We talk a lot about concussion's but many of you may not know that the #1 killer among young athletes is Sudden Cardiac Arrest (aka SCD). SCD is another silent threat like concussion's but can be more fatal the first time around than with a concussion. In fact, more deaths among youth athletes are reported as a result of SCD than all other issues combined. Research shows that a young athlete dies once every three days from SCD.
Common causes of SCD come from structral heart defect or hypertrophic cadiomyopathy (thickend heart muscle) which usually show very few symptoms until it is too late.
The even scarier part of SCD? Its is usually caused from a pre-exsisting condition that can be detected, prevented and treated but most often is not. This is one reason we are strongly for Pre-Season physical examinations each year before your child participates in any organized youth sports. However, a physical exam is not a fail-safe against detecting any and all heart related issues before it is too late. Things can be missed depending on the issue and the doctor checking your child.
Most exams consist of checking family medical history, blood pressure and listening to the heart. If those don't raise any red flags the condition can be missed and additional tests won't be done. This is why it is critical for your child to have regular medical check-ups, even if not getting ready to play sports. The more check-ups, the better the chance of finding any possible issues that might have been missed in previous exams.
There are other ways of better detecting possible heart related issues but they too can have their drawbacks. Most doctors recommend having what is called an electrocardigram (EKG or ECC) test as part of your child's pre-season test. An EKG can see abnormal activity of the heart
Some drawbacks of EKG's are not that they won't detect them, instead it's that they can cause what is termed "false-positives" or detect an abnormality that is not significant (non-life threatening). It is estimated that 20% of EKG's in the U.S. come back as a false positive. It is for this reasoning why most may not be covered by most insurances in most cases and as a result they can cost anywhere from as little as $25 to as much as $150 in addition to the cost of the physical exam..
This can not only lead to undue stress on the patient (child) and the family but will ultimately result in more tests such as X-Rays, Bloodwork, CT Scans and more which can cost the family more money.
Due to the amount of false-positives that can happen and the additional expenses they can lead to that may be for unwarrented causes, The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has advised doctors against screening otherwise healthy patients or patients at low risk for heart disease and is the basis for why most insurances won't cover a standalone preventative screening.
In our opinion however, it is better to be safe than sorry but than again, it's your call not ours... It never hurts to at least ask your doctor and your insurance company on their policy regarding such tests. If you still determine it would be in your and your child's best interest to have the test, you can still request to have the test done, it is your right.
A recent study (described below) of High School athletes shows a disturbing trend that we unfortunately believe trickles down to the youth level as well. The mentality of many athletes (and parents) today of "it could never happen to me" or "the future of my hopeful sports career" to many greatly outweighs the facts of the dangerous outcomes they can face if they are wrong.
We have just two of many available examples of people who thought it could never happen to them but did. Their lives have been completely altered, not just in the fact of never being able to play again but one has to face challenges in everyday life (Sasha Pina) and the other, well let just says his family struggles with their loss everyday (Derek Sheely)... We share their story every time we are out in the community in hopes of stopping their story from being repeated by someone else.
Is it really worth it to not say something or to not take the added responsibility for your own safety and well being? I think the many people who have been affected by a concussion (a TRAUMATIC INJURY to YOUR BRAIN) as the result of playing sports will say no and wish they could go back in time to change their way of thinking but they can't... It is best to sit out! It is better to miss one game or the rest of the season than the rest of your life!
MONDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. high school football players say they would keep playing after experiencing a concussion, even though they know it would put them at risk for serious harm, a new study reveals.
The findings suggest that educating players about concussion may not be enough to keep them safe after they suffer this type of brain injury, according to the researchers.
The study authors surveyed 120 high school football players in the Cincinnati area and found that one-quarter of them had suffered a concussion, and that more than half said they would continue to play even if they had concussion symptoms.
Seventy percent of the players had been educated about concussion and most of them could identify common signs and symptoms, such as: headache (93 percent); dizziness (89 percent); difficulty remembering and sensitivity to light (78 percent); difficulty concentrating (76 percent); and feeling like they were in a fog (53 percent).
The study also found that 91 percent of the players understood that there was a risk of serious injury if they returned to play too quickly after a concussion, but only half said they would always or sometimes report their concussion symptoms to their coach. Some even said that athletes with a concussion have a responsibility to play in important games.
There was no association between players' level of knowledge about concussion symptoms and their attitudes about the injury, according to the study to be presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
"In other words, athletes who had more knowledge about concussions were not more likely to report symptoms," study co-author Dr. Brit Anderson, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
"These attitudes could leave young athletes vulnerable to injury from sports-related concussions," Anderson said.
"Although further study needs to be done, it is possible that concussion education alone may not be enough to promote safe concussion behaviors in high school football players," she concluded.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, May 6, 2013
The media has reported recently that a 46 year old soccer referee by the name of Ricardo Portillo has died as the result of injuries he sustained from being punched by a 17 old during a recreational soccer game in a small suburb of Salt Lake City, UT. The teenager had punched the ref after the ref had cited him with a "Yellow Card" for pushing another player. A yellow card symbolizes an official caution of a major rule infraction in unsportsman-like behavior in soccer, a second yellow card in the same game results in the player being thrown out of the game and not being allowed to return to play for the rest of the match.
Mr. Portillo had suffered major internal trauma to the head as a result of the blow and resulted in him being rushed to the hospital where he slipped into a coma and then passed away a week later.
