As much as I applaud the NFL’s work in raising awareness of concussions, I’m still hoping they’ll spruce up their Public Service Announcements with some younger players. I mean, I adore Doug Flutie, but then again, I’m a 39-year-old mom. No offense to the former quarterback, but I’m not sure that all 14-year-old football players have heard of him.
One of the biggest problems in identifying concussions is that so many players — at the youth level and the pro level– “under-report” their injuries. In other words, they lie. They cover up. They say they’re fine. They “throw” baseline testing at the beginning of the season, so that if they get hit, it won’t look like their cognitive scores decline.
Teenagers like Megan Donnelly give me hope that things will get better in the world of youth sports. Megan, 16, was a guest on today’s episode of Katie, where she discussed having suffered “three, maybe more” concussions. After the show taping (which I attended on Wednesday), she also taped a separate message to student athletes, in which she encouraged students to take concussions seriously.
Athletes, at any age, don’t like to look like “wimps.” For so many kids, sports are an intrinsic part of their identity. They’re afraid that if they ‘fess up to an injury, they’ll lose their spot on the team, or their parents will pull them out of the sport entirely.
It’s a problem that high school athletic trainer Nick Nicholaides is especially concerned about. Mr. Nicholaides, a trainer for Ridgewood High School in New Jersey, obtained a grant from Seton Hall University to make a PSA video for kids, by kids. Although there’s an incredible amount of information packed into the video, it’s only about 9 minutes long — certainly short enough to hold the attention of any player, coach, or parent.
I really can’t say enough great things about this video. I hope you’ll share it with all the athletes, parents of athletes, and coaches that you know. A short clip of this was used on Katie, but check out the whole video, below.
(Photo Credits: Video and images courtesy of Nick Nicholaides, MS, ATC, CSCS, CFSS-M)
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