Defunding of Texas Steroid Testing Program A Chance to Consider Better Ways for Schools To Spend Money on Sports

A recent article in the Boston Globe reported that a controversial steroid testing program of high school athletes in Texas is in danger of being de-funded, as the state House budget has cut the money for the program.  The Senate draft still includes funding for the program.  Florida eliminated a small testing program in 2009.  New Jersey and Illinois also have statewide programs.

Tagging the runnerBegun in 2008, the $6 million Texas program called for random steroid testing of the state's more than 700,000 public high school.   But when the first 50,000 tests produced only 24 confirmed cases, critics began deriding the program as a waste of money.

Spend money on sports programs

With Texas likely to join Florida in scrapping its steroid testing program, time again to consider better uses of the money, as I did in a Washington Post op ed back in December 2006, when then-White House director of National Drug Policy, John Waltes, and Deputy Secretary of Education Ray Simon, announced with great fanfare an award of $8.6 million in federal money for student drug testing programs.

One way, I think, to get the maximum bang for the buck would be to provide additional funding of after-school sports and exercise programs.  Not only would such programs likely reduce drug use and teen pregnancies (studies show that teens are most at risk of engaging in such unhealthy behavior in the afternoon hours before their parents get home from work), but it would help more kids get the 60 minutes of exercise experts say they need every day, thus reducing childhood obesity.

I have long advocated for reform the interscholastic sports programs in the nation's public middle and high schools to provide for full inclusion.  The current public high school model - one first-year team, one varsity, one sub varsity - might have made sense at the time it was adopted in 1924, when the number of roster spots was roughly equal to the number of those who wanted to play. But it makes no sense today, when the number of those who want to continue playing sports in middle school and high school far exceeds the finite number of spots available.

It is especially important for teenagers to know that they belong; that they fit in. Cutting tells teenagers that they don't fit in, that they don't belong. This is the wrong message to send during adolescence. As the most prominent of all high school extracurricular activities, athletics continues to confer on its participants the highest levels of status and prestige in our teenage culture. The feeling by athletes that they are special tends to lead to disharmony, the creation of cliques, and to reinforcing the jock culture, not to promoting feelings of community, full inclusion, and cooperative learning that schools work so hard to instill. Adopting a policy of full inclusion would be especially beneficial for teenage boys, for whom sports would provide an outlet for their aggression and help them connect socially with other boys.

Under full inclusion, teams would be added as necessary to meet the demand, even if it meant fielding two or three more teams. Every athlete would practice, but only athletes in good academic standing and with no disciplinary problems would suit up for games. To ensure that schools would field the most competitive teams, the most skilled players would still get the bulk of the playing time at the varsity level.

The extra teams could be funded through the additional user fees, with money raised by booster clubs and/or by parents of the athletes themselves, some of whom could be recruited as volunteer coaches. Government money now spent on drug testing of athletes could be redirected to fund more sports teams.

According to a February 2006 Gallup Youth Study, one in five teens is overweight with only 21 percent of teens claiming to participate in sports or recreation five to six days a week and only 19 percent of our teens participating in vigorous sports or physical activity five to six days a week. (Indeed a 2010 study suggests that organized sports participation is often not enough to meet a child's need for exercise). Children who are cut from sports teams will not exercise as frequently as they would if they were playing sports; they are much more likely to spend their afternoons watching television, becoming obese, and getting into trouble.  A policy of full inclusion for interscholastic sports at the middle and high school level would also eliminate one of the principal reasons for parental misconduct in youth sports.

Given the intense competition for the limited roster spots on high school teams, no wonder so many parents are led by our winner-take-all society to act in inappropriate ways - to become violent when they see their child's chances at winning one of the coveted spots threatened by a coach who decides to sit him or her on the bench.

It simply makes no sense whatsoever from a public health standpoint to continue the cutting policy that contributes to an overall decline in physical fitness among adolescents and young adults and does nothing to combat drug use by keeping teens busy in after-school programs such as sports.

Brooke de Lench is the author of Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports (HarperCollins 2006) and Founder and Publisher of

Do you have a story to share? You can reach me at 

For sports parenting tips and news, join MomsTeam on Facebook.


Was The Welker Benching During the Patriots-Jets Playoff Game a Teachable Moment?

