Should you encourage your son to play football? How about your daughter to play soccer?
The latest medical research shows that these two sports are the leading causes of brain trauma and concussions in athletes.
I’m telling you this not to scare you but to alert you to the facts. The odds that your child can be seriously hurt are not as high as alarmists want you to think. But here are some facts:
• 33% of all sports concussions happen at practice.
• 39% is the amount by which cumulative concussions increase catastrophic head injury leading to permanent disability.
• 47% of all reported sports concussions occur in high school football.
• 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion this season.
• 33% of high school athletes report two or more concussions the same year.
• 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually with rising numbers among middle school athletes.
• 90% of most diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness
• 5.3 million Americans live with a traumatic brain injury-related disability.Rates per sport
The next numbers indicate the amount of sports concussions per 100,000 athletic exposures. An exposure is defined as one athlete participating in one high school practice or competition, regardless of the amount of time played:
•Football: 64 -76.8
•Boys ice hockey: 54
•Girls soccer: 33
•Boys lacrosse: 40 - 46.6
•Girls lacrosse: 31 - 35
•Boys soccer: 19 - 19.2
•Boys wrestling: 22 - 23.9
•Girls basketball: 18.6 - 21
•Girls softball: 16 - 16.3
•Boys basketball: 16 - 21.2
•Girls field hockey: 22-24.9
•Cheerleading: 11.5 to 14
•Girls gymnastics: 7
•Girls volleyball: 6 - 8.6
•Boys baseball: 4.6 - 5What to watch for
As a parent or coach, you may know the symptoms but everyone else in your circle of friends may not.
These common symptoms of concussions are from the National Football League: Imbalance, headache, confusion, memory loss, loss of consciousness, vision and hearing change, mood change, fatigue & malaise.
Seek medical help if your child shows these symptoms.What might be done
Does this mean we should sanitize football, soccer, field
hockey and other sports?
That’s like trying to end collisions in auto racing. It won’t happen, but we can take steps to ensure greater safety for players.
Coaches, like parents, don’t want to see players injured. And they are alert to symptoms that may indicate this has happened.
With the high rate of injuries in practice, it may make sense to spend more time on the cerebral aspects of game preparation and less on physical contact.
To argue with me, write firstname.lastname@example.org Thu, Jul 09, 2015
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a one-way soccer fan.
I loved the game when I was a high-energy kid. All that running was right where I wanted to be.
No longer young enough to play, I’ve lost interest.
But an engaging group of American women changed my mind to win my heart.
I’m talking about our World Cup champions.
They are the hardest working, most enthusiastic athletes in soccer.Carli’s work ethic
Take mid-fielder Carli Lloyd. She worked all year on penalty kicks and scored a crucial one against favored Germany last week and three against Japan in the final USA 5-2 victory.
Yet Carli has become an all-world player despite a major athletic hanicap.
She has no “natural motor,” James Galanis, who trained her, told Wall Street Journal sports reporter Matthew Futterman.
Her body doesn’t use energy especially efficiently.
Her VO2 max that measures how much oxygen an athlete can use is low.
To make up for it, he had her on a grueling six-hour-a-day training schedule plus 90 minutes a night of leg-burning endurance training that includes penalty kicks.
That has paid off.The fit survive
Lloyd’s work ethic inspires her fellow team mates.
In reaching the championship match against Japan, the U.S. women outscored opposing teams 9-1.
What’s even better, they outscored their opponents 7-0 in the second half.
Chalk up that late match domination to one thing.
The team has been in better physical shape than every team they played.
That is a great lesson for any player in any sport, from high school to the pros. No matter how mentally or physically demanding, preparation pays.How winners win
You undoubtedly remember the Gamecocks losing football games last season in the fourth quafter because they ran out of gas.
When he coached at Alabama, Bear Bryant said he made his practices so difficult that playing in games seemed relaxing.
If you’re a coach, rememner Bear Bryant’s example.
If you’re a student athlete, remember Carli Lloyd.
You don’t have to be blessed with great natural talent although it helps.
Look where determination and hard work got her.
To comment, write me at SportsGrouch@aol.com