So I was reading a Houston Chronicle article sent to us titled “Youth football less dangerous than thought” and came away really confused and to be honest questioning not only the agenda of the article but those interviewed, including two doctors, one high-profile doctor in Houston.
The first quote from Dr. Gary Bock that makes me scratch my head:
“We see more catastrophic injuries among cheerleaders than among any group of athletes,” Brock said. “The risk per hour of activity is seven times greater than with other participatory sports. It cracks me up when parents tell me they won’t let their sons play football but then push their daughters into cheerleading.”
This information would fly in the face of any significant injury tracking that has been done, especially the injury surveillance done by R. Dawn Comstock and her peers (2010-11 Original Summary Report). The work done by this group is for high school athletes, the only data set we have for athletes that young. Any other data set for “youth”athletes would be incomplete. So Dr. Bock is either making information up, or has a data set that would be incomplete. Football has a 3.50 injury rate/1,000 athlete exposures, and cheerleading… A WHOPPING… 0.59. Yes that would be roughly a 550% greater riskof ANY injury in football than cheerleading. Am I calling Dr. Bock a liar, no, I am saying his information is not correct. Dr. Bock later went on to try and explain that injuries in football and girls soccer were high because more kids played those sports. That is not correct either based upon quick Google searches about levels of participation in sports by youth.
The next quote I actually found disturbing, this one from Dr. Howard Derman (emphasis mine);
“I’m not saying it’s safer to play football as a child,” said Dr. Howard Derman, co-director of the vanguard Methodist Hospital Concussion Center, “but the plasticity – flexibility, in layman’s terms – in the brain is greater in a child, and it has more room to swell. So things we see in adult football players are slightly less of a concern in children. That’s just a statement of fact.
“What I would recommend is to let your kids play at the pre-school or pre-middle-school level unless they’ve had any kind of seizure issues. The amount of energy (produced in a collision) isn’t that great. But if they experience episodes where they feel dazed, confused or headachy, they should be pulled out immediately and taken to their pediatrician.”
Now I ask ANYONE to please tell me how this is not interpreted as “it is actually safer for youth brains”? I am dumbfounded by this… Perhaps we can get an explination from Dr. Derman, but when I searched him I found that Irv Muchnick also found this to be very interesting and Dr. Derman has yet to get back to him, but did take the time to email his concerns.
This is another example of how the awareness issue is a MUST, the message is not consistent and is causing major issues.