All Articles by Brooke de Lench

Playing from the Same Playbook on Concussions

It is my belief that parents have a right to expect, when they entrust their children to a sports program - whether it be Pee Wee hockey, youth lacrosse, Olympic development soccer, or high school football - that it will take reasonable precautions to protect them against harm. In other words, parents have a right to expect that the entire team to whom they entrust their children's safety - including the national governing body for the child's sport, the state association, the athletic or club director, the athletic trainer (if there is one), and especially the coaches - are part of the concussion solution, not part of the problem.

Onsite Placement Of An AED Is Critical To Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death In Youth Athletes

Of the many variables that affect survivability for a person who experiences sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), one of the most important is how rapidly the AED is physically delivered to the victim's side. Indeed, few life threatening emergencies are as time sensitive as SCA. AEDs should be located within a 2-minute brisk walk of every nook and cranny of a school or to the farthest reaches of an athletic field.

Playing Fields Near Busy Highways Pose Risks for Youth Athletes

Locating playing fields near busy highways pose serous risks to the developing lungs of young athletes. A substantial and growing body of scientific evidence has linked airborne toxic pollution from motor vehicles, trains and aircraft to significant health problems, especially in children, including aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.

Athletic Fields Are An Overlooked Safety Hazard

One of the biggest hazards in outside field sports, yet often the most overlooked, is the field itself. Because parents can't count on the referee or their child's coach to inspect the field before a game begins to ensure that it is in a playable condition, the best injury prevention strategy is to set up a field detail of parents to do the inspection.

Sports Drinks Versus Water: Which Hydrates Kids Best?

A number of studies in recent years have shown that sports drinks re-hydrate kids who are active in the heat better than water. Given a choice, kids will drink a lot more of a sports drink than of a glass of water. An oft-cited 1999 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that drinking a properly formulated sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) increased fluid intake by nearly one-third (32%) compared to water. Because they taste better than water, sports drinks encouraged kids to keep drinking until their fluid needs were met.

Kids Need To Drink Fluids Before, During and After Sports

For proper hydration, youth athletes need to drink fluids before, during and after sports, on a schedule, not just when they are thirsty.

Youth Athlete Hydration Guidelines

Surprising as it may seem the most important part of an athlete's diet isn't what he eats, it is what and how much he drinks. Hydration before, during and after exercise is especially important for pre-adolescent children because they have special fluid needs compared to adults, or even teenagers. As a parent or coach, here are the precautions you should take to prevent heat illnesses in exercising children and making sure they drink enough fluids.

Concussion Bill of Rights #12: National Sports Bodies and Pro Leagues Take Concussions Seriously

Because children follow and take their cue from the examples set by their heroes in the pros and high amateur ranks, the national sports governing bodies and professional leagues need to set the right example for the parents and children of this country by showing that they take concussions seriously. Until they do, parents are going to be fighting an uphill battle in convincing their young warriors to treat concussions the same way. The twelfth and final right of parents under the Parent's Concussion Bill of Rights is the right to expect that concussion safety programs be implemented or expanded at the highest levels of sport.

Concussion Bill of Rights #11: Pre-Participation Evaluations For All Youth Athletes

Because many athletes are unaware that they have suffered concussions in the past, and because the taking of a detailed concussion history may pre-identify athletes who require additional management and the opportunity for physicians to educate athletes about the significance of concussion injuries, the eleventh right of parents under the Parent's Concussion Bill of Rights is the right to expect that their child's sports progam will have athletes undergo a pre-participation evaluation (PPE) before each season which includes the taking of a detailed concussion history.

Game Officials Should Have Power To Order Sideline Evaluation of Concussion

Game officials are often in the best position to detect the subtle signs of concussions in athletes during a game but are not often given the power to order a sideline evaluation and assessment of concussion and few have received concussion education.