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NOCSAE and Helmet Sensors: An Ounce Of Prevention

There is still confusion about the recent position, or should I say positions, taken by NOCSAE over the past month, first deciding that the certification of any helmet with a third-party add-on would be viewed as automatically void, then, this past week, making a 180-degree U-turn and leaving it up to the helmet manufacturers to decide whether affixing impact sensors to the inside or outside of a helmet voided the certification.  Unless you read my article on NOCSAE's original decision and Lindsay Barton's this past week on its clarification, and perhaps even if you did, you are probably scratching your head and wondering what the heck is going on!

Well, I am scratching my head, too.

With all the controversy surrounding NOCSAE's recent rulings on the effect of third-party add-ons on helmet certification, what Brooke de Lench and others are wondering is why NOCSAE isn't asking the helmet manufacturers to explain to them and the rest of us how a 2-ounce piece of plastic stuck to a 4+ pound football helmet has them so worried?  Whether the NOCSAE rulings were intended to put the brakes on the market for helmet sensors to give the helmet manufacturers time to catch up, it is hard to see how it won't have exactly that effect, she says.

NOCSAE Voiding of Certification For Sensor-Equipped Helmets: A Big Blow To Player Safety

Last week many of the technology manufacturers who have been working diligently to produce products to make helmeted sports such as football safer were dealt a severe, if not crippling, blow by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) when, out of the blue, it decided to view modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons as voiding its certification, which could only be regained if the helmet is retested with the add-on. Newcastle Racers wearing three different football helmets

Brooke de Lench believes that the new NOCSAE ruling voiding the certification for sensor-equipped helmets could not have come at a worse time, just as football - from the youth level to the NFL - is gearing up for the 2012 season. If not reversed or modified, de Lench fears that it will have harsh real-world consequences; not just on sensor manufacturers but on player safety and consumer choice.

"Crash Reel": Not Just A Documentary About Traumatic Brain Injury But Teaches Important Life Lessons, Too

For the past month I have been trying without success to find the time to join the makers of the newCrash Reel poster documentary, "Crash Reel," at one of their premiere screenings. It is a movie I have been very eager to see for a number of reasons. Finally, over the weekend, I was able watch the film, which airs tonight on HBO at 9:00 p.m. EDT.

I am so glad I finally was able to see the film.  Not only did it exceed all of my expectations, but, it evoked in me a mix of both wonderful and sad memories from my past.

The new HBO Documentary "Crash Reel" is a "must see" for all sports parents. It is not just an inspiring story of snowboarder Kevin Pearce's recovery from traumatic brain injury but is chock full of very powerful life lessons, many that will be ones parents will want to share with children, says MomsTEAM's Brooke de Lench.

Reducing Sexual Abuse in Youth Sports Requires A Team Effort

NOTE: This article is from an earlier  blog, yet remains important.

Earlier this spring  I had the honor of being invited to speak at the "Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse" summit in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.  

The summit brought together over fifty of the nation's largest youth-serving and youth-sports organizations, as well as child development, youth sports and prevention experts, to discuss strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse while playing sports.

The need to redouble efforts to prevent sexual abuse of athletes by their coaches was driven home to Brooke de Lench over the past couple of weeks, which has seen a sharp spike in reports in the media about youth sports coaches accused and convicted of, and sentenced to probation or jail for sex crimes against young athletes.

Newcastle-Moore, Oklahoma Tornado Hit Close To Home

Two things have weighed heavily on my mind the past two weeks: the tornadoes that have ravaged the Oklahoma City area, and the professional and amateur storm chasers who risk their lives to follow them.  

On May 20, 2013, as I watched coverage of the EF-5 Newcastle-Moore tornado on CNN, I was worried about the football community in Newcastle, a town I had grown to know, respect and appreciate over the 8 months I spent visiting last year while producing and directing The Smartest Team documentary.  

Two things have weighed heavily on Brooke de Lench's mind the past two weeks: the Newcastle-Moore tornado that ravaged the Oklahoma City area, and the professional and amateur storm chasers who risk their lives to follow them.

A Mother's Day Wish List

It's May once again. Time for spring sports, warmer weather, longer days, and, of course, Mother's Day. This year, instead of celebrating mothers with the usual cards and flowers, I have put together a special wish list for the mothers, grand mothers, step mothers and other caregivers in this country with kids playing sports.

Brooke de Lench and Taylor Lench

Here's this year's list:

This Mother's Day, as has been her Brooke's practice in years past, she has a wish list for making youth sports better. Here's this year's list.

Improving Concussion Safety in High School Football: Promising Developments, But A Long Way To Go

It has been a good two weeks for parents looking to make high school football safer, with a number of promising developments. But it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered.

The last two full weeks of April 2013 have been a good one for parents looking to make high school football safer, but it is not time to declare victory, and many questions remain to be answered,

Stricter Enforcement of Rules Against Helmet-to-Helmet Contact: The Time For Action Is Now

The most recent consensus statement on concussion in sport (1) states that "rule enforcement may be a critical aspect of modifying injury risk."    

Watch any high school football game and you will see a lot of helmet-to-helmet contact in the trenches, much of which has been technically illegal for over three decades. The problem is that penalties are rarely, if ever, called; so much so, that linemen see leading with their helmet, perversely, as a form of self-protection. The time for that to change is now.

The Smartest Team Is Out!

It's hard to believe that, after over a year of hard work, MomsTEAM's high school football documentary, "The Smartest Team, is finally being released

The release of MomsTEAM's high school football documentary, "The Smartest Team," is the culmination of everything we have learned over the last 13 years as the pioneer in youth sports concussion education, and 13 months working with a high school football community and a team of experts to implement a concussion risk management program we call the Six Pillars.

NFL's Goodell Speaks At UNC About Concussion Safety

On March 6, 2013, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about concussion safety at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was there at the invitation of a leading concussion expert, Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, Kenan Distinguished Professor and Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC.

In a wide-ranging speech (see video below), Commissioner Goodell indicated that the NFL "stand[s] ready" to  "share any of our research with any other league," and expressed the belief that "we should all be working to make youth sports safer." 

We at MomsTEAM couldn't agree more. 

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