On Sunday, the New England Patriots met their bitter rivals, the New York Jets, for the third time this season, with the winner advancing to the AFC Championship game. The Pats had only lost two games all season, were unbeaten at Gillette Stadium, and were heavy favorites to not only beat the Jets but to go all the way to and win the Super Bowl in Dallas in early February.

But it didn't go according to plan. Bill Belichick's team played poorly, the Jets played well, and the result was a shocking 28-21 loss by New England to Rex Ryan's Jets.

As painful as the loss has been for Pats fans, it nevertheless provides a great "teachable moment" for parents to talk about with their young athletes around the dinner table.

For me, the way the game played out furnished a lesson about the importance of going into a game, especially of this importance, as a unified, cohesive and mentally strong team. As is true in all sports, being mentally prepared is just as important as being physically prepared, and can often be the difference, as I believe it was on Sunday.

No one - least of all Coach Belichick - will admit it, but I think the Pats weren't mentally prepared. because they got distracted when Belichick benched a key member of the team, wide receiver Wes Welker, for the first offensive series of the game, for comments he had made to the press earlier in the week;  a press conference during which he made 11 references to Jets coach Rex Ryan's alleged foot fetish.

Thrown off their game by a benching - however temporary - of one of their own star players, the Patriots never did get into a groove. "It was lack of execution,'' sighed a morose quarterback Tom Brady after the game. "In order to score points, you must consistently put together plays. We could never do that, and find a rhythm.''

Initially, I thought that coach Belichick may have had made the right move, one intended to send his team a strong message that he did not think Welker's actions were as amusing as most people who heard them thought they were at the time.  For a no-nonsense coach like Belichick, Welker's antics, which I am sure were intended as a way to break the tension in the build-up to the game and a humorous response to the torrent of taunting and smashy-trashy mouthing the Jets had been dishing out all week, warranted a response.  But perhaps it would have been better to deal with the breach of etiquette internally, as Red Sox manager, Terry Francona, did on numerous occasions when Manny Ramirez acted inappropriately.

As game time approached, I began to develop a strong sense of foreboding that something bad (from a Pats' fan standpoint) was about to happen: a feeling that meting out such a punishment for inappropriate behavior wasn't the right thing to do, and was likely to backfire.  Not only did the punishment not fit the "crime" but I was worried that it would distract the team so much that it wouldn't be mentally prepared for the Jets.

And it did.

I could understand how a coach at the high school level might be justified in benching a player shooting off his mouth to teach him and the rest of his players a lesson. But benching a professional player who has been a vital member of a team all season? Was it a smart move to send him to the bench with his tail between his legs and deprive Tom Brady of his favorite target? Was that the best way to start a game, or did it say to the Jets that their words had had the desired effect; that they had gotten under the skin of the Pats players? Perhaps the lesson to be learned from the Welker incident is something we all learned as a child on the playground when someone was teasing us: that sticks and stones can break our bones but words can never hurt us?

What do you think? Did the coach do the right thing? Did the Welker comments and subsequent benching leave the Pats mentally unprepared for the game? What is the lesson of this story to impart to your kids?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or send me an email at

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Moms Speaking Up for Sports Safety Should Be Applauded, Not Dismissed

There is a battle brewing at Laguna Beach High School in California. It involves protecting the safety of kids during sports, so you know which side I fall on. This is no different than hundreds of stories from across the country that that I get sent each month, but this caught my attention because it talked about a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infection which is a potentially fatal bacterium that too few sports parents know much about.  Artifiical turf end zone

Denise De La Torre, the mother of a high school football player who has been very ill with a MRSA infection, has been lobbying for a better safety protocol for the sports program.  According to an article in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, De La Torre is pushing for training and conditioning to prevent injuries that are more prevalent with turf fields, a full-time athletic trainer to properly assess injuries, as opposed to a volunteer orthopedic surgeon who isn't able to attend all of the games, thorough cleaning and maintenance of the potentially bacteria-ridden field, and a better chain of communication so that when injuries occur, players are immediately sent for medical attention so injuries don't have time to progress (in other words, an emergency medical plan).

She deserves to be applauded and fully supported by all parents, coaches and school officials for doing her job: protecting her child. Like most mothers, Ms. De La Torre, is working hard to protect all the children, not just her won. BRAVO. This is a brave act on her part but something that mothers since the dawn of day have been "programmed" to do. Mothers are natural guardians of children at play.

