Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sports Safety

Recently a friend of mine called to say her nephew was injured in The Ultimate Game. What’s that I asked? Ultimate is a combination of football, soccer and Frisbee. The game requires end zones, goalposts and outside boundaries. Scoring is accomplished by getting the Frisbee past the opposing team and into the end zone for a touchdown or through the goalposts for a field goal.

Players are limited to taking only take 3 steps before having to throw the Frisbee to another player which must be done within a 7 second period. Failure to hand off means giving up possession to the opposing team. Defense can block, catch or knock away the Frisbee so long as they don’t grab it out of the player’s hand.

What a great game! Fast moving, high energy and can be played just about anywhere outdoors or in a gymnasium so it can be played year round. You are sure to get quite a workout! But as with all sports, there can be risks. In the case of my friend, her nephew had an unfortunate collision with an opposing team member as they both grabbed for the Frisbee. After colliding, his momentum continued and he plowed into a brick wall causing severe head trauma.

This situation reminded me of when Michael Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy died while playing football while skiing. Striking a tree, he suffered a massive head injury. Yes, there are risks in every sport. In some sports it’s required to wear headgear but in others, it is considered quite uncool. Helmets should be worn for football, biking, roller blading, skate boarding, skiing, motocross, hockey, baseball, lacrosse, and soccer. Yes, even soccer players can suffer concussions from head butting the ball.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is currently asking the State of Illinois to approve a bill requiring bike helmets for children less than 16 years of age. Since nearly every child rides a bike but not all participate in other activities, we agree with the AAP that there should be at least at minimum a mandatory requirement in place for bike helmets since it applies to the vast majority of children.

If your child participates in a sport where protective equipment is recommended make sure to review with them why it’s important to wear it. Sports related injuries are more common than we realize. Millions of people are injured each year. You can’t stop all injuries and accidents but you can reduce the severity by using protective gear.

For more information on head injuries, please go to:


Pat B.

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