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Making Youth Sports Safer: Moms Have The Power!

Another high school football player dies after a head on head collision. A young ilfe cut short way to soon. A tragedy for sure. Education, better coaching, and impact devices in helmets can only do so much. Officials can only do so much, but in many cases not enough.  Moms cheering at football game

One of our three high school hockey goalies has already gotten a concussion during "Captains Practice." The official season starts in November. Hope he recovers in time.

Unless those with all the power in youth sports intervene to demand changes, the status quo will continue, and more and more kids will be seriously injured, some lasting for a lifetime. Who has the power to make youth sports safer? Moms, says longtime hockey and lacrosse coach, Hal Tearse.

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.

Concussions in Hockey: A Dark Cloud Hanging Over the Sport With A Simple Solution: Play By The Rules

January 19th  was a great day for ice hockey in North America with the return of the NHL, and especially in my state, which celebrated our annual "Hockey Day in Minnesota." Today, two high school teams played outdoors on Lake Pokegema in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers mens' hockey team played North Dakota, and then the Minnesota Wild played their season opener - all on TV.  Across the state, youth and high school teams were also playing the game they love. But, while it was a day to celebrate hockey, it is also a reminder of the dark cloud that hangs over the game: concussions.

The end of the NHL lockout and the annual Hockey Day in Minnesota should have been cause for celebration, but for a longtime Minnesota high school hockey coach and official the hockey-fest was also a reminder that concussions continue to be a dark cloud hanging over the sport.

Boys, Girls and Locker Rooms

As more girls are earning spots on squirt and pee wee teams the issue of locker room protocols is starting to rise to the surface. USA Hockey has recommended protocols, Minnesota Hockey has a slightly different take on the issue and one District Director in Minnesota has issued a different approach. The major sticking points are the definition of "undress" and when both genders can be in the locker room together.

As more girls are earning spots on squirt and pee wee teams the issue of locker room protocols is starting to rise to the surface. USA Hockey has recommended protocols, Minnesota Hockey has a slightly different take on the issue and one District Director in Minnesota has issued a different approach. The major sticking points are the definition of “undress” and when both genders can be in the locker room together.

Safety Matters in Youth and High School Hockey

As the new season begins there is a renewed focus on safety in youth hockey in the USA, and in Minnesota in particular. With a heightened awareness of the potential for severe injury in contact sports like hockey and football the NGOs like USA Hockey are attacking the problem with more infrastructure surrounding teams to help protect players from each other, coaches and strangers. 

As the new season begins there is a renewed focus on safety in youth hockey in the USA and in Minnesota in particular. With a heightened awareness of the potential for severe injury in contact sports like hockey and football the NGOs like USA Hockey are attacking the problem with more infrastructure surrounding teams to help protect players from each other, coaches and strangers.

Sharing A Child's Sports Experience: A Gift For Parents

Have you ever taken the time to sit back and really think how fortunate you are as a parent to be able to share your child’s athletic experiences with them?  Do you appreciate how such moments can actually bring the family together?  Do you know just how excited your kids get knowing that we are watching them play? 

I know that, when you are going through the experience, it is sometimes hard to stop to realize just how fortunate you are to be given these years with your kids.

Someday you will look back at these years, and hopefully in a positive way.  I know I have.

As sports parents, it is important to slow down long enough from the whirlwind of raising kids to realize just how lucky we are to be able to share with our children the gift of athletics.

Controlling Your Inner Coach

So now that baseball is in "full swing" I have mixed emotions as a parent.  My younger two sons decided after a family meeting not to play as we agreed that football and basketball were enough for the year.  We would do some one-on-one instruction to help the 11-year- old pitch better, and for my 8-year-old, just playing catch in the backyard would have to do. 

A single mom realizes the need to control her inner coach when she finds herself caught in the age-old battle of the sexes with her son's baseball coach, feeling a need to compete with the coaches for no other reason than they are men and because she had a hard time resisting the thought that, in the back of their minds, they think she is clueless about how to teach her boys how to do the hard stuff like pitching and quarterbacking,

The Future of Ice Hockey: What Kind of Game Do We Want?

What kind of game do we want ice hockey to be? Do we want a very physical game with lots of hitting from behind and head contact or do we want the game we once had, a game of skill and respect along with legal physical play?

The game of ice hockey has not always been played as it is now. Checking was not permitted by attacking players in the offensive zone until the mid 1970’s. The center red line created another point that slowed the game down a bit and there was no tag-up offsides, so defensemen actually had to learn some skills to survive in neutral ice until their linemates got back onside.

What is the future of youth ice hockey? Will it continue to be a game of illegal hits to the hitting, interfering, intimidation, and trash-talking opponents, or one rewarding speed, skill, and physical play within the rules?  Only time will tell.

Jabs #13: Making Youth Hockey Safer In Wake of Jablonski Tragedy

While Jablonski's injury was, of course, his parent's worst nightmare, and will change his life forever, such injuries are fortunately quite rare in ice hockey but the publicity, in this instance, has prompted calls for the leaders of youth and high school hockey in Minnesota to demand stricter rule enforcement, better coaching, and more severe penalties for dangerous and illegal "hits" that lead to hockey being a sport with one of the highest rates of concussion.

Longtime Minnesota ice hockey coach Hal Tearse talks about how the catastrophic injury suffered by high school hockey player Jack "Jabs" Jablonski and suggests ways to make the sport safer.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

I was visiting recently with a friend who was the assistant coach on a local high school team the past several years. The head coach had been under great pressure from the parents of the players for many years, but it had intensified the past year.

He told me that no matter the quality of the coach, nobody should go through what the head coach had to endure with the result that, after 9 years, the head coach was taking a leave of abscense for a year. I agreed with him, but, as I thought more, I realized that much of the blame really fell on the coach. He is not a good communicator and manager of people. He is passionate about the sport, studies the game like no other coach, but yet he failed to sell his vision and program to the parents and players.

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