Home » NATA » Youth Sports Safety Summit: Attending in Dual Role As Advocate, Member of Media


The Capital, Washington, D. C.

MomsTeam's continuing mission from the day I launched the site in August 2000 has been to improve the safety of our young athletes and prevent catastrophic injury and death. 

Today, I am excited to be in Washington, D.C. for a one-day Youth Sports Safety Summit hosted by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA). 

I am attending in a unique and dual capacity, both as a member of the  Youth Sports Safety Alliance (www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org) - an alliance of 60 organizations, like MomsTeam, committed to education, research and legislation to make youth sports safer, which is partnering with the NATA to put on the summit - and as a member of the media reporting on the event. 

In-depth coverage planned

MomsTeam's coverage will include:

  • summaries of presentations by a world-class group of medical experts assembled to discuss catastrophic brain injury, heat illness, sudden cardiac arrest, exercise-induced asthma and exertional sickling prevention and treatment;
  • a detailed analysis of a comprehensive, 23-page NATA Position Statement: Preventing Sudden Death in Sports being released today ahead of its publication in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Athletic Training. As part of MomsTeam's continuing committment to providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on sports injury prevention and treatment, MomsTeam Health and Safety Editor, Lindsay Barton, and our staff will use the statement to update our already extensive content library to reflect the NATA's position on all ten health conditions;
  • reports on four moms (see biographies below) who have fought back after the devastating loss of a child while playing sports by turning their despair into empowerment, advocacy and education.  Their committment is a testament to their belief and MomsTeam's that they - and we - can make a different and help potentially save the life of a young athlete; and
  • video interviews with as many of the participants in the summit as MomsTeam's film crew can grab over the course of our day on Capital Hill.


Moms making a difference

As a website originally dedicated to sports moms, and to honoring - through our Teams of Angels non-profit - those who had seen their child suffer a catastrophic sports injury or die from a preventable sports injury, I am particularly pleased that the summit will hear the inspiring stories of the following four courageous moms:

Lisa Gfeller, vice president and treasurer, Matthew Gfeller Foundation, Chapel Hill, N.C.

The foundation was created in memory of Gfeller's son, Matthew, who died in 2008 from traumatic brain injuries after a helmet-to-helmet hit during his first varsity football game. It supports the positive aspects of sports participation while also supporting improved equipment, training, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries.

Laura Friend, program coordinator, Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory) Texas at Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas

Since the death of her 12 year old daughter Sarah from sudden cardiac arrest in July 2004, Friend created the Sarah Friend Foundation, which has donated 59 life-saving defibrillators In Texas and trained hundreds of youth and adults in CPR/AED use. She also helped form and spearhead Parent Heart Watch, a national nonprofit organization that now has over 300 advocates in the U.S. and seven countries.

Rhonda Fincher, co-founder and executive director, Kendrick Fincher Hydration Foundation, Rogers, Ark.

Named in honor of Fincher's son Kendrick who died from heat stroke, the foundation began in 1996 with a mission to promote proper hydration and prevent heat illness through education and supporting activities.

Beth Mallon, co-founder, Advocates for Injured Athletes, San Diego, Calif., who will be acknowledged for her contributions to sports safety.

Mallon turned a devastating personal situation into a crusade for better youth sports safety health care and awareness. She and her son Tommy established Advocates for Injured Athletes (AIA) in October 2010 after Tommy suffered a career ending catastrophic injury in the final game of his senior high school lacrosse season. He suffered a concussion, his neck was fractured (C1) and one of his vertebral arteries had been dissected. He is now a sophomore at the University of San Diego.

Position Statement on Sudden Death

From the advance copy MomsTeam has been provided, the Position Statement contains consensus recommendations to help parents, coaches, medical experts and others reduce the incidence of sudden death in sports across ten major health conditions:

As readers of MomsTeam know, these are all topics that we have covered extensively, not just recently, but in most cases since our site went live in August 2000. 

Once the summit is over and I have returned with my film crew from Washington, I will write more about what I learned.  

Until then, play safe and all the best.