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Concussion Summit During Super Bowl Week Promises To Be A Stellar Event

 

On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, during Super Bowl XLVIII Week, I will be participating in a panel discussion at the second annual Coalition for Concussion Treatment (#C4CT) Concussion Awareness Summit to be held this year at the United Nations in New York City.   

On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, during Super Bowl XLVIII Week, Brooke de Lench will be participating in a panel discussion at the second annual Coalition for Concussion Treatment (#C4CT) Concussion Awareness Summit at the United Nations in New York City.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Josh Zuchowski (Jupiter, Fla.)

 

Nine-year-old Josh Zuchowski and ten-year-old Reese Branzell are two of Florida's top swimmers in their age group. In fact, they've usually finished 1-2 in head-to-head matchups for the past three years, and each has a slew of trophies and medals to prove it. Josh Zuchowski and Reese Branzell

Nine-year-old Josh Zuchowski and ten-year-old Reese Branzell are two of Florida's top swimmers in their age group, usually finishing 1-2 in head-to-head matchups for the past three years, each with a slew of trophies and medals to prove it.  On December 7, with his rival Reese still in the hospital with a hip infection, Josh cleaned up at the Santa Claus Invitational, winning five gold medals and the all-around trophy as the meet's high point-getter. But it is what he did next that earned him honors as this month's Youth Sports Hero.

Looking Back With Pride, Looking Forward With Excitement

All is quiet at the MomsTEAM office this week. As we have done for the past thirteen years, we take a two-week year-end vacation to gear up for the New Year.

Stopping by to pick up a book, I look around the quiet office, I close my eyes and reflect on the biggest youth and high school sports stories of the year and wonder if we as a nation are any closer to our MomsTEAM mission of making sports safer, saner, less stressful and more inclusive or if we continue to spin wildly out of control in the crazy vortex that is youth sports in the 21st century.  I would like to think we are making some progress on the safety front, but less stressful? More inclusive? Not so sure we are making progress there. 

As much as we look back with pride on what we accomplished over the past year, highlighted by the release of our PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team", we eagerly look forward to the year ahead and the launch of our non-profit arm, the MomsTEAM Institute.

The Road To Varsity: It's Important To Look At The Signs Along The Way

 

It's been a full month and a half since the high school basketball season started, yet I have yet to officiate a varsity game.

Although I have been officiating for eight years, my move from Virginia to North Carolina last May meant that I was in my first year of membership in a new association.  I fully expected some degree of scrutiny, testing and evaluation after the move.  I paid dues, attended clinics, arrived early, stayed late, volunteered for more than the minimum number of scrimmages, and sought feedback from senior officials. Despite all my efforts, energy and experience, and relatively stellar evaluations and commentary from association insiders during the pre-season, my schedule, at least so far, is chock-full of non-varsity games. 

A veteran high school basketball official learns that her move to new state has meant that the road to officiating varsity games is going to take longer than she thought and take more twists and turns, so she will need to keep a sharp lookout for signs along the way in order to enjoy the trip.

Caitlin Cahow: Being Openly Gay Not Only Reason For Inclusion In U.S. Delegation To Sochi Olympics

Sometimes, when it feels like all I read about in the newspapers and hear on television is about war and conflict, along comes a young woman with wisdom, grace, confidence and dignity beyond her years, an "old soul", if you will, ready to bring us together, to teach the world that we are all one people.  Catlin Cahow is just such a person.  

The naming by President Barack Obama of Caitlin Cahow to be a member of the U.S. delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia came as no surprise to Brooke de Lench, not because she is openly gay but because offers the world a perspective on the power of sport in general, and the Olympics in particular, to unite, rather, than divide nations and people.

Middle School Football: Reflections On A Banner Season - On And Off the Field


A month has now passed since my son's last 7th grade football game, which has given me time to reflect back on his 9-game,  7-win, 2-loss season with a new-found sense of pride, not just for him, but for my own personal growth.  Not only did he really flourish on and off the field, but I find myself growing as well.7th grade football player being tackled

A month has now passed since her son's last 7th grade football game, which has given a Texas mom time to reflect back on his season with a new-found sense of pride, not just for him, but for her own personal growth.

The Path To Athletic Success: Play More, Compete Less

 

Mikaela Shiffrin is a young woman on the USA Olympic ski team who, I predict, we all will be hearing a lot about at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in February. She is a terrific ski racer and what is so interesting is how she learned to be so steady and so fast. 

As the story of Olympic skiing hopeful Mikaela Shiffrin tells us, the path to athletic success may be in practicing more and competing less.

Coaching Comes From the Heart

 

At the conclusion of most games, the final score dictates how players, parents and coaches feel about the performance of the team and individual players. When the team wins, everybody must have had a good game, and of course, the opposite is also true. Actually, the final score of the game tells us nothing about how individual players performed.

When winning is the primary focus, it results in a cascading series of decisions by coaches that can undermine the players' experience and development. At a minimum, complacency sets in for teams winning consistently, and panic takes over if the scores are disappointing.

Youth Sports Heroes: Bridgewater (MA) Badgers Pee Wee Football Team & Valley H.S. Varsity/JV Baseball Teams (Elk Grove, CA)

 

December is the month when journalists across the nation tie up the year's loose ends. With that motivation, I write here about two youth teams that deserve all the accolades they have received. The teams play on opposite coasts, play different sports, and in different seasons. One team's players are younger than the other's, and neither team has ever met the other. Their only common thread is that on each one, teammates joined together to do the right thing at the right time.

In this month's column, Doug Abrams salutes two teams who, though they hail from opposite coasts, play different sports, in different seasons, and are different ages, have one thing in common: they acted as teams to do the right thing at the right time.

High School Football Playoffs: Not A Time For Concussion Safety To Take Back Seat To Winning


As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. 

Football player holding his head

But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.

Even in the best of times, studies show that high school football players face what one recently called a ‘culture of resistance' to reporting to sideline personnel that they are experiencing concussion symptoms.

As the 2013 high school football season enters the home stretch, with teams fighting to stay alive in the playoffs, or preparing for traditional end-of-the-season games on Thanksgiving morning, the risk of concussion is an ever-present concern. But now is not the time to put winning ahead of safety.
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