Tag Archives: risk

Concussions in Youth Sports

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According to the CDC “Heads Up” Activity Report, published in 2008:

  • Concussions are the most commonly reported injury in children and teenagers participating in youth sports.
  • There are more than 38 million boys and girls, ages 5-18, playing in organized sports nationwide.
  • 65% of reported sport-related concussions came from the 5-18 age group.*
    • Note – many of “these injuries may be considered mild, they can result in health consequences such as impaired thinking, memory problems, and emotional or behavioral changes.”

In the Introducing Concussions post, we learned that children may be at a higher risk of concussions than adults because their brains are still developing. How then do we address this issue safely in our youth leagues? We create more awareness about the seriousness of concussions, and increased knowledge about their prevalance.

Engaging in any youth sport requires a knowledge of the risks. The American Journal of Sports Medicine conducted an eleven-year study on the rates of concussions in high school sports. They found that per 100,000 player games or practices, the number of concussions per sport are as follows:

You probably noticed that boys and girls’ lacrosse are the third and fourth sports with the highest incidence of concussed players at the high school level. In my opinion, there are two reasons for this. One, boys’ lacrosse helmets while designed for impact, are more focused on front hits to the head than sideways or rear hits. You can check this with the padding in any generic lacrosse helmet. The sides are considerably thinner than the rest of the helmet. Second, girls’ wear eye-protection, not helmets. Plus, there are possibilities of collisions and falls to the ground in girl’s lacrosse.

Now if you are a parent your first thought after reading this post may be to pull your child off the playing field and encase them in a room filled with bubble wrap. Please, avoid that temptation and remember that the above list is per 100,000 players. That means while thirty boys may get a concussion, there are 99,970 boys that do not get one. While focusing on that makes me breathe easier, we still have to check on the thirty that are concussed.

So how can we be responsible league administrators, coaches, and parents when a player sustains a concussion? Gear up folks, it is reading and quiz time.

The CDC provides the following educational materials to coaches, players, and parents. I highly recommend reading each of these downloads before stepping onto the field this Fall Season.

Lastly, I want as many coaches as possible to take the CDC Concussions in Youth Sports Online Training for Coaches. This is a short, free online training tool for youth coaches. You will learn about:

  1. Concussion Basics
  2. Recognizing Concussions
  3. Responding to Concussions
  4. Getting Back in the Game
  5. Concussion Prevention

While we cannot completely prevent concussions in youth sports, we can understand the seriousness of them and respond appropriately. Remember, when in doubt – sit them out.

Featured Image credit – www.post-gazette.com




Don’t Text and Drive

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I am going to be completely honest here. I have driven a 3,224 pound four door 1998 Jeep Cherokee while texting. Since I started driving my Jeep there were times where I was not looking directly ahead of me. Instead I was looking down at my hand reading the lastest message of “hey how r u?” while in control of a ton and a half of metal moving anywhere from 1 to 60+ mph.

With the winter months upon us and unfavorable road conditions becoming a part of our lives I really want to drive one thought home. Eventually we will hit a patch of black ice and lose control of our vehicle. This simply cannot be helped. Eventually we will get a text message or a call. This simply cannot be helped. We cannot control unseen black ice. We can control our phones.

In “The Effects of Text Messaging on Young Novice Driver Performance” the authors state the following key findings:

  • The amount of time that drivers spent with their eyes off the road increased by up to 400% when retrieving and sending text messages.
  • The variability in lateral lane position increased by up to 70% when sending texts during the traffic light, pedestrian, and car following events.
  • The number of incorrect lane changes increased by 140% when retrieving and sending text messages. The majority of incorrect lane changes were due to drivers not seeing the signs when distracted by text messaging.
  • Ninety-five percent of participants reported that their driving performance declined when retrieving text messages

These results show what all of us who have ever looked at a text message while behind the wheel already know. You look up yell “Whoa!” and swerve back into the lane you were in because you were straddling the double yellow. Fortunately there are some options including one foolproof option that can prevent the dangers of texting and driving.

Educate Yourself

Educate Yourself

Did You Know?:

  • In 2008, almost 20 percent of all crashes in the year involved some type of distraction. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA).
  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
  • The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Smartphone Apps

Smartphone Apps

Smartphone Apps:

The two apps above cost a monthly fee but once installed they offer interesting benefits. These apps recognize when your phone is in motion. Whenever a text message is received a message is sent back automatically stating “I am driving I’ll get back to you,” or any other message that you want to send. The New York Post wrote a story called “App Drives Message Home” which details DriveSafe.ly, and to learn ore about TextZapper read this post by Smartphone Sue “Text Zapper app stops texting and driving.”

Turn Cell Phones Off

Turn Cell Phones Off

Turn it Off:

This is the foolproof option I was talking about. In fact it is the ultimate, no holds barred, cannot be topped option for preventing distracted driving. I am going to commit from today to turn off my phone before I turn the key. I have tried to do this consistently in the past and I have failed but I cannot expect people to follow my example if I do not follow it myself.

So from now on the phone is off while in the car. No worries, I will call you back.

Note: The statistics quoted in this post were obtained from: www.distraction.gov.