Archive for “Inherent Risk” Tag

One Shell At A Time

 

Coaching Young Athletes: One Shell At A Time

 

young athletes

 

By Dave Gleason

 

When we are educating prospective parent members about the value of long term athletic development we often use very poignant and effective analogies. This is paramount in guiding parents to a better understanding and, at times, a paradigm shift as to the optimal way to train their child(ren).

 

Once more, it is imperative that our parents as well as our athletes comprehend the inherent risk of early specialization in sport… and the 6 week “bigger, stronger, faster” quick fix.

 

A common analogy that has proved advantageous to these efforts is that of our educational system.

 

We can quickly draw a parallel between the progressive and cumulative effect of our school systems while explaining that learning physical skill sets is no different. We speak to building a solid foundation before specializing in any one subject. We offer the example of not excluding other subject matter because a child has an affinity or increased aptitude in one particular subject.

 

“If Trevor was brilliant in the subject of math in 1st grade we certainly would not skip to 7th grade algebra”.

 

As coaches we need to take heed as to how we observe our young athletes from a standpoint of skill acquisition and movement economy. More importantly we must pay close attention to each athletes well being from a humanistic perspective.

 

I offer this analogy to think about how you may become a better coach and mentor to the young athletes in your program.

 

One shell at a time.

 

When walking the beaches of the south shore in Massachusetts I have often collected sea shells. Far too easy to pick up the shell that catches my eye because of its outstanding shape, size or varied colors. The thousands of shells I have walked passed without a second thought.

 

Half buried.

 

Pale in color compared to the shells.

 

Jagged and unpleasing to look at.

 

How many shells were bypassed that were in fact the most unique and wonderful shells on the beach?

 

What have I missed as an observer and collector of shells?

 

What have we missed as coaches?

 

What kids have we looked past to see the athlete who is the “better” athlete?

 

What child needed to be picked up so we could see the true value of them?

 

As Athletic Revolution franchisees we are all on a greater mission to change the way young athletes are coached.

 

This is why we will continue to set ourselves apart from from others in our industry. THIS is why will we change lives…one athlete at a time.

 

Keep up the great work!

 

 

Concussion Prevention: A Pro-Active Approach

 

Concussion Prevention For Young Athletes

 

concussion for high school young athletes

 

By Jim Kielbaso

 

The concussion problem in sports has reached epidemic proportions. The NFL is spending millions on awareness and just instituted new practice rules to reduce the number of blows the players are exposed to during practices. Several high school athletic associations are also implementing new rules to deal with the issue. So far, everything has focused on how to deal with the athlete after the concussion, but there is now a movement to help educate athletes, parents and coaches about sports concussions and what can be done to prevent or avoid them. We’ll never be able to eliminate concussions from sports, but there are certainly things we can do to help reduce the forces our brain encounters.

 


There are really four basic components of concussion prevention:

 

    1. Protective equipment – In most sports, this means properly fit, quality helmets and mouth pieces. Unfortunately, no equipment or training currently known to us will eliminate concussions. “The best helmet on the market can still lead to injuries of the head including concussions,” said Scott Peck, a certified athletic trainer in Washington state. “To decrease concussions, athletes need to practice good technique in tackling and blocking by keeping their heads away from contact.”

 

    1. Technique – Some sports include more contact than others. Good coaches always teach athletes not to initiate contact with the head, but we still see a lot of young athletes using poor form when tackling or hitting.

 

    1. Awareness – It seems crazy, but there are still a lot of parents and coaches who simply do not understand how dangerous a concussion can be or that there is inherent risk involved in participating in most sports. This site was set up to help heighten awareness at the same time we discuss prevention options and proper treatment

 

  1. Training – This component is just now picking up momentum, but some coaches have known about this concept for years. This is also the least publicized aspect of concussion prevention for several reasons.

 

First, most people don’t know how to safely and effectively train the head and neck musculature. Second, it would be next to impossible to produce scientific evidence to show that training will help prevent concussions because you would have to use real human beings and expose them to potentially life-threatening blows. This would never pass any collegiate ethics committee, so the research probably cannot be done.

 

Still, the automotive industry has known for years that a stronger and stiffer neck significantly reduces the G-forces encountered by crash test dummies in crash research. It seems obvious that a stronger neck would be extremely helpful during a blow to the head, but most doctors aren’t yet ready to admit that. That could be because:

 

a. Doctors won’t make any money from the prevention side of this issue.
b. Doctors probably have no idea how to train.
c. Doctors typically refer to the scientific literature, but we already established that this evidence will probably never be published in any scientific journal.

 

We have to understand that no amount of training or equipment will eliminate all injuries, but that is not the point. Ten years ago, ACL prevention programs were virtually non-existent. Today, female athletes all over the country understand that proper training will limit their risk of sustaining an injury. Yet, ACL injury rates haven’t slowed down. It doesn’t mean that the training has not helped. And, going through a training program does not mean you will never hurt yourself. Training is meant to reduce risk or severity of an injury.

 

The same goes for properly training the neck & head to reduce the risk of concussions and serious neck injuries. The training does not eliminate the injuries, but it can help to lessen the risk or severity of neck and head injuries.

 

The leading researcher on neck training, Ph.D. candidate Ralph Cornwell, put it best when he said “If we know that it might help, and it’s not going to hurt, why wouldn’t you want to do this kind of training? People do ACL prevention programs all the time. This is like an ACL prevention program for your brain and neck. You can replace your ACL, but as far as I know, you only have one brain. It just makes sense to protect it.”

 

Research done by the NFL is now revealing that the repetitive sub-concussive blows – the hits that don’t knock you out, but just ring your bell a little – are the main culprit behind the long-term brain damage seen in many former athletes. Many of these athletes are now suing major sports organizations because they are mentally and physically disabled due to these blows. It seems that every brain has a certain number of hits it can take before long-term damage sets in. The more G-forces the brain encounter, the worse it gets.

 

Training can reduce the G-forces encountered on these sub-concussive blows, raising the bar on the number of hits it will take before the long-term damage sets in. This is some of the best news ever presented on this topic, because it gives us hope that we may be able to combat this problem.

 

Major sports organizations like USA Hockey and the NFL are recognizing that something must be done, so rules are changing quickly. Even Dr. Robert Cantu, who is considered one of the leading experts on the subject, has said that he thinks young athletes should wait until they are stronger and more mature before they engaging in intense contact/hitting sports. This means that the leading authority on concussions understands that being stronger will have a positive effect and is part of the concussion prevention equation.

 

With the knowledge that training can help prevent concussion and other injuries and, when done properly, can cause no harm, why would we NOT strengthen the muscles surrounding the head and neck?