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Middle School Football: Reflections On A Banner Season - On And Off the Field


A month has now passed since my son's last 7th grade football game, which has given me time to reflect back on his 9-game,  7-win, 2-loss season with a new-found sense of pride, not just for him, but for my own personal growth.  Not only did he really flourish on and off the field, but I find myself growing as well.7th grade football player being tackled

A month has now passed since her son's last 7th grade football game, which has given a Texas mom time to reflect back on his season with a new-found sense of pride, not just for him, but for her own personal growth.

The Path To Athletic Success: Play More, Compete Less

 

Mikaela Shiffrin is a young woman on the USA Olympic ski team who, I predict, we all will be hearing a lot about at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. She is a terrific ski racer and what is so interesting is how she learned to be so steady and so fast. 

As the story of Olympic skiing hopeful Mikaela Shiffrin tells us, the path to athletic success may be in practicing more and competing less.

Coaching Comes From the Heart

 

At the conclusion of most games, the final score dictates how players, parents and coaches feel about the performance of the team and individual players. When the team wins, everybody must have had a good game, and of course, the opposite is also true. Actually, the final score of the game tells us nothing about how individual players performed.

When winning is the primary focus, it results in a cascading series of decisions by coaches that can undermine the players' experience and development. At a minimum, complacency sets in for teams winning consistently, and panic takes over if the scores are disappointing.

Youth Sports Heroes: Bridgewater (MA) Badgers Pee Wee Football Team & Valley H.S. Varsity/JV Baseball Teams (Elk Grove, CA)

 

December is the month when journalists across the nation tie up the year's loose ends. With that motivation, I write here about two youth teams that deserve all the accolades they have received. The teams play on opposite coasts, play different sports, and in different seasons. One team's players are younger than the other's, and neither team has ever met the other. Their only common thread is that on each one, teammates joined together to do the right thing at the right time.

In this month's column, Doug Abrams salutes two teams who, though they hail from opposite coasts, play different sports, in different seasons, and are different ages, have one thing in common: they acted as teams to do the right thing at the right time.

High School Football Playoffs: Not A Time For Concussion Safety To Take Back Seat To Winning


As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. 

Football player holding his head

But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.

Even in the best of times, studies show that high school football players face what one recently called a ‘culture of resistance' to reporting to sideline personnel that they are experiencing concussion symptoms.

As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.

Olympic Hockey Star Julie Chu: Commitment + Honor + Unity = CHU


On Monday, I was able to catch up with three-time Olympic medalist Julie Chu, member of the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey team, who just happens to be living and training for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in my neck of the woods outside Boston.

I decided it was a great time to ask her to reflect back on her hockey journey over the past twelve years, and to hear about how she and her team are preparing for the challenge of replacing the Canadian women atop the podium this time around.

Knowing that three-time Olympic medalist Julie Chu was training for the Winter Games Sochi, Russia just around the corner, Brooke de Lench decided it was time to catch up with the captain of the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey team, whose career she has been following for a dozen years.

Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety Initiative Latest To Tackle Youth Sports Concussion Safety Issue

 

Last week in Washington D.C., I was privileged to have been invited to attend and participate in the kickoff event for an innovative two-year initiative called PASS (Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety).

A joint project of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and the Department of Global Health at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, PASS is the latest in a series of national programs designed to address and combat the incidence of catastrophic brain injuries among the more than twenty million youth who participate in organized sports annually.

Brooke de Lench found the kickoff event for an innovative two-year initiative called PASS (Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety) noteworthy for the fact that research scientists on on one panel all said they would allow their kids to play football, and the panelists on another conceded that edu-tainment is not the mainstream media's strength.

Incognito-Martin: Has Bullying In Sports Become The New Normal?


Last week, Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely for allegely bullying teammate Jonathan Martin.

The story has me searching for answers to questions such as:

If we think that the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying incident is atypical, we are blind to what is really going on in sport, says the founder of Safe4Athletes, who is concerned bullying as become the new normal in sports, and calls for policies and procedures to be put in place, not just to hear them when they have been bullied, but to prevent the bullying from happening in the first place.

New Concussion Report's Failure To Discuss Impact Monitoring Unfortunate Omission

The MomsTEAM staff and I are still digging into the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's three-hundred-some-odd page report on sports-related concussions in youth sports,[1]  but one thing jumped out at me at my first pass: When I did a search in the report for a discussion of impact monitoring devices (a/k/a hit sensors), I found only one brief mention of sensors in the committee's recommendation that the Centers for Disease Control fund large scale data collection efforts for research purposes, including data from impact sensors.

Conspicuous by its absence from the new IOM/NRC report on concussions in youth sports was any mention of the use of real-time impact monitoring systems on the sports sideline. Unfortunately, the lack of any such discussion will just end up making it that much more difficult to get the message out that the benefits of real-time impact monitoring, and place an additional obstacle in the path to their use.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Matt Labrum and Staff (Roosevelt, Utah)


On Friday night, September 20, Judge Memorial Catholic High School of Salt Lake City downed the Union High School Cougars, 40-16. Football games played in rural Utah normally do not make news outside the local area, but this matchup on Union's home turf in Roosevelt (population: 6,100) attracted national attention for the post-game bombshell that Union head coach Matt Labrum and his staff dropped in the Cougars locker room. Football gear in locker

The coaches assembled the team, suspended every player, and collected their uniforms.

Football teams in rural Utah normally do not make news outside the local area, but after Judge Memorial Catholic High School of Salt Lake City beat the Union High Cougars, the post-game bombshell Union head coach Matt Labrum and his staff dropped on his team in the locker room attracted national attention for the lesson they were about to teach about character.
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