It is pleasing when you hear someone who is a recognized authority on a subject communicate messages that you have been communicating.
Gary Phillips and I experienced such a situation at the recent Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series. This event was entitled, “Making Play Safe for Kids,” and a panel of recognized experts spent several hours discussing topics that were relevant to the work of the GHSA.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the noted neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN. Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and head of the National Council on Youth Sports Safety, was also on the panel.
Kate Carr, President & CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, was the third panel?member, and Alexis Glick, a veteran media personality and CEO of? GENYOUth Foundation, rounded out the group. These panelists brought?professional and personal (as parents) perspectives, and they articulated important thoughts very well.
While the discussion topics applied to children up through high school students, a significant focus was on athletic participation by adolescents. A few of the relevant topics that were discussed included:
- Concussion education and management
- Over use injuries brought on by athletic specialization?
- The physiological and intellectual benefits of physical activity for young people
- The life long benefits that are derived from participating instructured athletics
- The need to provide “enjoyment experiences” in athletic programs.
Following the panel discussion, more than 30 people from the fields of athletics and medicine met with Arthur Blank, Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner), and Dr. Mark Emmert (President of the NCAA) to dive deeper into the topics presented by the panel members.
Many of the remarks offered in this meeting validated the messages and the practices of the GHSA. When people from the professional athletic ranks talked about the value of having children and adolescents participate in more than one sport, the opportunities available through education-based athletics were emphasized.
There was also validation in regard to “changing the culture” of sports by adopting educational and administrative policies to cover concussion management and heat/hydration issues. These are things that the GHSA has addressed – and continues to address.
– Ralph Swearngin, Executive Director