Tuesday, December 14, 2010

C+ means more work is needed

On January 12, 2010, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), along with 29 other healthcare and sports organizations met and held a summit to address the youth sports safety crisis that is currently affecting youth sport. But… with heightened attention paid to the effects of concussions on athletes… with the new bills passed in many states regarding the treatment of concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in youth athletes… with rule changes and increased disciplinary action for rule violators… with the amount of media exposure paid to the need for preventing preventable sport injuries… we still are not where we should be. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association still knows more can and should be done. Thus on 12/7/2010, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Youth Sports Safety Alliance have given all of these efforts a “C+” for 2010 noting that 48 youth athletes have died in the past year. This injury epidemic can not be stopped by organizations like the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and STOP Sports Injuries alone. It is going to take a complete paradigm shift (a change in the culture of youth sports, if you will) in how youth sports are governed, played and taught. The Sports Legacy Institute has brought research into practice resulting in rule changes in collision sports, increased awareness and a change in the NFL culture and attitude regarding TBI. The culture is changing in college and professional sport, but not at the youth level yet. In a December 8, 2010 New York Times article (Parents Embrace Documentary on Pressures of School), a child psychologist is quoted saying: “When success is defined by high grades, test scores, trophies we know that we end up with unprepared, disengaged, exhausted and ultimately unhealthy kids”. Since sport related injuries are caused by a mistake (intrinsic or extrinsic), having a disengaged, exhausted and unhealthy kid participating in youth sports is just the type of mistake that will give us an injured athlete (contributing to this epidemic).

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