Monthly Archives: April 2013

Participating in Multiple Sports Can Help Reduce Youth Injury Levels

iStock_000001221748SmallApril is National Youth Sports Safety Month, but the issue prompts growing concern in parents, coaches and teachers the other 11 months of the year too. According to Healthline, over 20 million kids in the U.S. participate in sports annually and almost one million suffer serious sports related injuries. However, recent research notes that diversifying participation in a multitude of sports and not playing year-round can help reduce injury levels and improve athletic performance.

The study, published in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, analyzed articles from 1990 to 2011 for information helping them determine if sports specialization actually helps or hurts kids. Researchers also utilized recent work conducted by the article’s lead author, Dr. Neeri Jayanthi, the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Jayanthi’s research evaluated injury rates in 519 tennis players ages 10-18 who spent, on average, 11-15 hours/per week training.

Their results highlighted that kids who specialized in tennis were 1.5 times more likely to get an injury, regardless of their total training time. Performance was also investigated by the researchers and the studies illustrated that in sports like cycling, swimming, and skating, those who started significant training around age 15 were more likely to become elite-level athletes (defined by podium placings in European competitions and top-10 results in World and Olympic events) than their peers who started training earlier.

“Kids often receive pressure from their parents or coaches to be the best in one given sport, when in reality participating in free play and a multitude of sports from an early age is the best strategy to create an outstanding athlete,” said William Levine, MD, Chair of the STOP Sports Injuries Advisory Committee.

STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries is a comprehensive public outreach program that focuses on the importance of sports safety-specifically relating to overuse and trauma injuries. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury reduction, but also highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career, improve teamwork, reduce obesity rates and create a lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. Initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) in early 2007, the campaign’s organizational partners include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and SAFE Kids USA.

We recommend checking out the organization’s helpful injury prevention tip sheets specific to numerous sports, ranging from football and field hockey to cheerleading, swimming and lacrosse. Visit www.STOPSportsInjuries.org to learn more about preventing youth sports injuries.

 


Major League Lacrosse Protects Athletes with New Concussion Program

iStock_000010001932SmallUsually it is the safety risks from playing football that make the headlines. But other sports that involve contact between players and field surfaces need to protect participants from concussions too. That’s why Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, has partnered with the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) to create an innovative, comprehensive concussion program for the 2013 season.  Considering that Major League Lacrosse sets an example for youth sports organizations, the partnership is expected to help protect athletes of all ages.

“Concussions are a critical issue in sports today,” said MLL Commissioner David Gross. “We asked SLI, the experts in the field, to develop the most aggressive program in professional sports so that we can protect our players’ long-term health, ensure longevity of their careers and set a strong example for youth and college sports programs to make concussion care and training a priority.”

The policies, developed by SLI Medical Director and concussion expert Robert Cantu, MD, and SLI Executive Director Chris Nowinski, combine best practices from peer sports leagues while adding new elements focusing on education, reporting, assessment and management. SLI is a Boston-based non-profit organization founded to advance the study, treatment and prevention of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.

Innovations in the MLL concussion program include:

  • Education: To accelerate culture change, MLL players will participate in two educational sessions, one before and one during the season, as well as be required to complete an online training program and view the documentary Head Games. Coaches, general managers, referees and medical personnel will all be required to meet a minimum educational standard.
  • Remove-from-play: MLL will become the first professional sports organization to mandate the King-Devick test — an objective rapid sideline screening test of concussions that a growing body of studies show is an effective test for concussion — as an additional sideline assessment tool.
  • Concussion Check: A new concept developed by SLI, MLL will pilot a program designed to improve concussion reporting by training MLL personnel to recognize concussion signs and symptoms and emphasize that they have a responsibility to alert the team medical staff or referee. If a teammate, coach, general manager, athletic trainer, physician/doctor, equipment manager, opposing team physician or referee triggers a concussion check, the player must be removed and evaluated by the medical team using the new MLL Sideline Assessment Tool.
  • Concussion Caretaker: A new concept developed by SLI, when a player is diagnosed with a concussion, MLL medical staffs will educate at least one family member and/or caretaker, designated by the player before the season, on concussion management and how to support an athlete recovering from a concussion.
  • Research: MLL will encourage teams to participate in innovative research, including participating in the SLI Hit Count™ Initiative, and encouraging players to participate in research programs, including the brain donation program at the Boston University Center for Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.

 

“We’re excited about the opportunity to raise the bar and pilot new concepts and look forward an exciting MLL season,” noted Dr. Cantu, who serves as an advisor to the National Football League, National Football League Players Association, Ivy League and co-author of every International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.

To learn more about the program, visit www.majorleaguelacrosse.com or www.sportslegacy.org.

 


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