Appearing in the USA Today is an article that brings into the forefront the topic we have been discussing for some time here on The Concussion Blog. Although it is easy to target the sport of football, it is not the enemy. Those that run reckless programs and don’t address the ever-growing concerns of catastrophic injuries and concussions are the enemies.
Sport and activity is a must in our society, anything to keep kids and people active as obesity in our society grows. More and more evidence is beginning to support the delay of starting full contact/collision sports including football. This is mainly due to body development but can also be due to brain development.
When reading the article it was refreshing to see that more prominent people are suggesting the EXACT SAME reduction in contact days/hours;
“We are going to look at reducing the number of contact hours in practice and reducing the risk of head contact in practice. … Pop Warner is going to make rule changes to reduce the number of head contacts,” said Chicago neurosurgeon Julian Bailes, chairman of the board.
At Boston’s Sports Legacy Institute, CEO Chris Nowinski also is campaigning for a “hit count” for youths in football and other contact sports. Like a pitch count in baseball, it would limit how many hits a child can take per season and year.
The other aspect of the article that is relevant is the fact that athletic trainers should be available for those participating in collision sports;
When a concussion occurs, the first step is to recognize it. Hitting picks up in high school, but the National Athletic Trainers’ Association reports just 42% of high school athletes have access to athletic trainers. “It’s embarrassing as a society that we allow these sports to be playing without having proper medical coverage out there,” Guskiewicz said.
My opinion is that if you cannot afford an athletic trainer then you cannot afford to have the sport, period.
Everyone needs to wade through the hyperbole (we are guilty of some of it), and find out the answers. There are plenty of resources so take the time to find out.