This story provides the perfect example to you as a player of "What Not To Do" and "How Not to Act" and the consequences of not thinking your actions or reactions through. Yes, we all hate to have someone call us out on something we have done wrong, especially if we don't think that we did anything wrong. Maybe the ref made a bad call, who knows? But even if he had made a bad call, that doesn't mean he deserved to be punched. Now the teen faces murder charges and a daughter no longer has a father all because a player didn't agree with a call.
In everyday life we face many such challenges like this. You must realize that there will be plenty of things you don't agree with in your life. You must learn how to control your anger and deal with them appropriately. If you get caught doing something wrong, take the blame it's rightfully yours, you can't get mad for someone catching you. If someone blames you for something you didn't do, you need to take it up with the proper people in charge. In adult life, we can do this through Supervisors, Managers, Law Enforcement, Courts and much more... In sports this can be your coach, team mom, league administrator, head referee or any number of people who can take the proper steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again, can give you better information on what is or isn't called and the reasons why. If they can't, then it's time to move on to somewhere else.
There is a letter floating around the web from a Volunteer Coach for Little League somewhere in the US, but it can be related to ANY sports coach. It also can relate to other volunteers within leagues and teams (i.e: Board Member, Team Mom, Coach, etc...). Please take the time to read it and treat everyone with kindness in all youth organizations. Some people do not truly understand what it takes to be a youth coach that volunteers their time day in and day out. There are many behind the scenes things you may never realize your coach goes through...
Letter from a Volunteer Coach:
Today I heard a comment made about me behind my back. I started to turn around and look, but then decided better of it and kept my eyes on the field. My wife hears things like this more often than I do, because many of you don’t know who she is. She tells me what you say. I have received angry emails, full of “suggestions,” about who should be playing where and how I... lost that day’s game for the kids. I thought I’d write an open letter to all of you parents, even though I might never send it. I’ll start it this way: “I am a volunteer.”
I’m the one who answered the call when the league said they didn’t have enough coaches. I understand that you were too busy. I have some news for you. I’m not retired. I’m busy too. I have other children and a job, just like you do. Not only do I not get paid to do this – it costs me money. I see you walk up to the game 15 minutes after it started, still dressed for work. Do you know I’ve already been here over an hour? Imagine if you had to leave work early nearly every day. I’ve never seen you at a practice. I’m sure you’re plugging away at the office. But I’m out here, on the field, trying my best to teach these children how to play a sport they love, while my bank account suffers.
I know. I make mistakes. In fact, maybe I’m not even that great of a coach. But I treat the kids fairly and with respect. I am pretty sure they like coming to my practices and games, and without me or someone like me, there’d be no team for them to play on. I’m part of this community too and it’s no picnic being out here on this stage like this. It’s a lot easier back there with the other parents where no one is second-guessing you.
And I also know you think I give my son or daughter unfair advantages. I try not to. In fact, have you ever considered that maybe I’m harder on him than on the others? I’m sure he hears plenty of criticism at school from classmates, who hear it from you at home, about what a lame coach I am. And if, even unconsciously, my kids are getting a slight advantage because I know them better and trust their abilities, is that the worst thing in the world, considering the sacrifice I’m making? Trust me, I want to win too. And if your son or daughter could guarantee we’d do that, I’d give them the chance.
After this game is over, I’ll be the last one to leave. I have to break down the field, put away all the equipment and make sure everyone has had a parent arrive to pick them up. There have been evenings when my son and I waited with a player until after dark before someone came to get them. Many nights I’m sure you’ve already had dinner and are relaxing on the couch by the time I finally kick the mud off my shoes and climb into my car, which hasn’t been washed or vacuumed for weeks. Why bother cleaning it during the season? Do you know how nice it would be if, just once, after a game one of you offered to carry the heavy gear bag to my car or help straighten up the field?
If I sound angry, I’m not. I do this because I love it and I love being around the kids. There are plenty of rewards and I remind myself that while you’re at the office working, your kid is saying something that makes us all laugh or brings a tear to my eye. The positives outweigh the negatives. I just wish sometime those who don’t choose to volunteer their time would leave the coaching to the few of us who do.
A study concluded by the NCAA in 2012 laid out the probability of a High School Senior making into Collegiate Athletics and beyond. The study was based off information obtained from the NCAA's 1982-11 Participation Statistics Report.
The numbers below can be a harsh reality for those with children hoping to make it to those levels. The basis of this information (and the reason for us posting it here) are not to dash anyone's dreams. It is important for parents and athletes to realize that you need a back-up plan and that concentrating on school and enjoyment of the sport for activity and fitness should always come before the will to exceed in the sport.
And we know some parents and athletes will view this in the opposite light than it is truly intended and use it for reasoning why to push themselves into pushing for harder training and earlier specialization. To you we say that this could also have devasting consequences. As noted throughout our website: nearly 70% of children who start organized sports before the age of 10 will dropout of sports before they even reach high school. Pushing too hard, too early can and will lead to burnout, injuries, resentment of sports related activities and more...
We are not saying that if you think you have what it takes to not go for it, by all means we wish you the very best, but keep in mind the statistics. Even if you are one of the lucky ones, remember sports careers only last so long and you will need the knowledge of things that are taught in school and by mentors to help you beyond those days.
Men's Ice Hockey