Aidan Pieper comes back strong from injury
Even though he’s only 10 years old, Aidan Pieper can’t wait to get back to playing football.
Pieper has been playing the sport since he was 4 years old, but he was sidelined for almost the entire 2013 season after breaking his collarbone while playing quarterback for the Burlington CYFL Panthers outside of Chicago.
“I got hurt in a scrimmage, and even though I would go to practice I really didn’t like being out at all,” Pieper said. “I really want to play in a game.”
The Panthers’ season is right around the corner, so Pieper will soon be getting his wish. And even though the collarbone injury held him out last year, Pieper is going to be ready to roll when he gets back on the field for Burlington.
Second at Duel
At the Duel last month, Pieper didn’t show any rust while placing second in the Class of 2022 competition. He was invited to NFA’s annual showcase event in Massillon, Ohio, after training with Coach Steve Gregory’s Quarterback Farm in Illinois the past two years.
“I thought attending the Duel was really interesting,” Pieper said. “Most importantly, I went there to have fun. It was a great experience and it helped me in many ways. It helped make me a better player and I made a few new friends, too.”
Finishing second in his age group against QBs from around the country is an impressive feat, and Pieper was a bit surprised. “My goal was probaby to make it to the Gauntlet,” he said. “But doing so well, I think it’s really going to help my confidence. And I think it will help me play better when I get on the football field.”
Pieper has been playing quarterback for six years, and he understands the importance of continually working on his game. In addition to NFA and the Quarterback Farm, he trains at Proforce.
“I’ve just always liked playing quarterback,” Pieper said. “I like being able to be in control of the offense. I like the leadership part of it, and I like to throw and run the ball, too. But the main thing with playing quarterback is it’s fun.”
Work in progress
As he prepares for another season with the Panthers, Pieper will continue working on his game, and that means continuing his throwing sessions with his dad, Ben.
“One thing I need to work on is my freezing,” Pieper said. “Coach Gregory teaches us that after we throw the ball, we need to freeze. So after you throw, you want to stay frozen for a couple seconds. I need to work on that. He also told us to aim small and miss small. Basically, he wants our eyes on target of where we want the ball to be.”
As he showed at the Duel, Pieper likes to compete and do as well as possible. But he also plays football for another right reason.
“My goals are to have fun, play great and just do the best I can,” Pieper said. “I go out there for competition, but I want to have fun.”