Tag Archives: risks

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




Cheating Your Body

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When I was in tenth grade all I ever desired was getting bigger. I wanted to be the scariest looking defenseman on the field. But, there was a problem. Nothing I did added pounds onto my frame. I drank whey protein before and after workouts for six months. I ate as much as I could manage. I even purchased muscle gainer shakes that packed on an extra 3,000 calories to my diet. I went as hard as I could but even though I gained strength I never gained mass. What I did not know at the time is my body does not bulk up. It leans out.

Eventually I became disillusioned with gaining weight but it was hard to do especially when I was reading about steroids in professional sports. It looks so easy to do because it is. Just take this liquid thunder and three months later you are growing faster than weeds marinated with Miracle Grow. I cannot tell you how tempting it is for an athlete to look at before and after photos and not want to try steroids. Still, no matter how tempting it was I could not jump on the steroid bandwagon because I had a little knowledge in my back pocket.

“Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are extremely powerful drugs.  “Anabolic” means to grow and “androgenic,” pertains to the development of male characteristics.” – www.steroidabuse.com

Bonds Before and After

Bonds Before and After

Risks of Steroid Use on the Growing Body:

  • Chronic AAS abuse can lead to serious liver diseases including the growth of tumors, malignant cancers, and formation of blood filled sac known as pelosis hepatitis.
  • Cardio Vascular Disease, also known as CVD, encompasses a wide range of complications including arteriosclerosis which causes deposits of fatty substances and cellular waste products to buildup on the inner lining of arterial walls.
  • The improper supplementation of male hormones (AAS) can cause decreases or cessation in the body’s natural hormone production causing both reversible and irreversible changes. – Watch your boys’ shrink
  • New research on animals conducted at Northeastern University suggests that steroid use in adolescents may permanently alter brain chemistry, whereas the mental effects on adult users typically subside following cessation of use (BBC News, August, 16, 2002).
  • Teens most likely will not have the resources to obtain the proper paraphernalia for sterilely injecting steroids.  Poor injecting techniques can lead to bacterial infections under the skin such as abscesses, cellulitis, gangrene, and excessive the formation of scar tissue.  The hazardous practice of sharing needles can present a risk of transmitting AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis B or C.

Now if any of that does not scare you half to death then you need to reread it or just look at the below picture of one of the most infamous steroid abuse cases I have ever seen:



This picture has not been photoshopped. Greg Valentino became so obsessed with having the largest biceps he actually injected Anabolic Steroids into his biceps. He eventually developed a cyst in his bicep and was hospitalized after a resulting infection from the steroid needles. Now his biceps are permanently enlarged and he can lift a maximum of thirty pounds with them. He destroyed his body in the pursuit of his idea of perfection but he never stopped to think about the costs.

Using steroids as a shortcut to gain weight and muscle is simply stupid. There is no other way for me to say that. I spent months training hard to gain weight but my body did not have the genetics to support that type of growth. I was angry and annoyed because no matter what I did I could not gain mass. I could have taken steroids to kick start my body into increasing my muscles but what would I have lost in the process? I would be prone to mood swings, potential liver damage, unable to run because of cardiovascular damage, a shrinking brain, and shriveled testicles. I suppose I could have developed some serious muscles and, as a bonus, some serious medical bills.

Remember you only get one body. Don’t cheat it.