So, where is the problem? Ms. De La Torre is not getting full support, especially from all parents. Why? Parents are frustrated because they are routinely told that physical, emotional and even sexual injuries are the price their children have to pay to be able to play sports, and if they complain, Like Ms. De La Torre, they will be dismissed as representing a small minority when in fact they represent a silent majority.

As a youth sports expert, I have the opportunity to connect and work with families of catastrophically injured children (all too often) who have been hurt while playing sports. For parents who are afraid to go public with concerns about program safety, know that you are not alone. However, there are things you can do to help make certain your school is protecting all the kids.  MomsTeam has comprehensive information to help even the most private of people and even if all you do is make copies of our articles and distribute them, you will be helping to bring with awareness to the problems AND the solutions.

For instance, to help middle and high schools and private- and community-based youth sports organizations (YSOs) provide appropriate medical care to secondary-school-aged adolescents in sports, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) issued a Summary Statement a while back calling for schools and YSOs to establish, in consultation with administrators, coaches, parents and athletes, athletic health care teams (AHCTs) to address the issue of athletic injuries in a comprehensive way. The Summary Statement, published in the August 2008 issue of The Journal of Athletic Training, contains 11  consensus recommendations

I wonder how many of the eleven have been implemented at Laguna Beach High. How many is your child's high school following?  If it is falling short on sports safety, perhaps it's time for you to speak up, like Donna De La Torre. It's always the right time to speak in favor of better safety in sports.

Have a story to share? E-mail me at

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Thanksgiving Blessings: Foundation Gives Malawi Youth Chance To Play Sports, Get Education

Most American youth playing sports these days are lucky enough to play on well-maintained fields and with the best and latest sports gear.  Children in the southeast African nation of Malawi, among the world's least developed and most densely populated countries, aren't so fortunate.  Malawan children face many adversities, including poverty, disease, and low life expectancies.  Opportunities to play sports, much less with the right equipment, are few and far between.Kalekeni Banda and children of Chituka, Malawi


The Banda Bola Sports Foundation is trying to change that.  Over the past two years, with the help of donations of money and gently used sports equipment and new school supplies, the Foundation has begun sponsoring after-school sports and education programs for Malawi students in grades K through 8.  Founded by Malawan native, former Malawan Olympic and UMass women's soccer coach, Kalekeni Banda, the 501(c)(3) non-profit, based in Guilderland, New York, is working with local organizations, secondary schools and soccer clubs to establish the first after-school in-house soccer league for girls and boys in grades 1 through 6 and travel soccer teams for boys and girls in grades 7 and 8 in Chituka Village, Banda's birthplace.

Most recently, on Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Foundation partnered with the Latham (NY) Soccer Club for a fundraiser at the Latham recreation fields, collecting used sports gear and school supplies to send directly to needy youth in Chituka Village.  Huge boxes were filled with used soccer balls, cleats, socks and uniforms, as well as notebooks, pens, paper, and other basic school supplies for shipment to Malawi.  

Smiling faces and Thanksgiving blessings

One need look no further than the "smiles on their faces [to know] the joy" they feel in receiving such gifts of sports equipment and school supplies, says Banda.   "But these blessings cannot continue" without the support of soccer clubs and other youth sports organizations across America.

As America gets ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey and high school football, the Banda Bola Sports Foundation reminds us of just how blessed we are, and how much a difference we can make in lives of those living in poverty in other countries by giving them the opportunity to play sports and get an education.

For more information on how to organize a fundraiser like Latham's or make a donation to help the needy children of Malawi, please visit the Foundation's website.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Procrastinating On a Large Project? Think Lke a Beaver!

Before I began writing my youth sports parenting book, Home Team Advantage, a close friend - who was herself  the author of four bestselling books - gave me a short book called Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by by Anne Lamott.

Kayak and beaver projectIf you are thinking of tackling a large project, such as starting a new sports club or a league, I recommend reading the book and to thinking like a beaver.  Anne writes about her younger brother who, while still in grade school, decided to draw over one hundred local birds for a school project. As the due date of the report grew closer he began to panic. Only when he was taught to break up the huge task into many daily smaller tasks was he able to finish the project on time.

Another way to tackle a large task is to work like a beaver. Beavers literally map out which trees they want to "fell" so they can strip them of their smaller branches for their lodges. Little by little they whittle away each day until the job is complete. 

During my daily kayak ride yesterday I returned to a spot where I noticed a beaver had been working three weeks earlier.  Sure enough, he had made a lot of progress over that time. No doubt he was facing a larger task than usual - a double-trunk tree - which I believe is unusual.

