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Chris Borland Retirement Decision: 3 Lessons for Sports Parents

The decision by San Francisco 49er Chris Borland to retire from the NFL after just one season out of concern for the long-term effect of head trauma has predictably generated a media firestorm. But lost amid the hoopla is what it means for sports parents.

Here are two lessons I think parents with kids playing -- or considering playing -- football or other contact and collision sports can take away from the Borland retirement, and one lesson they shouldn't take away:

The decision by San Francisco 49er Chris Borland to retire from the NFL after just one season out of concern for the long-term effect of head trauma has predictably generated a media firestorm. But lost amid the hoopla are the lessons for sports parents.

Artificial Turf: On The Fence About Risk

Over the past few months questions have been raised about the safety of artificial turf. I have followed the issue with interest, of course, and get e-mail requests every week asking for my views.

Frankly, I have mixed feelings about artificial turf.  I graduated from college with a full leg cast after suffering a torn ACL one March playing college lacrosse on a still partially frozen grass field in New Hampshire.  I wonder to this day whether the injury would have happened had I been playing on artificial turf.

How a Group of Outcast Teen Boys Taught Me the Value of Youth Sports

Two weeks ago I was invited by the editors at Huffington Post to participate in a special blog event.  

Brooke de Lench and Concord U-14 boys soccer team

The invitation read: 

When the Huffington Post invited the Executive Director of MomsTEAM Institute to participate in a social campaign leading up to the start of March Madness about why she thought sports were so valuable for children to play, her thoughts turned to a boys' soccer team she had turned from a bunch of misfits and castoffs into a championship-worthy side.

King-Devick Test: MomsTEAM Has Championed From The Start

In a  March 11, 2015  "Well" blog  New York Times health reporter, Gretchen Reynolds, reported on a new study by NYU researchers, including Laura Balcer, a member of MomsTEAM Institute's Board of Advisors, about the use of a simple, rapid, and inexpensive visual test called King-Devick as a sideline screen to help identify athletes as young as five wit

A mounting body of peer-reviewed research has shown that a rapid, simple, and inexpensive visual test called King-Devick can be used as a sideline screen to identify athletes as young as five with possible concussion. MomsTEAM has been charting the test's progress since the very beginning and is glad to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

Coaching Youth Sports: Getting To The Heart Of The Matter

The heart of every team and player experience is the coach. Coaches have a choice of going down one of two paths. One is a win-based approach. The other is often called developmental, but I prefer to call it "relationship- and experience-based coaching. "

Win-approach coaching is the most common by far (especially these days).  It involves short benches, and scheduling more and more games to build a winning record.  As a result, the dialogue between coach and players is one-sided and mostly counter-productive. It can result in brawls during the post-game handshake line, reckless play, lack of respect for the rules, opponents, officials, coaches and the game itself.

Impact Sensors: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Part I)

If you follow the subject of sports-related concussions, you've probably seen a flurry of news on the subject of impact sensors in the last couple of weeks. As someone who has been writing about and beta testing impact sensors for the past five years, I have, of course, been monitoring developments, too.

The subject of impact sensors has been in the news a lot in the last couple of weeks. As someone who has been writing about and beta testing impact sensors for the past five years, Brooke de Lench weighs in on the controversy.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Sophia and Elizabeth Glazer (Wellesley, Mass.)


The American Medical Association calls domestic violence a "public health problem that has reached epidemic proportions." Most victims are vulnerable women and children assaulted by male perpetrators. Most victims emerge physically battered or emotionally scarred. An alarming number end up being murdered.

"It's Not Right"

Sophia and Elizabeth Glazer have a game plan that uses youth sports to help stem domestic violence in their community. Their efforts in the local youth football league this past autumn set an example which will hopefully prompt students elsewhere -- athletes and non-athletes alike -- to help make their own communities better places to live and raise families.

Disturbed by the national epidemic of domestic violence, two sisters started a group called Youth Football Cares, which not only holds bake sales to benefit local battered women's shelters but is trying to use youth sports to instill healthy relationship behaviors among children and adolescents which they can carry into adulthood.

The Road To Varsity: My Goal Achieved, It's Time To Take My Game To The Next Level, Too

 

In early November, I received the email I’ve been waiting ten years for: “You have new games”, read the subject line--- and when I logged into the officials’ website— I received my first high school VARSITY assignments!!  I could barely contain my excitement, but being superstitious, I refrained from blogging about it before now so as not to jinx myself.  Now, with several games behind me, I can tell the world:  I'm no longer on the road to varsity; I have finally arrived at my destination!

A long-time basketball official achieves her goal of working high school varsity games but realizes, six games into the season, that she has to up her game as well.

Improving Concussion Safety In Youth Sports: Why I Opt For Grass Roots Activism Over Class Action Lawsuits

Last week was chock full of news on the youth sports safety front. Nocsae decertified two men's lacrosse helmets, and I fielded some troubling emails about child sports safety advocates who allegedly spend their time monitoring social media, especially Twitter, for reports of youth sports injuries to take to plaintiffs' personal injury lawyers.

MomsTEAM continues to believe the best way to make sports safer is not by filing class action lawsuits, spending our time scouring the Internet for media reports of catastrophic injuries to send to personal injury lawyers, but through education and grass-roots activism.

Youth Sports Heroes: Kailee Kiminski, Tierney Winter, Melanie Bailey, and Teagan Monfils

 

Less than 100 yards separated two veteran long-distance runners, senior Kailee Kaminski and junior Tierney Winter, from the finish line in the Minnesota Class 1A girls state high school cross country meet in Northfield on November 1. In her first statewide race, freshman Jessica Christoffer had just fallen nearby, exhausted and unable to continue.

The three girls attend different schools and did not know one another, but Kaminski and Winter made split-second decisions to help the fallen runner to her feet and support her arm-in-arm so that all three could finish at about the same time. A race official on the scene warned them that the consequence for the trio would be disqualification.

This month's "Heroes" column features competitors in three girl's cross-country meets this fall who exhibited true sportsmanship even the face of disqualification.
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