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MomsTeam Update: Advice for parents as football season begins

With high school and youth football starting around the country, here are five key articles for parents of football players from the MomsTeam library -- all of which have been updated to reflect the very latest medical research and expert recommendations:

  • While 47 states and the District of Columbia have now enacted strong concussion safety laws modeled on Washington State's groundbreaking Zackery Lystedt law -- most at the strong urging of the National Football League -- MomsTeam's founder and publisher Brooke de Lench said every parent of a child playing contact or collision sports has the right to expect much more than those laws require. Here is her 12-point checklist.
  • With the settlement of the concussion lawsuit by retired National Football League players, it's time to focus on the upcoming football season at every level of the game. Often overlooked is the important role parents play after their kids suffer concussions. While health care professionals, teachers, coaches, school nurses and psychologists, and athletic trainers all play a role in a child's treatment and recovery from a suspected concussion, it is parents who play a critical role in a concussed athlete's recovery, return to school, everyday social and home activity, and sports. But what, exactly, is that role? Here's a 10-point checklist reflecting the latest recommendations of concussion experts.
  • Most well-run youth and high school sports programs, regardless of the sport, hold meetings before every season to provide a forum in which parents can ask questions and raise any concerns they may have before the season starts to help to ensure that everyone is playing from the same playbook once the season begins. What are the topics and questions that a preseason meeting should ideally address? Based on her years as a youth sports coach, administrator and educator, Brooke de Lench has developed a list of 21 questions that parents should consider asking at a preseason meeting if they aren't addressed by the coach. While some of the topics and topics will seem obvious, they are all important; if they aren't covered in some form or fashion (whether it is at a meeting or via written handouts or on a website), parents won't feel as comfortable as they should be going into the season.
  • The near-unanimous consensus of sport-concussion experts recommends that athletes who suffer concussions follow a six-step, symptom-limited process of exercise before returning to contact or collision sports. MomsTeam Senior Health and Safety Editor Lindsay Barton provided a comprehensive review of the latest thinking about return to play, including the growing body of research that suggests that children and adolescents require a longer rest period and/or extended period of non-contact exercise before return than adults because they have a different physiological response to concussions, take longer to recover, and have other unique risk factors.

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