For Donald Davis, coaching football is more than winning and losing on Friday nights. It’s about the future of his players on and off the field.
“It’s really, really important for us to be on the cutting edge and know how to keep them safe as they play the game,” said the Calvert Hall College High School head coach.
Davis has been coaching for 17 years. He’s taken his job to another level just over the past four, since he got involved with USA Football’s “Heads Up” program.
“A lot of it is just based around safety for young people. That’s really why I got involved,” said Davis. “It’s a great thing to grow our sport. It’s a wonderful sport, football. But one of the things we want to do in its growth is make sure we keep the players safe.”
The “Heads Up” program aims to make football a better, safer game by teaching proper tackling techniques, concussion awareness and equipment fitting. Davis is a USA Football Master Trainer. That means not only is he teaching his own players about these issues, he’s traveling around the globe teaching other coaches how to properly relay these tips to their own teams. He is one of only two Master Trainers in the Baltimore area and one of only 99 in the country.
“In a sense, the Master Trainers are ambassadors of the game. Some of the people that are in that cohort with me are some of the best and brightest minds in football in the country,” said Davis. “ We’ve traveled the world. I’ve been all the way to South Korea. We traveled both coasts, up and down the east coast, west coast, to the Midwest, and really what we’re about is education.”
“Not everybody has that resource like Coach Davis,” said Calvert Hall linebacker Chance Campbell. “I know that everything that he tells you, you can trust.”
With concussion awareness on the rise, Davis believes the work he’s doing will last for years to come.
“We want to affect young people in a positive way but we know that that has a domino effect,” said Davis. “If you affect a young person in a positive way, you can affect their family. You can affect communities. As a coach that outweighs any wins you can get, any accolades that come as a coach. The ability to affect people’s lives in a positive way is what makes coaching in any sport, and at any level, special.”