Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Editorial Response PLN

USA Today’s editorial “USA Today Opinion” published on the topic of concussions in children by the USA Today Editorial Board, pleads to parents, state government, and to high school that something needs to be done to help prevent concussions. USA Today included a first hand victims mothers statement about what happened to her son before he collapsed on the field "There wasn't during the game any significant hit that you would go, 'Wow…that's a bell-ringer,'" USA Today brought up the point to make people realize concussions are real and can lead to death. There may not always be visible signs, but the outcome could have been different. USA Today claims that this epidemic will continue to get world unless action is taken through tough state laws and coach requirements. A change needs to be made.

In response to USA Today’s editorial “USA Today Opinion” on the discussion of childhood concussions, yes a change does need to be made. As an assistant coach on a 10 year old Thunder Football team I witness players giving their all just to wind up hurt from an injury kids can do little to prevent. Who is to blame? The coaches? The NFL role models? Or is the game just simply too rough? It is a combination of all three. Starting in 2012 all coaches in the state of colorado for all contact sports had to pass a online test about concussions. A step in the right direction. Although the coaches have the skills to identify concussions many times what they are teaching does not go along with concussion prevention. “Friday Night Tykes” a show on esquire network displays coaches in San Antonio teach their team the game of football. In this show just how rough the game can be is displayed, along with how serious adults can take a kids game. Two of the five coaches on the show have been suspended after just three episodes. The coach of the Jr. Broncos advised one of his eight year old players to aim high and hit a competitor in the head then said “I don’t care if he gets up”. There is no place for coaches like this on the football field. Then there is the NFL. Although recently the organization has been cracking down on helmet to helmet contact, the years of career ending head shots can never be erased. Attention was brought to equipment when Wes Welker one of the leading receivers in the NFL suffered two concussions in a short period of time. His return for the playoffs was questionable until a concussion helmet proven to help reduce the trauma of a blow to the head was presented to him. Welker did not suffer another concussion for the remainder of the season. Since concussions are such a large issue every player at every level needs to be using a this type of helmet. Yes, football is dangerous and there is always a risk letting a child step foot on the field, but if there love for the game is too great than parents and leagues need to make coaching more strict, concussion gear available to everyone, and parents need to understand the risks. In time I am hopeful that the sport I love and help teach will become much safer.