Sports Safety

National Youth Sports Safety Month: Some Progress, But Still A Long Way To Go

By Brooke de Lench

A solid foundation 

When the non-profit 501(c)(3) National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF) was formed in 1989, its mission was to provide information on the prevention of youth sports injuries. It got its start after Rita Glassman's young daughter Michelle suffered a severe back injury which ended her tennis career. Rita was the first to designate April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, which MomsTeam has been celebrating every year since 2001.

In celebration of April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, MomsTEAM is re-posting many of the blog entries contributed in 2012 by some our favorite sports medicine and safety experts and sprinkling in some new ones.

Research Papers and Peer-Reviewed Studies: A World of Difference

 

Last week, we posted to the site a group of four articles about a peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Neurosurgery showing that football helmet design affected concussion risk among a large group (or what scientists call a "cohort") of college football players.

Last week, we reported on a peer-reviewed study showing that football helmet design affected concussion risk. At the same time, we received a press release about an abstract of a research paper on football helmets reporting that they do very little to protect kids against the rotational forces that cause concussion.  MomsTEAM decided not to report on the paper, and here's why.

 

MomsTEAM's Brooke de Lench To Join Sports Safety Group Led By Former U.S. Surgeon General

MomsTEAM Executive Director and Founder and Publisher of MomsTEAM.com, Brooke de Lench, has been named to The National Council on Youth Sports Safety (NCYSS), a panel of more than twenty of the nation's experts convened by Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, to tackle traumatic brain injury in young athletes in a two-year initiative called Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety (PASS).

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.

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.

"The Smartest Team": Staking Out The Sensible Middle In The Polarized Debate About Football

It has been an exciting week for those of us who worked so hard over the past two years to produce "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer.

After kicking off with our premiere on Oklahoma Educational Television (OETA - PBS) in August, and with stations in North Carolina and Colorado having aired the documentary in September, the beginning of October marks the first full week of broadcasts on PBS stations in more than ten states. 

The buzz about the PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team," has been overwhelmingly positive, but some appear to be working overtime, on Twitter, through a whisper campaign, and via other back-channel means, to cripple MomsTEAM's ability to get its message out. Brooke de Lench explains.

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.

A Mother's Day Wish List

It's May once again. Time for spring sports, warmer weather, longer days, and, of course, Mother's Day. This year, instead of celebrating mothers with the usual cards and flowers, I have put together a special wish list for the mothers, grand mothers, step mothers and other caregivers in this country with kids playing sports.

Brooke de Lench and Taylor Lench

Here's this year's list:

This Mother's Day, as has been her Brooke's practice in years past, she has a wish list for making youth sports better. Here's this year's list.

Improving Concussion Safety in High School Football: Promising Developments, But A Long Way To Go

It has been a good two weeks for parents looking to make high school football safer, with a number of promising developments. But it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered.

The last two full weeks of April 2013 have been a good one for parents looking to make high school football safer, but it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered,
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