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Letting Kids Play Football is Not Child Abuse


The last three weeks have witnessed an all-out assault on the game of football, not coincidentally timed with the beginning of NFL training camps. First came a study reporting CTE in 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players. Following closely on the heels of that media circus was the publication last week of a new book by Dr. Bennet Omalu, Truth Doesn't Have a Side, and interviews in which Dr. Omalu, as he has for several years, argues that letting kids play football is the "definition" of child abuse. The not-so-surprising result has been a tsunami of emails in my Inbox asking for my views on the subject.

Are parents committing child abuse simply by allowing their kids to play a collision sport like football before middle school? Not unless it rises to the level of a callous and wanton disregard for a child's safety (e.g. reckless endangerment).

CTE: Is The Media Scaring Young Athletes To Death?

As someone who has been educating sports parents about head trauma in sports for the past seventeen years, and about the very real risk posed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) for the last decade, it is not surprising that I receive emails from parents all the time expressing deep concern about stories in the media that have led them - wrongly - to fear that playing contact or collision sports, or suffering a sports-related concussion, especially one slow to heal, makes it inevitable that their child will develop CTE and is at greatly increased risk of committing suicide.

As someone who has been educating sports parents about head trauma in sports for the past seventeen years, and about the very real risk posed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) for the last decade, it is not surprising that I receive emails from parents all the time expressing deep concern about stories in the media that have led them - wrongly - to fear that playing contact or collision sports, or suffering a sports-related concussion, especially one slow to heal, makes it inevitable that their child will develop CTE and is at greatly increased risk of committing suicide.

Hydration in Sports: It's All About Balance

As summer swelters on, those on the front line of athletic care should be especially vigilant of hyponatremia when treating sick patients or advising healthy individuals. Recommend having a variety of fluids freely available and advise people - especially exercising athletes - to drink when thirsty and reduce activity, splash with water, and seek a shaded spot when hot. Before we promote blanket advice to "drink lots of fluid" and "stay well-hydrated", we should be mindful that fluid is a balance - especially during exercise.

Overhydration Deaths on the Football Field Are Preventable

Continued over-emphasis of "forced hydration" by coaches, athletic trainers and even physicians makes youngsters especially vulnerable to exercise-associated hyponatremia, says an expert on EAH.

Experts Weigh in on Preventing Exertional Heat Stroke at the Boston Marathon

Marathon weather conditions can be unpredictable, from snow squalls to extreme heat, which may lead to increased risks of life-threatening medical emergencies, including exertional heat stroke (EHS). Monitoring for early signs of an injury is critical. It's also extremely helpful to know an individual's medical history, as athletes with a history of heat illness may be more susceptible to a repeat heat illness experience.

SmartTeams' de Lench and MacDonald Present Six Pillars Concussion Program at IOC World Conference

Brooke de Lench, Executive Director of MomsTeam Institute, Inc., and Jim MacDonald, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the MomsTeam Board of Directors, and a sports medicine physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital presented MomsTeam's Smart Teams Play Safe concussion risk reduction program at the International Olympic Committee's World Conference On Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco.

NATA Issues New Sports Health and Safety Best Practice Guidelines

The National Athletic Trainers' Association has issued best practice youth sports health safety guidelines. Hailed as the first of their kind, the guidelines largely mirror best practice recommendations that MomsTEAM Institute has been advocating that independent sports programs adopt as part of its SmartTeamsTM program.

Vision Assessment Should Be Part Of Return-To-Learn Protocol, UAB Researchers Say

A comprehensive vision assessment should be part of return-to-learn protocols to help determine when children are ready to return to the classroom following concussions - particularly in children reporting academic difficulty, says a new study.

Athletic Trainers' Group Issues Position Statement On The Use Of Mouthguards In Preventing Dental Injuries

With participation in high school and college sports and injuries, including to the teeth, on the rise, the National Athletic Trainers' Association has issued new guidelines on preventing and managing sport-related dental and oral injuries through the use of mouthguards.

Inadequate Helmet Fit Increases Concussion Severity In High School Football Players

High school football players who sustain concussions while wearing improperly fitted helmets are at higher risk of experiencing more symptoms and taking longer to recover, with concussions of longer duration also more common in players with an air-bladder helmet. High schools should ensure proper adult oversight of football helmet fit throughout the season, says the study.
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