One thing is almost certain: I bet when I paddle by the next time, the beaver will have finished his job!


New Metal Baseball Bat Commercial Raises Safety Concerns

At this time every year we at MomsTeam get a flood of emails asking the same question: "Why don't they ban metal bats?"

This has been a contentious issue and one which I have been following for years. I have always been on the fence, although leaning in the direction of some common-sense regulation of metal bats to limit the speed at which balls come off the bat.

Ironically, it is a new metal baseball bat commercial that raises safety concerns and has me re-thinking my stance.

I wonder if you saw the same commercial. It seems to be running mostly during peak women/mom viewing hours (I am on a new fitness program which coincides with morning TV, so I am watching what advertisers are targeting moms) and features Michael Strahan, (the gap-toothed former star defensive end for the New York Giants), who is supposedly trying to find a new sport to play now that he is retired from football.  It  shows him crushing a baseball with a new Easton metal bat, hitting it so hard it knocks down the Sports Authority sign at the other end of the gym and then shows a young woman pounding the ball with the same bat.

Watch the video and see if you end up having the same questions I had after watching it.

My first question was why all the spots on women's shows? I did not need to think about that one too long: because moms buy most of the sports equipment in this country. According to a 2003 Sports Authority survey mothers buy 70 cents of every dollar spent in their store. (A side note:They ran the survey after I convinced them they would find this to be true even though they did not believe me).

But the next question can't be answered so easily. The commercial says the reason Strahan hit the baseball hard enough to knock down a sign was because of a "reduction in mass in the barrel makes it lighter for extra exit speed." Wow.  I could not believe what I had seen. 

The commercial assumes that the extra exit speed is a good thing.  I'm not so sure.  Can you imagine a 11-year-old kid hitting a ball with all that extra speed and, instead of knocking down a sign on the outfield fence, the ball knocks down a pitcher, especially one playing youth baseball  standing a mere 46 feet away?

Every baseball season it seems like there are stories about kids suffering catastrophic injuries or dying after being hit by a baseball rocketing off a metal bat.  This year, sadly, is no exception.  Two weeks ago, in the San Francisco Bay area, 16-year-old pitcher Gunnar Sandberg was struck by a ball off a metal bat traveling, according to estimates, at least 100 mph. He fell to the ground on the pitching mound, wobbled as he tried to stand up, then fell again. Rushed to nearby Marin General Hospital, Sandberg was actually alert and conscious for the next day or so, but then fell into a coma from which he has not, at last report, emerged. Because of the accident Gunnar's school baseball team switched from metal bats to wooden bats in his honor for the next game and is considering making the ban permanent. North Dakota and New York City have banned metal bats.

There don't seem to be any easy answers. But as a mom and youth sports safety advocate, I prefer to err on the side of caution. When I hear about metal bats that increase the speed at which baseballs rocket at players' heads, I worry.  I wonder whether, in some cases, technological advances actually make our kids less safe.  Can the average 10-year-old boy react quickly enough to put up his glove or duck when a ball is traveling at his head at 100 miles per hour???

Has your league, school or town banned metal bats? Do you have a story to share about metal bats? What do you think?

Update: a 


Metal Bat Ban Urged by California Lawmaker

Yesterday I wrote about the controversy surrounding the use of metal bats and the debate over whether they are safe, particularly in youth baseball.

It now appears that bans against the use of metal bats at the high school level in California are gaining momentum. 

In the wake of the March 11 accident involving 16-year-old pitcher, Gunnar Sandberg, who was hit in the head with a baseball by a batter using an aluminum baseball bat and remains in critical condition in a coma in a San Francisco area hospital, a California assembleyman has introduced legislation that would impose a three-year ban on their use pending further studies on their safety.

In a separate development, the Marin County Athletic League voted unanimously on March 25th to suspend the use of metal bats at their 10 high schools for the remainder of the season, and the North Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation, may consider a ban when it meets in April.

Stay tuned for more developments.







Bill Would End Corporal Punishment in School Sports

Sad basketball player in locker roomA bill pending in the Congress would ban corporal punishment in school sports, ending the spanking, paddling and physical punishment many states permit at the hands of teachers and coaches.

