Home » Youth Sports Safety Expert Brooke de Lench Calls "The Smartest Team" A Blueprint for Meeting the Concussion Challenge

Youth Sports Safety Expert Brooke de Lench Calls "The Smartest Team" A Blueprint for Meeting the Concussion Challenge


Concord, Mass. October 29, 2013

With all the scary talk these days about head injuries in football, many are wondering where the sport goes from here. The answer is a new, hour-long documentary, "THE SMARTEST TEAM: Making High School Football Safer", currently airing on many PBS stations around the country through January 2014. 

THE SMARTEST TEAM is the brainchild of visionary youth sports safety and parenting expert and author, Brooke de Lench, and draws on knowledge she gained as a parent of a concussed high school football and lacrosse player and, for the past fourteen years, as publisher of MomsTEAM.com,® the acknowledged "pioneer" in youth sports concussion education.

The Smartest Team poster

The SMARTEST TEAM starts where other concussion documentaries leave off. Instead of scaring football parents, the documentary shows how one high school football program in rural Oklahoma, working with a team of world-class concussion experts assembled by de Lench, increased concussion awareness among players, coaches, parents, and health care professionals, improved concussion identification and management, and, best of all, reduced their concussion rate by 75% in a single season.

Six Pillars

THE SMARTEST TEAM offers a blueprint for making football safer through a focus on what de Lench calls the "Six Pillars" of concussion risk management:

  1. Education: Educating parents, players, coaches, and health care professionals on the signs and symptoms of concussion and the long-term health risks concussions pose if they are not identified early and managed conservatively;
  2. Prevention: Reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury by teaching "heads up" tackling and blocking, equipping players with properly fitted helmets, strengthening their necks to better withstand the forces that cause concussion, reducing the number of hits they sustain, and through stricter enforcement of rules against helmet-to-helmet contact;
  3. Early Identification: Arming sideline personnel, especially certified athletic trainers, with the tools they need to identify athletes with suspected concussion so they can be quickly removed from play;
  4. Conservative Treatment: Giving concussed student-athletes the physical and cognitive rest they need for their brains to heal and to help them successfully return to the classroom;
  5. Cautious Return to Play: Allowing athletes to return to sports only when their symptoms have cleared, they can handle a full academic workload, scores on baseline tests have returned to their individualized normal, and they have successfully completed return to play exercise protocol; and
  6. Retirement: Recommending retirement from when continued participation in football poses an unreasonable risk of permanent brain damage.
Narrated by two-time Super Bowl winner and Big Ten Network announcer, Howard Griffith, "THE SMARTEST TEAM" features a number of leading experts on preventing, identifying and managing head injuries in sports, including:
  • William P. Meehan, III, M.D., Director of the Sports Concussion Clinic and the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention at Boston Children's Hospital; 
  • Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, Ph.D., Director of the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey; 
  • Joseph A. Congeni, M.D., Medical Director, The Sports Medicine Center, Akron Children's Hospital, and 
  • Coach Bobby Hosea of the Train Em' Up Academy and developer of the Head Free Tackle System.

"THE SMARTEST TEAM shows what can happen when all stakeholders work together to make the sport of football safer, not just for their own kids but for all kids," says de Lench. "More broadly, it charts a path forward, not just to preserve but to strengthen youth and high school football, which play such an important part in the life of so many communities across America."

About MomsTEAM.com

Now in its fourteenth year, MomsTeam.com® is the premier online youth sports parenting information gateway for America's 90 million sports parents. A content provider to the National Football League's health and safety website, NFL Evolution.com, MomsTEAM's Concussion Center is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date resources for concussion information on the Internet.

For more information about "THE SMARTEST TEAM," including a press kit, please visit www.TheSmartestTeam.com

Ali Bailey
[800] 474-5201 EXT 3