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Reducing Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports Requires A Team Effort


Earlier this spring  I had the honor of being invited to speak at the "Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse" summit in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.  

The summit brought together over fifty of the nation's largest youth-serving and youth-sports organizations, as well as child development, youth sports and prevention experts, to discuss strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse while playing sports.

The need to redouble efforts to prevent sexual abuse of athletes by their coaches was driven home to Brooke de Lench over the past couple of weeks, which has seen a sharp spike in reports in the media about youth sports coaches accused and convicted of, and sentenced to probation or jail for sex crimes against young athletes.

Newcastle-Moore, Oklahoma Tornado Hit Close To Home

Two things have weighed heavily on my mind the past two weeks: the tornadoes that have ravaged the Oklahoma City area, and the professional and amateur storm chasers who risk their lives to follow them.  

On May 20, 2013, as I watched coverage of the EF-5 Newcastle-Moore tornado on CNN, I was worried about the football community in Newcastle, a town I had grown to know, respect and appreciate over the 8 months I spent visiting last year while producing and directing The Smartest Team documentary.  

Two things have weighed heavily on Brooke de Lench's mind the past two weeks: the Newcastle-Moore tornado that ravaged the Oklahoma City area, and the professional and amateur storm chasers who risk their lives to follow them.

The Cost of College: Calculate Your Family's Real Contribution, Not How Much You Can Borrow!

 

For the past decade, economists have debated why the cost of college continues to rise in this country. Some blame it on the regulators, the banks, the student loan providers or even the colleges themselves…  But, WHO ultimately pays for college? WHO makes the final decision? There is an underlying issue that continues to be overlooked in this country …

When you are deciding on a college for your child, you need to calculate the true cost, not how much you can borrow.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Dan and Susan Farren (Rohnert Park, CA.); Ray Antonopoulos & Jeff Meisner (West Newbury, MA)



In a Cal Ripkin Baseball game on April 13, eight-year-old Matthew Henry was hit in the chest by a pitch and left the batter's box on his way to first base. He collapsed after a few steps, reportedly the victim of commotio cordis ("agitation of the heart," in Latin).

The value of having trained medical personnel and an automated external defibrillator nearby was never more apparent then in this month's Youth Sports Heroes blog honoring two pairs of Good Samaritans who, in an 11-day span, saved the lives of an 8-year-old baseball player and a mom watching her son play baseball.

Why Tougher Rules for Dangerous Hits in High School Hockey Will Not Work

 

As I watch the Stanley Cup playoffs I am reminded each spring about the ever-changing rules in hockey: One set for the regular season, and one set for playoffs. Or should I say one rule book and two or more interpretations of the enforcement of the rules in the book. Clearly there is much more leeway from the rule book during the playoffs. Players tripped on breakaways do not draw a penalty. Obvious rule violations are ignored. But lets be clear about the NHL: the league is an entertainment business that happens to play hockey. Fans like the brutality and violence. It sells tickets so it is allowed to happen. 

Tougher rules against checking from behind and blind-side hits in hockey won't make the sport safer. The problem is a lack of training, certification, education and compensation for on-ice officials, argues one longtime Minnesota hockey official and coach.

A Mother's Day Wish List

It's May once again. Time for spring sports, warmer weather, longer days, and, of course, Mother's Day. This year, instead of celebrating mothers with the usual cards and flowers, I have put together a special wish list for the mothers, grand mothers, step mothers and other caregivers in this country with kids playing sports.

Brooke de Lench and Taylor Lench

Here's this year's list:

This Mother's Day, as has been her Brooke's practice in years past, she has a wish list for making youth sports better. Here's this year's list.

Watching "The Smartest Team" Documentary: A 3-Day Test of Endurance, But Worth The Effort

I was thrilled to get my copy of "The Smartest Team." This great documentary is the creation of MomsTEAM founder Brooke de Lench, who clearly has a great interest in concussion prevention in sports - especially football. Having had a concussion as a child, I know all too well about the pain, the setbacks, and the long road it sometimes take to recovery. I had to relearn the multiplication tables for 6s and 7s in 5th grade! I was mortified. To this day I have trouble with 6x8=48!Gretchen Rose and son

A football mom from Texas was thrilled to get her copy of "The Smartest Team" and couldn't wait to watch it with her son and his football buddies. While the short attention span of 12-year-old boys meant that it would end up being a three-day test of endurance, it proved to be a very educational experience.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Ethan McConnell and Davan Overton (Oregon); Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus (Texas)

This month’s spotlight shines on a quartet of high school basketball players who, in two games more than 1,200 miles apart this season, figured in last-second shots that made no difference in the outcome of either game.  With the scores already lopsided, nothing suggested that the few hundred fans or anyone else would remember anything about the games for very long. After the buzzer, however, both shots quickly became YouTube sensations. 

This month’s spotlight shines on a quartet of high school basketball players who, in two games more than 1,200 miles apart this season, figured in last-second shots that made no difference in the outcome of either game. After the buzzer, however, both shots quickly became YouTube sensations.

Improving Concussion Safety in High School Football: Promising Developments, But A Long Way To Go

It has been a good two weeks for parents looking to make high school football safer, with a number of promising developments. But it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered.

The last two full weeks of April 2013 have been a good one for parents looking to make high school football safer, but it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered,

College Cost = It’s Time for YOU to Set a New Standard!


College has become a burden - specifically, a financial burden for families and college graduates all across the United States. At one point in history, receiving a college education was an honor of the highest quality. A college education not only guaranteed you a job but it didn't cost anywhere near what it costs today. In fact, most college students could work their way through college and not have a single cent of debt after graduation.

High school student-athletes and their families need to set a new standard in their college search, says a longtime college soccer coach.
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