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MomsTeam update: Helmet standards ruling might hurt player safety

This week's best of, a website devoted to health and safety issues in kids sports.

  • NOCSAE recently announced that modification of helmets with third-party after-market add-ons, absent re-testing and re-certification as configured, renders the certification void. That might be necessary to protect the integrity of its helmet standard, but some experts are concerned it will come at the cost of depriving athletes of cutting-edge concussion safety products. MomsTeam's Brooke de Lench explored all sides of the controversial ruling.
  • In her role as a youth sports safety advocate, de Lench writes that the NOCSAE ruling voiding the certification for sensor-equipped helmets could not have come at a worse time, just as football -- from the youth level to the NFL -- is gearing up for the 2013 season. If not reversed or modified, de Lench fears it will have harsh consequences for sensor manufacturers, player safety issues and consumer choices.
  • One of the most important steps that a school or independent sports program can take to protect athletes playing contact (e.g. football, lacrosse, hockey) and collision sports (e.g. soccer, basketball) is to hold a concussion safety meeting before every sports season. While nearly every state requires that parents and players receive some basic concussion safety information as a condition to participation, more education than can fit onto an 8½-by-11 sheet of paper is needed. With football beginning, here's what a concussion safety meeting should cover and who should, in the ideal world, make presentations.
  • In the first of a series of short concussion education videos, Dr. William P. Meehan III, Director of the Sports Concussion Clinic and the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention in the Division of Sports Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, discusses three ways for an athlete to reduce the risk of concussion: cervical neck strengthening, playing with their head up and being in good general physical condition.
  • Gone are the days when cheerleaders at high school football games stood on the sidelines and, well, cheered, Meehan said. Cheerleaders perform stunts and aerial acrobatics that expose them to a risk of concussion. As Meehan explained in this new video, cheerleaders, unlike those in many other sports, are at greater risk of concussions during practice. As for athletes in other sports with a high risk of concussion, he recommended that athletes engaged in competitive cheer undergo baseline neurocognitive testing every year.

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