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Starting Ice Hockey At Age 10: Too Late To Reach Olympics?

 

Four-time Olympic women's ice hockey medalist Angela Ruggiero says that starting ice hockey at age 10 is not too late to become an Olympian; that some of her Olympic teammates, in fact, didn't start until age 12 or 13.  What she reminds parents is that their child will only achieve athletic success if they love their sport, so it is critical to find one they love to play.

Girl's or Boy's Hockey? Up to The Athlete To Decide

Four-time Olympic women's ice hockey medalist Angela Ruggiero says the decision on whether to play girl's or boy's hockey is up to the athlete and her parents after weighing the pluses and minuses.

Unmarked Detour: Unprepared Despite Multiple Concussion History

Although her daughter Heidi had suffered multiple concussions in the past (one in second grade during recreational skating, the second more serious concussion in a collision with a softball teammate in ninth grade), and despite thinking she was "concussion savvy," Dorothy Bedford says that, three to four weeks after Heidi suffered a third concussion warming up for an ice hockey game during her junior year in high school, she was unprepared for the "mysterious journey" that lay ahead for both of them.

Unmarked Detour: Long Concussion Journey Begins Before Puck Even Drops

After sustaining a series of hits to her head during the previous week's training, Heidi Taggart asked her ice hockey coach to be excused from goaltending during a game in February 2010 when she began experiencing "flu-like" symptoms.  He told her to "suck it up" and take the ice. During pre-game warm-ups, a teammate's stick hit Heidi in the head during the follow-through from a wrist shot.  She immediately began experiencing concussion symptoms (headache, disorientation, drowsiness), but the injury was not initially thought to be too serious.   It was anything but. As her mom, Dorothy Bedford, now recalls, the road Heidi travelled from that Friday night on the way to recovery from post-concussion syndrome would be marked by a long series of "unmarked detours" taking fourteen months and requiring treatment from more than 10 different medical specialists.

Shockbox Helmet Sensor Warns Of Possible Concussion

A revolutionary new product called ShockboxTM triggers an alarm on a smart-phone whenever an athlete suffered a blow to the head hard enough to cause possible concussion so the player can be immediately removed from the game or practice for a sideline assessment.

Contact Lenses Or Protective Goggles If Wearing Helmet With Face Shield?

For helmets with visors or face shields, contact lenses are better than protective eyewear because they don't fog up when an athlete sweats or plays in humid conditions, but it is important to ask your child's eye doctor if they are old enough for contacts, says optometrist Noah Shriber.

Steps Athletes Can Take To Reduce Concussion Risk

There are four steps an athlete, such as a hockey player, can take to reduce their concussion risk, says Dr. William P. Meehan, III: learning to play with their head up, strengthening their neck and shoulder muscles, not returning too soon from a previous concussion, and avoiding hits from behind.

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.

Coaching Great Athletes

Today I got a call from Adam. He is a former bantam hockey player who recently graduated from Ohio State, where he played baseball. He is now headed to rookie camp for the Milwaukee Brewers. I thought back to his bantam hockey team and realized that, besides Adam, two others currently play in the NFL, one in the NHL and four more are currently or will be playing professional hockey.

Wow, what a crew! One half of the bantam team ended up playing professionally in three dfferent sports. Now how often does that happen? What a thrill to have coached those young men and their teammates. It simply shows that good athletes can play many sports and, to get to the top, one needs to be a good athlete.

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