UPMC Blazes Trail… Comes up with curious results

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh did something that has not been done up to this point; an intensive study on youth football.  Using geography as its selector the prestigious group looked into Pop Warner football and concussion rates.  The sample size is impressive, over 11,000 athletic exposures over an entire season of play (2011).

However, instead of heralding the work more questions have been raised about the conclusions drawn by lead researcher Micky Collins, PhD.  I don’t want to “lead the witness” before you had the chance to hear yourself, watch Dr. Collins below;

Interestingly enough Dr. Collins’ points regarding the depth and breadth of this investigation are spot on, it was both needed and welcome.  It is good to have a starting point and something to say “this is where we came from” at all levels of sport – with regards to concussions.  After that, I personally Continue reading

Concussion Trending Stories

This morning I looked for the trending stories on concussions and the top three are as follows.

Concussions Bring More Scrutiny in Youth Football

  • Naturally this is stemming from the Pop Warner fallout; the game that resulted in five concussions and discipline against the adults that were coaching the game.
  • It brings up the debate of should kids that young be playing collision football.

As evidence mounts that repetitive head injuries can have a cumulative effect, and leagues at all levels take steps to improve player safety, parents said games where one team is physically overmatched should be stopped right away. Football is tough enough when the sides are fair, some parents said.

  • Massive size and skill advantages not with standing is it really a good idea to have our 5-12 year old’s go out there and be put in a situation where head trauma is not only present, but likely?


Dale Jr. Cleared to Return

  • I have been sort of quiet on this particular concussion; mainly because I feel it was handled correctly.
  • If you follow racing sports you will notice that concussions are relatively low for the amounts of accidents that occur on a track at high-speed.  A couple of theories on that, one and most importantly Continue reading

Pop Warner Game Results In Discipline

On September 15th there was a Pop Warner football game for 10-12 year-old’s; it did not end so well for the Tantasqua team, getting drubbed 52-0.  However, that was not the only story line of the game.  Evidently five players suffered a concussion is this ONE game, which resulted in discipline;

The five children missed various numbers of school days because of their injuries, and one has not returned to the field.

The coaches, Southbridge’s Scott Lazo and Tantasqua’s Erik Iller, were suspended for the remainder of the season and placed on probation through the 2013 season after a lengthy hearing Thursday conducted by Central Mass. Pop Warner.

The association presidents, Lazo’s brother, Doug Lazo of Southbridge, and Iller’s wife, Jen Iller of Tantasqua, also were placed on probation through the 2013 season because they attended the game and failed to take action, according to the hearing committee.

In addition, Continue reading

Pop Warner Changes

It is about time someone took a proactive step in football.  The sport is not the sacred cow everyone thinks it is; football is touchable by the courts and deep pockets, it is “when” not “if” when it comes to disruption of the sport.  However Pop Warner football actually took a very bright and forward step in limiting contact for its players;

Pop Warner is limiting contact in practice as part of an effort to reduce players’ risk of concussion. Pop Warner’s medical advisory board made the announcement this week.

Under the new regulations, coaches must limit contact to no more than one-third of their practice time. It also is banning full-speed, head-on blocking or tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart. Coaches can have full-speed drills in which players approach each other at an angle but “not straight ahead into each other.” There also should be no head-to-head contact.

HOWEVER!!!  (Always seems to be that or a ‘but’ with me)…  There still can be contact Continue reading

Pop Warner Concussion Rules

Looks like Pop Warner, with the help of the NFL, has created a medical oversight committee, and their first task was the creation of some head injury rules/guidelines.  I am still looking for a full press release with more details – all info I have is based on this espn.com article.  Youth athletes MUST have a note from a doctor before allowing return to play.  While this is a GIANT step in the right direction, this issue is certain to be filled with  problems purely on lack of universal access to medical professionals experienced with sports-related head injuries. More to come when I find the full press release…

Update 1:

Wow, I am impressed… there were a few things that came to mind when I read the espn.com article that I was immediately concerned about, and it appears Pop Warner did a great job with these rules.  While I still have some concerns, it is certainly a SIGNIFICANT step forward in youth athletics.

My number one concern was parents – now I know there are many great parents out there, many that would do anything for their children – but with that comes another problem.  Sometimes doing anything and everything is going too far, specifically I’m talking about two things.  1.) Parents being objective and seeing the bigger picture when their child is injured in athletics (sometimes it becomes hard to remember that this is just a game for fun).  And 2.) parents who are also medical providers can have their judgment clouded when it’s their child that’s injured.

Fortunately, Pop Warner has addressed these issues.

S3: Injured player: Once removed by reason of injury, a player shall not re-enter the game without the approval of an official licensed athletic trainer or medical professional who is not a parent/guardian of the player.

More to come.

Full Press Release