said students have gained his attention by the way they have handled themselves since the tragedy.
“I thought it’s been pretty impressive,” he said. “When you talk about change you need all different aspects, people from all different avenues to talk about it. And you have such a young group who are as passionate as they are about some of the issues that we have going on and some of the things that we need to just go back and look over and make sure that we’re doing our due diligence in some of these aspects, it’s pretty impressive the fact that they can come together the way that they have. They’re letting their voice be heard.”
The clinic was also held in conjunction with the Coconut Creek High School Student Government, Gold Coast Pop Warner and Parkland Rangers of Gold Coast Pop Warner Free Football Clinic.