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SmartTeams Play Safe™ 2014 Summit To Present Health & Safety Best Practices

Top experts to give "Ted-talk" presentations, take a holistic approach to youth sports safety

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Sheila M. Green

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Boston Summit to Highlight Youth Sports Safety Best Practices

Concord, MA, August 25, 2014: Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center will be the site for a groundbreaking youth sports health and safety summit on Monday, September 15, 2014.  Sponsored by MomsTEAM Institute, a leading youth sports health and safety think tank and watchdog group, the SmartTeams Play Safe™: Protecting the Health & Safety of the Whole Child In Youth Sports By Implementing Best Practices summit will feature a series of educational, "TED-talk"-style presentations by nationally-recognized clinicians, researchers and youth sports safety advocates.  In sharp contrast to symposiums, which focus on identifying the problems the nation confronts in making youth sports safer, the SmartTeams Play Safe™ summit will put knowledge into action, offering youth sports programs a set of concrete steps that they can take to help young athletes play safe by being smart.

The day-long event will take a holistic approach to youth sports safety which addresses not just a child’s physical safety, but emotional, psychological and sexual safety as well, and will show how, by following best practices, youth sports programs can stem the rising tide of injuries that have become an all-too-common and unfortunate by-product of today’s hyper-competitive, overspecialized, and over-commercialized youth sports environment.

Among the national experts slated to appear are:

  • Brooke de Lench, producer, THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer (PBS) and author of Home Team Advantage.
  • Brian Hainline, MD, Chief Medical Officer, National Collegiate Athletic Association
  • Douglas Casa, Ph.D, ATC, FACSM, FNATA, professor, Department of Kinesiology and Chief Operating Officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut
  • Rosalind Wiseman, best-selling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes and Masterminds & Wingmen
  • Lyle Micheli, MD, Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School; O'Donnell Family Professor of Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Director, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital
  • Jim MacDonald, MD, M.P.H., FASFP, FACSM, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Ohio State University, and a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio
  • Joe Ehrman, former player, National Football League, and author of InSide Out Coaching
  • Neehru Jayanthi, MD, USPTA, associate professor, family medicine and orthopedic surgery & rehabilitation, Loyola Stritch School of Medicine

Among the topics these national experts will discuss are:

  • Sport-related concussion best practices
  • The evolving landscape of youth sports safety
  • Injury prevention strategies in youth sports
  • Reducing injury risk in youth football
  • Cognitive rest and return to learn
  • Gender influences on sport-related concussions and outcomes
  • Preventing sudden death in young athletes
  • Cost-effective youth sports injury prevention
  • Overuse injuries, early specialization, and burnout
  • Bullying, emotional and psychological injury prevention
  • InSideOut Coaching: transforming the lives of young athletes
  • Preventing sexual abuse of youth athletes
  • Role of game officials in injury prevention
  • The power of the permit in youth sports safety

The summit will also mark the launch of pilot programs in six communities around the country – each coordinated by a university-based athletic training educator, clinician and researcher – designed to test MomsTEAM’s innovative SmartTeam™ program.  Modeled on the community-centric approach to improving youth sports safety highlighted in MomsTEAM’s PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer", the program will award SmartTeam status to youth sports organizations which have demonstrated a commitment to minimizing the risk of physical, psychological and sexual injury to young athletes by implementing a comprehensive set of health and safety best practices, providing safety-conscious sports parents a level of assurance that they have made health and safety an important priority, not to be sacrificed at the altar of team or individual success.

"The purpose of this event is to demonstrate to parents, coaches, administrators, and health care professionals that there are steps we can take now to make youth sports safer," said Brooke de Lench, Executive Director of MomsTEAM Institute and producer of The Smartest Team documentary. 

"For far too long, the national media has focused on reporting on how youth sports programs fall short in protecting the health and safety of youth athletes.  I think the time has come to take a much more positive and pro-active approach by publicizing programs that put safety ahead of winning," de Lench said.

"I am excited about the opportunity the Smart Teams Play Safe summit and the SmartTEAM program have given me to work with some of the nation’s leading youth sports safety experts in developing and testing a set of best practices.  I am convinced that the way to change the culture of youth sports from one focused on winning to one that puts safety of our children ahead of, or at least on a par, with team and individual success, is what the sports parents of this country want. We have a chance to accomplish a paradigm shift in the way we talk about sports safety in this country, but it is only going to happen if parents demand change at the grassroots level.  The SmartTeams program is designed to give them a benchmark against which to measure their child’s commitment to a safer sports experience, to support those programs that measure up and demand change for those that don’t," said de Lench.

For more information about the conference, visit http://www.smartteamsplaysafe.com/

About MomsTEAM Institute and MomsTEAM.com

Launched in August 2000, MomsTeam.com has grown over the years, both in terms of content and reputation, to the point that it now has 10,000 + pages of information for youth sports parents and has become the most trusted source of sports parenting information, widely recognized as one of, if not the, top websites of its kind.

MomsTeam Institute, Inc. is a Massachusetts non-profit corporation formed in November 2013 to continue and expand on MomsTEAM’s fourteen-year mission of providing comprehensive, well-researched information to youth sports parents, coaches, athletic trainers, and other health care professionals about all aspects of the youth sports experience.

 

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