U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has just introduced H.R. 5628, a bill to ban school corporal punishment. Twenty  states still allow corporal punishment in public schools and even more states permit the practice in private schools. The bill is supported by the National PTA, the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Eighty education and child advocate groups have signed a letter supporting the legislation.

I included a story of youth sports-related corporal punishment (in the form of forced exercise as punishment) in my book Home Team Advantage.  Courtney* was an 11-year-old girl in Texas playing middle school basketball team when her distraught parents e-mailed me seeking my help. Courtney's coach had punished her for arriving ten minutes late to an early morning practice (her mom had gotten caught in traffic), forcing her to run five sets of bleacher stairs and do five defensive hustle drills.

After running the stairs for twenty minutes, Courtney became ill and ran to the bathroom to throw up.  When she returned to the basketball court - humiliated, scared, and too sick to continue - her coach ordered her to finish her stair-running. Collapsing after vomiting again, she was benched for the next game. The coach imposed the same form of punishment on other players who were late to practice.

Sadly, Courtney was only one of nearly 50,000 students in Texas who were subjected to corporal punishment during the 2006-2007 school year, many at the hands of coaches. My e-mail inbox is filed with stories similar or worse to the one told by Courtney's mom.

Indeed, of the thousands of emails, phone calls, and media stories that MomsTeam has received over the past ten years, the ones I find most distressing are those, like the one I received from Courtney's mom, that tell of youth athletes suffering abuse at the hands of coaches, other adults and their teammates. Parents are frustrated because they are told that physical, emotional, and physiological abuse is simply the price their children have to pay to be able to play competitive sports, and that if they complain, like Courtney's mother, they will be dismissed as representing a small minority, when in fact, they represent a silent majority.

In my view, a law banning corporal punishment in schools is long overdue.

How you can help

If you agree with me, I urge you to call, email or write your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to support H.R. 5628 and join with Representative McCarthy as a co-sponsor.

Contact information for your Representative can be found by clicking here.  On the right side of the page, enter your zip code in the box labeled "Find Your Lawmakers."

What to say when you call

I am calling to ask Representative _________ to support H.R. 5628 , a bill to ban school corporal punishment.

Here are some of the reasons I support the bill:

(1) Twenty states still allow corporal punishment in schools and over 223,000 school children are hit each year;

(2) Corporal punishment can lead to student injuries and law suits against school boards; and

(3) Over fifty national organizations including the National Education Association, the American Medical Association and the American Bar Association oppose school corporal punishment.

Ask him/her to support the bill.

Ask him/her to become a co-sponsor.

Thank him/her for their support.

For more information about effects of school corporal punishment and alternatives to its use click here

For more information about abuse in sports, click here.

* Not her real name
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Finding Sports and Family Balance: A Progress Report

An important part of our mission at MomsTeam the past ten years has been to advocate for more balance between sports and family. It is a cause to which I have been deeply committed for many years, so much so that I devoted an entire chapter in my book, Home Team Advantage, to the subject. So it was gratifying to see the work MomsTeam has been doing mentioned in Sue Shellenbarger's Work and Family column in the Wall Street Journal in an article titled, Kids Quit the Team for More Family Time.

High wire actThe very fact that the Journal ran such an article is proof positive that the message that MomsTeam has been trying to get across to parents and coaches is being heard; that more and more parents, coaches and youth sports leaders in this country are beginning to appreciate the importance of finding balance between sports and other important aspects of a child's life, like family vacations, time for unstructured free play, and other extracurricular activities.

It was also nice to see that the article featured the story of Noah Shriber, one of the parents I suggested that Ms. Shellenbarger interview. Noah is just one of the literally thousands of parents I have talked to over the past ten years about ways to help kids continue a life time of sports participation and avoid the sports burnout that consumes so many in today's "supersized" America.

That it required "courage," as the Journal article put it, for Noah to have told his 9-year old son's hockey coach that he wouldn't be able to take part in a summer hockey camp because he was spending seven weeks at a good old-fashioned, all-around summer camp, shows how far youth sports still has to go in finding the right balance between organized sports and other activities, including letting our kids be, well, kids.

Widening gulf between haves and have nots

Carving out time for kids to be kids, of course, isn't the only problem in the year-round, all-consuming madness that too often typifies youth sports these days. I wholeheartedly agree with the assessment of Andrea Grazzini Walstrom, the leader of a group in Minnesota called Balance4Success (which I highlighted in my chapter on sports/family balance in Home Team Advantage), who wrote in an e-mail about the Journal article that there is, what she termed, an "increasing divide" between players whose families can afford the escalating time, travel and financial demands of year-round play, tournaments, clinics and equipment and those who, tough economic times or not, simply can't.

