Editorials

Improving Football Safety: Is It Up To Parents?


Now that the concussion lawsuit filed by retired National Football League players has apparently been settled (remember: the judge still has to give her approval), it's time to focus on the upcoming football season, and working to make the sport safer at every level of the game. Missy Womack

Sincerest form of flattery

We could sit back and wait for the N.F.L., National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), USA Football and Pop Warner to lead the way on football safety.

Football safety is largely up to parents, argues Brooke de Lench, working with all other groups in their community with a stake in making football safer, including independent football organizations, school boards, school superintendents, athletic directors, coaches, school nurses and psychologists, and other health care providers, to improve football safety at the grassroots level.

NOCSAE Voiding of Certification For Sensor-Equipped Helmets: A Big Blow To Player Safety

Last week many of the technology manufacturers who have been working diligently to produce products to make helmeted sports such as football safer were dealt a severe, if not crippling, blow by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) when, out of the blue, it decided to view modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons as voiding its certification, which could only be regained if the helmet is retested with the add-on. Newcastle Racers wearing three different football helmets

Brooke de Lench believes that the new NOCSAE ruling voiding the certification for sensor-equipped helmets could not have come at a worse time, just as football - from the youth level to the NFL - is gearing up for the 2012 season. If not reversed or modified, de Lench fears that it will have harsh real-world consequences; not just on sensor manufacturers but on player safety and consumer choice.

Pop Warner Concussion Scandal: Lessons Learned

The Pop Warner concussion scandal - one that, sadly, occurred right in my backyard here in Massachusetts - has put youth football under the microscope once again.

The Pop Warner concussion scandal has put youth football under the microscope once again. But is what happened in that single game reason enough to pull a kid out of football, or never sign him (or her) up in the first place? I don't think so.

Sports Parents Asking Tough Questions: Are They Troublemakers?

This past weekend,  the Hey Coach Tony show on a local Connecticut radio station devoted an entire hour to discussing one of MomsTeam's most popular  articles: the one listing questions to ask youth sports coaches at the pre-season meeting with parents. 

In case you don't know about Coach Tony, he is what I would call a "guy's guy": a tough-talking "shock jock"-type of radio host who tends to shoot from the hip, and with a reputation for disdaining political correctness and for using outdated terms for people he doesn't like (I cringed while listening to an earlier show when he used the word "retarded" and "retard' more than a dozen times to describe a person he did not care for). 

This past weekend,  the Hey Coach Tony show on ESPN Radio devoted an entire hour to discussing one of MomsTeam's most popular  articles: the one listing questions for parents to ask at a pre-season meeting.  Particularly instructive was the way he chose to end his show: with an email from a listener saying that parents who ask questions will be labeled as troublemakers.

NFL's Super Bowl Ad Obscured Reality

Most of the buzz about the commercials that aired during this Sunday's Super Bowl was about the Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood, but, for me, the one commercial I won't forget was the 60-second spot by the N.F.L. at the end of the third quarter touting the league's progress since its founding to make the game safer.

The N.F.L.'s Super Bowl commercial touting the league's progress since its founding to make the game safer obscured the reality that league has not done enough to protect its current players from the dangers of head injuries and left too many of its former players struggling in retirement with symptoms of early dementia, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

Computerized Neurocognitive Baseline Concussion Testing At Home: Why I'm Against It

A couple of weeks ago a team and league management technology provider and a neurocognitive testing company announced a partnership to provide online testing for athletes. The announcement prompted emails to MomsTEAM from parents asking for my opinion on how and where to have their children's baseline neurocognitive tests done, and whether they could do them at home.  While I have been fielding similar e-mails for years, the uptick in emails prompted me to do some digging to come up with an answer.

Computerized neurocognitive tests which athletes can take in the comfort of their parent's home may be affordable, but MomsTeam's Brooke de Lench argues that concussion testing should be left to concussion professionals trained in properly administering and interpreting the results, not sold on line for use without supervision.  Leading experts and the Centers for Disease Control agree.

Angela Ruggiero: My Personal Reflections On Her Retirement

This is a success story virtually without equal in women's sports in the post-Title IX era. A story not only about the success of one remarkable young woman, but about her parents and those, like me, who were privileged to watch her grow from a starry-eyed and talented teenager to the mature, self-assured woman she is today; a story which should serve, not only as an inspiration to any youth athlete who wants to reach the elite level in their sport, but for their parents as well.

Two days ago, Angela Ruggiero held a press conference to announce her retirement from women's ice hockey, two weeks after she told me of her decision.

The story of Angela Ruggiero is virtually without equal in women's sports in the post-Title IX era.  It is a story not only about the success of one remarkable young woman, but about her parents and those, like me, who were privileged to watch her grow from a starry-eyed and talented teenager to the mature, self-assured woman she is today.

My New Year's Resolution for 2012: More Blogging

Last week I was having lunch with a group of national journalists while on a trip to Wahington, when one of them wondered out loud why I didn't do a blog entry every day, especially, she said, since they were so great.

It was nice, of course, to have my blog praised by such a well-known and respected journalist, but more to the point: why don't I write a daily blog?

The answer, I told her, was that I actually do: I spend at least two hours in an average day responding to questions from MomsTeam readers, enough to probably fill three blog posts; but, because I send them via e-mail, they don't technically qualify as blogs (web-log).

Brooke de Lench's New Year's Resolution is to try to post a blog every day based on the best questions she gets via e-mail and her responses. 

Assaults on Youth Sports Referees: When Will They Stop?

Every day when I come to work one of the first things I do is check the e-mails I get from parents and coaches all across the country with stories from newspapers about youth sports, including one from Moms Team expert, Doug Abrams.

Defunding of Texas Steroid Testing Program A Chance to Consider Better Ways for Schools To Spend Money on Sports

A recent article in the Boston Globe reported that a controversial steroid testing program of high school athletes in Texas is in danger of being de-funded, as the state House budget has cut the money for the program.  The Senate draft still includes funding for the program.  Florida eliminated a small testing program in 2009.  New Jersey and Illinois also have statewide programs.

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