Two members of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee encouraged USA Today writer Gary Mihoces to examine what is being done at the youth level to educate players and adults about concussion.
Drs. Patrick Kersey (pictured left) and Stanley Herring (right) wrote a letter to the editor in response to a Mihoces’ feature entitled “Parents weigh risks of youth football amid concussion debate,” urging the writer to help parents, coaches and league officials make the best decisions for young athletes.
Here is their response:
Absent from Gary Mihoces’ sports cover story on May 23 is the need for youth football leagues – and leagues of all youth sports – to employ a strong coaching education program that properly teaches a game’s fundamentals and how to recognize concussion symptoms and manage them.
Much more work is necessary to fully understand the risk of contact as it relates to sports concussion – both in the short and long term in all sports. In the interim, steps taken by USA Football make sense to best teach the sport and to advance player safety.
Hundreds of youth leagues nationwide adopt USA Football’s nationally accredited coaching courses, developed with information and insight from the CDC and other medical experts. Curriculum guidelines include removing an athlete from play until he or she is cleared to return by an appropriate health care professional.
This is a strong step forward for player safety in youth football that more youth sports should consider emulating.
Patrick A. Kersey, M.D., St. Vincent Sport Performance, Indianapolis
Stanley A. Herring, M.D., Professor, University of Washington, Seattle
Both Drs. Kersey and Herring are members of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body in the United States.