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Letter: Use Your ‘Head’ In Youth Sports

I found it disconcerting that an article titled “Concussions: Stop The Invisible Injury” which  talked about “concussion prevention,” “fostering an atmosphere of safety first,” “the athlete’s health is first priority,” “protecting an athlete’s future,” “the lifelong impact this injury can have on an athlete,”  and “parents can reinforce a safe sports environment by not promoting or encouraging  moves that might compromise an athlete’s safety,” never once suggested the advisability of simply not allowing one’s young child to endanger his growing brain by playing (tackle!) football, playing other helmet-required sports like hockey, becoming a boxer or playing a brain-rattling (from “heading” the ball) sport like soccer. 

 

The article began with several false premises and assumptions. One is that “a concussion can occur in any sport,” as if it’s as common in basketball as in football. It also said that “a concussion...can occur in both contact and non-contact sports,” as if the incidences are equal in frequency or severity. I daresay concussions are nowhere near as common in baseball as in football.  There’s a good reason that some sports require helmets be worn to protect one’s head and the brain inside the skull.  

 

I think it’s unfortunate that this article tacitly assumed that football and other concussion-prone sports are some sort of “birthright” that our Bill of Rights guarantees every young boy be allowed to play. It then seemed to forget about “prevention” and only recommends that we do what we can to “reduce the frequency of concussions” and says that the “first step in concussion safety” is “knowing when to pull an injured athlete” out of a game — after he’s already received the blow to his head. That is too much like the proverbial “closing of the barn door after the horse is already out.” It also ignores the age-old wisdom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 

Parents often claim that they “would do anything for (their) child;” and they don’t hesitate to forbid other activities dangerous to their child’s health and safety (like smoking and drinking) so I think they should “just say “no” when it comes to activities that routinely cause concussions in many participants.   

 

I’m a sports fan who loves watching football, but I’m glad that as a child my friends and I only played “touch” football. The basics of the game: running with the ball, and throwing and catching passes were still sufficient fun. But there are so many other team and individual sports which do not routinely endanger one’s brain; such as tennis, volleyball, track and field, swimming, golf, and many others, that I think parents should practice the “tough love” of no football for their kids. NFL football will survive and prosper without your kid. Even if your child beat the astronomical odds against ever reaching the NFL, would you ever want him receiving any of the $765 million they will soon start handing out to retired players with ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease and C.T.E.? 

 

Since the article’s concluding “Top 5 Concussion Prevention Tips For Parents and Coaches” do not suggest actual “prevention” here are my five competing tips:

 

1. Educate yourself on the seriousness of the after-affects — sometimes lifetime — of concussions on incompletely-formed brains.

 

2. Educate yourself about the scores of alternative, virtually concussion-free sports available to your child.

 

3. Do not allow your dependent child to play football.

 

4. Do not allow your child to become a boxer.

 

5. Do not even allow your child to play soccer (due to all the “heading”). 

 

Richard Siegelman


News

The Association of Generational Experts for Seniors (AGES) is accepting nominations for “Savvy Senior” citizens, now through Sunday, Aug. 31. The winners will be crowned at AGES’ Fifth Annual Savvy Senior Day on Grandparents Day Sunday, Sept. 7 at the Parker Jewish Institute in New Hyde Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The summer wind—a constant and welcome companion for the members of the Herricks Leisure Club as they cope with the soaring temps and heightened humidity, will gave way to fall in the coming weeks.

 

As the sultry days waft into cooling eves, members reminisce about the waning weeks of the club’s spring experience.

 

The May 22 meeting boasted a patriotic flair in anticipation of Memorial Day.  Stars and stripes decorated the dais as the board congratulated Director Frances Kivatisky on being honored as a Senior Citizen of the Year the previous day. Roses and accolades were presented by Vice President Jo Jozef who chaired this extraordinary Harbor Links event.


Sports

Students at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park, recently participated in a talent show at the school. This was a great way to not only show their talent but to go out of their every day comfort zone and perform in front of an audience. 

 

Charles Water’s Karate & Fitness is a full-time, professional martial arts school, with classes for children, adults and teenagers. 

The New Hyde Park Firecats defeated Huntington’s HBC Sudden Impact in a shootout in the Girls-Under-13 State Open Cup final recently. After tying 1-1 in regulation, New Hyde Park advanced from the shootout, 3-1. 

 

New Hyde Park’s Izzy Glennon beat three defenders and chipped the HBC keeper to equalize after HBC’s Ryan Conway scored in the first half. 


Calendar

Age In Place - August 20

Sweetwater Concert - August 21

Check Your Medications - August 22


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