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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.

Misplaced Priorities: Parents Should Spend More Time Helping Kids Prepare For Life, Less Time Preparing For Next Game

 

American athletics has become so all consuming that many parents have lost sight of the reality of youth sports. What started a hundred years ago in the New York public school system has now morphed into big business, which is feeding unrealistic expectations for parents and kids alike.

Here are a couple of examples, just from today: 

American athletics has become so all consuming that many parents have lost sight of the reality of youth sports. What started a hundred years ago in the New York public school system has now morphed into big business and unrealistic expectations for parents and kids alike.

A Homecoming To Remember


The doorbell rings at precisely 6:00 p.m. The handsome football captain is here to pick up the beautiful drill team lieutenant for their Senior Homecoming Dance. The flowers are exchanged, and the conversation is easy.

By now, the date is an extended member of our family. Instead of grilling him about the plans and curfew, my husband is more interested in a play-by-play recap about last night's football game. We make this look sooooo easy. A "Seventeen" magazine dream scene taking place in our formal living room.

Don't kid yourself. Nothing is ever this easy. This flawless precision takes years to come together. Don't I know it well. We tell the incredibly gorgeous couple to have a great time and shut the door.

When the doorbell rang precisely at the appointed hour announcing the arrival of her daughter's date for her senior Homecoming Dance, a Texas football and drill team mom remembers back to her first Homecoming Dance three years earlier, when everything did not go according to plan.

"Thoughts From the Bench" and Defending The Blue Line: A New E-Book On Amateur Hockey And A Great Charity

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my new e-book, "Thoughts From the Bench."

The book is a collection of my columns for Minnesota Hockey and takes a refreshing and common sense look at amateur ice hockey from my perspective as USA Hockey Associate Coach in Chief/Minnesota and past Coach In Chief for Minnesota Hockey, and on my 40 years coaching hockey at all levels, including USA Hockey elite level programs.

"Thoughts From The Bench" is a new e-book by longtime hockey coach and MomsTEAM blogger Hal Tearse with advice for hockey coaches, parents and players with the proceeds donated to Defending the Blue Line.
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