As Noah told me, a year of elite hockey costs his family a staggering $8,500. Many families to whom I speak around the nation tell me they simply can't afford the cost of sports. The sad fact is that cutbacks in school sports, increased reliance on user fees, and an outmoded high school sports system that forces too many kids to compete for too few roster spots, are pushing more kids to the sports sidelines, deprived of the outlets they - especially boys - need, as Andrea Grazzini Walstrom, writes, to "express their normal physical energies and access the [life] lessons sports can offer," including socialization (an important aspect of team sports for both boys and girls).

Sadly, for the kids good enough to make the team, for the ones with parents who somehow manage to afford the cost of sports, sports can exact a physical (e.g. overuse injuries such as ruptured ACLs and blown-out pitching elbows and shoulders), and emotional toll.

MomsTeam's continuing mission

I also agree with Ms. Grazzini Walstrom that, "[j]ust as troubling is that good coaches are burnt out, including women coaches, who could offer important leadership for both girls and boys teams, but for many reasons, including hypercompetitive attitudes and exclusive hierarchies that continue to prevail in youth sports are opting out."

From its launch in August 2000, MomsTeam's mission has always been to make youth sports safer, saner, less stressful and more inclusive. We will continue to work with parents, coaches, administrators and other organizations to make sure that youth sports are just that: a place where all children can begin a love affair with sports and healthy physical exercise lasting a lifetime.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

New Law On Sports Concussions: A Great Step In the Right Direction

Every once in a while a news item comes across my desk that deserves a special shout-out.  Such was the case today. 

It was a story from The Seattle Times about a 13-year-old middle school football player named Zackery Lystedt, who collapsed from a traumatic brain injury in October 2006 when he was allowed back into a game just
15 minutes after suffering a concussion.  Zackery spent the next nine months in a
coma, and even today still sits in a wheelchair, having regained his sight and ability to speak but still struggling to regain strength in his left leg and foot.

A state representative named Jay Rodne took a special interest in Lystedt's case and decided to see what he could do to protect other youth athletes, including his 10-year-old soccer-playing daughter, Kalyn, and 12-year-old football playing son, Rye, from suffering a similar fate.

In January 2009, Rodne introduced a bill that would not only require pre-season concussion education of athletes and parents, but adopt the strictest return-to-play concussion guidelines in the country.   His bill would require that:

  • Youth athletes and a parent and/or guardian sign and return a concussion and head injury information sheet in order for athletes to be allowed to practice or compete;

  • Youth athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion in a practice or game be immediately removed from competition; and

  • Youth athletes who have been taken out of a game because of a suspected concussion not be allowed to return to play until they have been evaluated by a health care provider with specific training in the evaluation and management of concussions  and received written clearance to return to play from that health care provider.   

When the House version of the proposed legislation, with the support of the state's 350,000 member youth soccer association, passed unanimously last week,  Zackery and his father, Victor, were on the statehouse floor to witness the vote and hear Rodne tell them, though Zakery might never play football again, that the statute would be his legacy forever.

On Monday, a slightly different version of Zackery's law garnered near unimous support in  the Senate, prompting Victor Lystedt to celebrate by cooking his son steak and crab for dinner, with Dairy Queen sundaes for dessert. 

Once the two bills are reconciled, the compromise version will be sent to Washington governor, Chris Gregoire, to sign into law, and would take effect by fall 2009.

Great step forward but more work to be done

To say I am thrilled about the imminent passage of the law would be an understatement.  For the past eight years, I have been writing and speaking about the need for pre-season concussion education of youth athletes and their parents and pushing for strict concussion return-to-play guidelines.  Zackery's law is a huge step in the right direction and should serve as a model for the rest of the country.

But I believe even more steps needs to be taken to prevent concussions from occurring and to protect our children when they do, some but not all of them beyond the reach of government:

So, a big shout-out for the folks in the Pacific Northwest behind Zackery's Law, but let's think of it only as a start.  There's a lot more we can and should be doing.

Update: On May 14, 2009, Washington governor, Chris Gregoire, with Zackery sitting next to her in his wheelchair and his father and 50 friends and family watching on, signed the Zackery Lystedt Law into law.







Average: 5 (1 vote)