I have been asked by many people what my thoughts are on the first law suit filed against a state high school association in regards to concussion. With this coming in my “home” state of Illinois, people figured I would have a strong statement or unique perspective. I have struggled with coming up with exactly what I wanted to say and could not figure out why. This is in my wheelhouse, commentary on recent and public events; one would think it would have been natural.
Then, I figured out why I couldn’t come up with something… BECAUSE I ALREADY DID, 29 MONTHS AGO!!!
Almost like I could see into the future. Below is what I wrote here and sent off to the Illinois High School Association in May of 2012. Looking back on it I still feel strongly in the proposals and the rationale. Take a quick look for yourself:
I have been working on this letter for a little while but was really spurred to action by the parent in Maryland, Tom Hearn who discussed his concerns with the local school board. I have tried and tried to use the “chain-of-command” with these thoughts and ideas, however at every step I got the feeling I would have to go alone on this, so I have. This letter may or may not reflect the opinions of my employer, high school, athletic training sanctioning bodies, or others I am involved with. This letter is from a concerned individual who feels I can spread the message effectively by these means. I have emailed the letter, proposals and the Sports Legacy Institute Hit Count White Paper to all Executive Directors and Board of Directors of the Illinois High School Association.
May 15, 2012Illinois High School Association c/o: Marty Hickman, Executive Director 2175 McGraw Drive Bloomington, IL 61704-6011 (309) 663-7479 – fax
Dear IHSA – Executive Directors, Board of Directors and Sports Med Advisory Board:
I am writing this letter to address the growing concern of concussions in sports, mainly in football. It should be noted that football is not the only sport with a concussion issue; however this sport combines the highest participation, highest risk, and highest visibility. This letter should not be construed as an attack on the sport of football, but rather a way to keep the sport continuing to grow.
As a licensed and practicing Athletic Trainer, researcher, commenter, father, and survivor of too many concussions, I feel that in order to keep the sports we love, proactive steps must be taken. Often being proactive is a painful process and easily dismissed because of the trouble it will cause. I urge all involved to think about what the future of all sports will be if nothing is done.
The Illinois State Legislature with the IHSA took the initiative by creating a mechanism of concussion education and awareness in response to the mounting scientific evidence of potential long-term impairments resulting from mishandling of this injury. However, this only represents a first step in the process; passing out a flyer or having parents and athletes initial that they have read the information is one small element of the issue. Another crucial element of the issue is coaching. We must ensure that those we entrust with the care and leadership of our children understand Continue reading