Safety, sports and the Trophy Mom goes to New York

Youth Football

Creative Commons usage some rights reserved Stuart Seeger

Concussions are in the news and influencing everything from equipment manufacturers to the decisions families make about sports involvement.  Long-lasting brain trauma from blows received during sports are being researched and when you read about the speculation surrounding the recent deaths of Junior Seau and Derek Boogaard, you start to wonder if any contact sport is worth the risk. Some are quick to point to concussions as the cause, while others say that it’s inconclusive. There is a lot of information out there, some is informative and interesting, some is downright horrifying. And some goes as far as to say allowing your child to play football is abusive, and we will see the demise of college and professional football in the next 25 years.

Dr. David Geier asked for my comments on his blog  “Would you let your son play football?” and you can read my thoughts, as well as those from some real experts. When I asked my orthopedic doc, who patrols the sidelines as a team physician for high school football games, what his biggest injury concern was, he said without hesitation, “concussions.” And when I asked a friend whose sons play football what she thought, she admitted that some of the stories were so scary she was afraid to read them.

NFL Youth Health and SafetyThe NFL is taking some action on this, which is great to see because the NHL and USA Hockey still have their heads buried in the sand, or somewhere worse. In addition to the NFL’s newly announced Total Wellness Program for all current and former players, they’ve invited some bloggers to the NFL Youth Health and Safety Luncheon at the NFL offices on August 22. That would include *ahem* me.

Yes, just try to imagine the Trophy Mom roaming around the NFL offices, rubbing elbows with Holly Robinson Peete, and bro-hugging Roger Goodell.
The NFL’s invitation said they want to “hear what concerns you and your readers about youth sports and injuries, what keeps you up at night, and share some resources with you that may be helpful on the topic. We’ll bring in some of our experts to speak with the group, but we also want the day to really be an exchange of ideas.”

So let the exchange of ideas begin. What do you think about the safety of football or other contact sports, especially at the youth level? Would you, do you, let your kids play? Do you think coaches put your kid’s health over a win? Is the equipment safe and does it fit? Are there people on the sidelines who can evaluate concussion symptoms and do they make kids sit out? Are the officials well trained? I want to hear it all before I go so comment away.

7 Comments on “Safety, sports and the Trophy Mom goes to New York”

  1. Marybeth L. says:

    If I didn’t have young boys, if I were asked for a completely outside perspective, as a lifelong football fan and with a nephew on a D1 football team, I’d say “ah, leave ’em alone, football’s a great sport! Injuries happen.” But honestly, now that my boys are getting bigger and more serious about playing football, all of these articles and research into long-term effects, the dangers of concussions starting early and having compounding effects, it’s giving my husband and me pause about when (probably not “if”, we know it will happen, but when) we’ll let the boys move from flag football to tackle football. So thank you for continuing to share information about this and please continue to do so. The boys will continue to chomp at the bit to strap on pads and bang heads like they see the college & pro players doing, but the more educated we are, the better decisions we can make on their behalf for their best results long-term. Have fun at the NFL offices!

  2. Pam says:

    Beaumont Hospital comes to the high school every Aug. to offer free baseline testing and of course I send Sean. They stated that they see more concussions due to soccer then any other sport at the high school level. The high school is very serious about consussions and I think they do their best with the rules/guidelines they have in place. Sometimes I think soccer players should wear some sort of helmet but I don’t know how well that would work with a head shot.

  3. Lynn says:

    What are you doing about skate boards, bicycles, and rollerblades that are being jump on and off anything and everything? Nobody is supervising these kids. Have you checked concussions from accidents caused by those using cell phones while driving? Sound like you don’t like football.

    • Lynn,
      I love football. It’s a football specific question because of the NFL-sponsored event. Every sport has an inherent risk, whether it’s getting hit by another player, or a ball, or blowing an ACL or breaking a collar bone. Personally, I shudder every time we watch the X Games. So, do you worry about your kids getting hurt playing football, or any other sport? Or while using their cell phone? Let us know.

      • Top three activities that bring a child to the ER
        1. Bike Riding
        2. Football
        3. Playground

        Football is working very hard to change and needs every mom to support these changes. We can make the game safer. I have seen a town do it over a four year period and it works. Excited to share ideas on Wednesday

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