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Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Andrew Austen (Radnor, Pa.), Whitney Foster (Louisville, Ky.), and Avery Ingram (Eugene, Ore.)

Andrew Austen, Whitney Foster and Avery Ingram are different from one another in many ways. They live in different parts of the country, play different high school sports, and maintain different training regimens.  They likely have never met one another, but they are joined by a common thread – all three have overcome disabilities to play on teams with their friends and classmates. Participation in sports enriches not only their lives, but also the lives of coaches, teammates and opponents whose respect they have earned for their determination and talent.

Andrew Austen, Whitney Foster and Avery Ingram are different from one another in many ways. They live in different parts of the country, play different high school sports, and maintain different training regimens. They likely have never met one another, but they are joined by a common thread – all three have overcome disabilities to play on teams with their friends and classmates.

The Smartest Team Is Out!

It's hard to believe that, after over a year of hard work, MomsTEAM's high school football documentary, "The Smartest Team, is finally being released

The release of MomsTEAM's high school football documentary, "The Smartest Team," is the culmination of everything we have learned over the last 13 years as the pioneer in youth sports concussion education, and 13 months working with a high school football community and a team of experts to implement a concussion risk management program we call the Six Pillars.

NFL's Goodell Speaks At UNC About Concussion Safety

On March 6, 2013, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about concussion safety at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was there at the invitation of a leading concussion expert, Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, Kenan Distinguished Professor and Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC.

In a wide-ranging speech (see video below), Commissioner Goodell indicated that the NFL "stand[s] ready" to  "share any of our research with any other league," and expressed the belief that "we should all be working to make youth sports safer." 

We at MomsTEAM couldn't agree more. 

Getting Kids To Games On Time Is More Than Half The Battle!

"90% of life is just showing up."
~ Woody Allen ~

 

How sports parents juggle all their responsibilities when winter and spring sports converge? It depends on the number of kids, says one Texas mom: two kids calls for man-to-man, three requires a zone, and three or more means it's time to run the option.

The End of The Hockey Season Is Time to Reflect, Both for Coaches and Players

At the end of each season all players should take some time to review their performance and quality of experience playing the game. This process transcends the win loss record of the team and looks at individual development and overall quality of the experience. There are no so called “life lessons” on the score board and only through intentional review and discussions in the proper context can the real benefits of playing athletics be realized.

All top-level organizations have feedback mechanisms to help individuals develop. Without this type of communication and process between player and coach individual player development is likely to be slowed. This is very true in athletics as well as in the business world.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Ben Baltz (Valparaiso, Fla.) and Pfc. Matthew Morgan (San Diego, Calif.)

Eleven-year-old Ben Baltz was halfway through the one-mile run, the final event in the Sea Turtle Kids Triathlon at Pensacola Beach, Florida on October 7, 2012. He had already completed the first two events, the 150-yard swim and the four-mile bicycle ride. Now he anticipated crossing the finish line without fanfare.

This was Ben’s third triathlon since early summer, but an unforeseen problem would make this one different.  A bone cancer survivor, the sixth grader had had his right tibia and fibula amputated for osteosarcoma when he was six.  Now, with about a half mile to go, he fell to the track because his prosthetic right leg wobbled and broke when its screws came undone.

When Ben Baltz' prosthetic right leg broke as he was competing in the Sea Turtle Kids Triathlon at Pensacola Beach, Florida, the eleven-year-old cancer survivor was down but not out: a new friend from the nearby Marine base was there to help him finish the race.

Lost in Translation: The Perils of Tweeting About Concussions

One of the things I try to do every day is carve out time to keep up with what people are saying on Twitter, and occasionally throwing in my two-cents worth. For those of you reading this blog who follow MomsTEAM on Twitter, it won't come as any big surprise that concussions in sports seems to be the topic that most often lights up the youth sports Twittersphere.

But as anyone active on Twitter also knows, condensing one's thoughts into 140 character "tweets" is often a challenge, and can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, especially when one is talking about a subject as complex as concussions.

Last night was one of those times.

As anyone active on Twitter knows, condensing one's thoughts into 140 character "tweets" is often a challenge, especially when one is talking about a subject as complex as concussions. Last night was one of those times.

Chronic Under-Reporting Of Concussion: Is Changing The Culture A Realistic Solution?

 

If your child plays a contact or collision sport, whether at be at the youth, middle school or high school level, odds are that at some point in their athletic career they will suffer a concussion. How well they recover depends a lot on how quickly their concussion is identified so they can be removed from practice or game action. 

A lot of student-athletes - a declining percentage, fortunately - don't appreciate precisely when they have suffered a concussion. There are a lot of reasons:

Most athletes won't self-report concussion symptoms to sideline personnel, much less voluntarily remove themselves from the game. Changing the culture is one way to address the problem of chronic under-reporting, but it can't be counted on as a panacea.

Limiting Full-Contact Practices in High School Football: The Time to Act is Now!

For those of you who may be wondering why you haven't seen a blog from me in recent weeks, there is a simple answer: I have been head down (pardon the pun) finishing up MomsTEAM's high school football concussion documentary, The Smartest Team.

Newcastle, Oklahoma football player about to be tackledTwo news items on the subject of brain trauma in high school football, however, hit my desk over the past week which deserve comment.

Despite a growing body of evidence which suggests that brain trauma to football players can result, not just from violent helmet-on-helmet collisions hard enough to lead to concussions but from the cumulative effect of less forceful, but repetitive, subconcussive blows, no steps have been taken to limit such trauma at the high school level. That may be about to change.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Queen Creek (Arizona) High School Football Team

Attending Queen Creek High School was a daily ordeal for 16-year-old sophomore Chy Johnson, who faced unrelenting taunts from bullies who would punctuate their insults by throwing garbage on her and shoving her in the hallways. Most days, she came home crying, unable to resist the indignities alone.

School bullies often seek out the most vulnerable victims, classmates who appear “different” for one reason or another and cannot defend themselves. Chy Johnson unfortunately fit the description. She attends regular classes, but she has microcephaly, a genetic brain disorder that has left her head smaller than average and causes her brain to operate at a third-grade level.

Attending Queen Creek High School was a daily ordeal for 16-year-old sophomore Chy Johnson, who faced unrelenting taunts from bullies. Until the high school football team stepped in to help.
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