Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On youth football and protecting kids' heads

Last Sunday, The New York Times ran another great piece on head trauma in youth football. This time the subject was prevention. Alan Schwarz visited an unusual coach, Bobby Hosea, who teaches kids to tackle properly and safely -not leading with their heads.

Hosea is quoted in the piece: “When a kid gets paralyzed or dies, it’s not an accident — the injuries happen because people never teach kids how to tackle the right way. Everyone’s talking about head injury awareness, awareness, awareness. What are you going to do about it? It drives me absolutely crazy. It’s time for this to stop!”

I've been in head-trauma mode these past few days, reading about cause and effect. I picked up a terrific book, Head Games by Chris Nowinski. It's the story of Nowinski, a former Harvard football player and pro wrestler, unraveling the mystery of his own brain injuries. And in the process, triggering a national conversation.

I spoke recently with Dr. Robert Cantu, the neurosurgeon who diagnosed Nowinski and is now leading the debate about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an Alzheimer’s-like brain disease associated with repetitive head trauma. Cantu and Nowinski established the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston. Its mission is to raise awareness. It's succeeding.

Watch this. If you're a parent of a youth athlete, watch twice.

Watch this video on YouTube

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