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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. 

Lost in Translation: The Perils of Tweeting About Concussions

One of the things I try to do every day is carve out time to keep up with what people are saying on Twitter, and occasionally throwing in my two-cents worth. For those of you reading this blog who follow MomsTEAM on Twitter, it won't come as any big surprise that concussions in sports seems to be the topic that most often lights up the youth sports Twittersphere.

But as anyone active on Twitter also knows, condensing one's thoughts into 140 character "tweets" is often a challenge, and can sometimes leave a lot to be desired, especially when one is talking about a subject as complex as concussions.

Last night was one of those times.

As anyone active on Twitter knows, condensing one's thoughts into 140 character "tweets" is often a challenge, especially when one is talking about a subject as complex as concussions. Last night was one of those times.

Chronic Under-Reporting Of Concussion: Is Changing The Culture A Realistic Solution?

 

If your child plays a contact or collision sport, whether at the youth, middle school or high school level, odds are that at some point in their athletic career they will suffer a concussion. How well they recover depends a lot on how quickly their concussion is identified so they can be removed from practice or game action. 

A lot of student-athletes - a declining percentage, fortunately - don't appreciate precisely when they have suffered a concussion. There are a lot of reasons:

Most athletes won't self-report concussion symptoms to sideline personnel, much less voluntarily remove themselves from the game. Changing the culture is one way to address the problem of chronic under-reporting, but it can't be counted on as a panacea.

Limiting Full-Contact Practices in High School Football: The Time to Act is Now!

For those of you who may be wondering why you haven't seen a blog from me in recent weeks, there is a simple answer: I have been head down (pardon the pun) finishing up MomsTEAM's high school football concussion documentary, The Smartest Team.

Newcastle, Oklahoma football player about to be tackledTwo news items on the subject of brain trauma in high school football, however, hit my desk over the past week which deserve comment.

Despite a growing body of evidence which suggests that brain trauma to football players can result, not just from violent helmet-on-helmet collisions hard enough to lead to concussions but from the cumulative effect of less forceful, but repetitive, subconcussive blows, no steps have been taken to limit such trauma at the high school level. That may be about to change.

MomsTEAM's 2012 Year In Review: Another Year For Finding Solutions, Not Just Identifying Problems


Yesterday, the last day of what has been a very long, yet rewarding year as the publisher of MomsTEAM, I took some time to read many of the blog entries that I and our other bloggers contributed during the past year, and reviewing 365 days of Facebook and Twitter posts.

First, a confession: I began 2012 vowing to write a blog every day. Like many who make New Year's resolutions, I started out with the best of intentions, and kept up a pretty good pace in the first month or so of the year, but then a major opportunity presented itself - a plea for help from a football mom in Oklahoma - that made a daily blog no longer possible. (More about that in a moment)

In reviewing the past twelve months and looking forward to 2013, MomsTEAM's Founder and Publisher has a renewed sense of purpose to meet the challenge of making youth sports saner, safer, less stressful and more inclusive.

Seven Days In November: Concussions 24/7

It's been a very busy seven days.  Pretty much, all football, all concussions, all the time.

It began with a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in last Friday's Aspen Institute roundtable on the future of youth and high school football, and back home.

Saturday and Sunday were spent getting the trailer for the new MomsTEAM football documentary, The Smartest Team,  uploaded to a new website.

On Monday morning, after sharing my thoughts on Aspen, I turned my attention to preparing for a quick trip to Austin, Texas on Wednesday, where I was the after-dinner speaker at the end of a symposium on concussions put on by Core Health Systems.

It's been a very busy seven days. Pretty much all football, all concussions, all the time. But if there is anything MomsTEAM's Founder and Publisher has learned over the past twelve years of following the advances in our knowledge of concussion, it is that an "all-of-the-above" strategy has the best chance of making the game safer.

Aspen Institute Football Roundtable Was Valuable, But Changed Few Minds

Last Friday, I participated in a roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C. conducted by the Aspen Institute's Sports & Society program called "Playing Safety: The Future of Youth Football?" It was moderated by ESPN's Tom Farrey and, in the phrase made famous by the movie Casablanca, rounded up all the usual suspects on concussion safety and football, including MomsTEAM concussion expert emeritus Dr. Bob Cantu, USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck, and NFL Player Association President DeMaurice Smith, among other luminaries from the world of football and journalism. I was indeed honored to be asked to join those debating the future of the sport.

The Aspen Institute's discussion on the future of youth and high school football rounded up the usual suspects, both those advocating against tackle football before age 14 or abolishing the sport altogether, and those saying that the best approach is to institute reforms so that teams can play smart, not scared.

Pop Warner Concussion Scandal: Lessons Learned

The Pop Warner concussion scandal - one that, sadly, occurred right in my backyard here in Massachusetts - has put youth football under the microscope once again.

The Pop Warner concussion scandal has put youth football under the microscope once again. But is what happened in that single game reason enough to pull a kid out of football, or never sign him (or her) up in the first place? I don't think so.
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