Tag Archives: youth sports

Experts call for changing culture of youth sports to reduce dangerous injuries #ahcj13

Kevin Vaughan

About Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan is a senior reporter at I-News Network, Rocky Mountain PBS. He is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Colorado Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by The Colorado Health Foundation.

Organizers of youth baseball leagues learned a simple truth over time – that if they let a pitcher throw without any limits, he was more likely to suffer a devastating tear to a ligament in his elbow.

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Panel moderator Kelley Weiss recaps the panel using Storify.

The player would have to undergo a reconstructive operation known as Tommy John surgery, and in many cases, could no longer play competitive baseball. That toll led Little League Baseball Inc. to adopt a pitch limit based on a player’s age. A 10-year old is allowed to throw 75 pitches in a game; an 18-year old, as many as 105.

Now Chris Nowinski, co-director of the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, advocates a “hit count” for kids playing organized football that would significantly limit the number of blows to the head they can take in practice and games. He believes it should be modeled after the approach taken in Little League Baseball, where guidelines also establish the number of days of rest pitchers must get between games. Continue reading

As school starts, so do youth sports injuries

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The University of Michigan’s new Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Program seems to be cropping up everywhere, and as far as I can tell, it’s all part of a coordinated effort by the University. They already claim to have one of the only pediatric sport programs in the country, and now they’re expanding it with a clinical and research focus on “neurological sports injuries.”

In related news, the latest CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report includes an analysis of the numbers for “Heat Illness Among High School Athletes” from 2005 to 2009. The study examined 100 schools and nine sports, and found that heat-related illness was most common in football, and that August was the worst month for such afflictions.

AHCJ has a rich pool of resources for journalists looking to report beyond the press releases on stories like these, including:

Tip sheets
Concussions in young athletes
Reporting on sports injuries in school-age children
Health and education: Two intersecting beats
Health and education: Reporting resources
Blog posts
Tougher concussion rules from high school assn.
GAO evaluates youth concussion databases
Concussion more likely when hit is unexpected (Youth hockey study)
Attention focuses on football’s neurological effects
AP story: Hundreds of PTSD soldiers likely misdiagnosed

GAO evaluates youth concussion databases

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

In a recent report, the Goverment Accountability Office reviewed national efforts to track concussions in youth sports (highlights). The report evaluates local and national laws designed to keep young athletes safe, but the most immediately useful component may be the identification and evaluation of three incomplete national databases now being maintained.

High School Reporting Information Online database

Provides national estimates of occurrence of concussion, it covers only 20 sports for high schools with certified athletic trainers. It may underestimate occurrence because some athletes may be reluctant to report symptoms of a possible concussion to avoid being removed from a game.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System

Provides national estimates only on concussions treated in an emergency room.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research database

Provides information only on cases of concussion with serious complications and cannot provide national estimates of the occurrence of all concussions.

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