Youth Sports: Risks vs. Rewards – Part 2

Yvonne Zacharias and the Vancouver Sun looked at concussions in part two of their four-part series on youth sports and injuries.

Much like overuse injuries, concussions are increasing every day. You will find numerous NHL stars currently off the ice due to concussions or post-concussion syndrome (PCS). The same can be said for the NFL, as the league announced they will now fine or suspend players for illegal hits to the head after a stunning number of head injuries last week.

Even in baseball, Canadian stars Justin Morneau and Jason Bay missed the end of their 2010 seasons because of PCS.

The same risks and concerns exist in youth sports. An American Academy of Pediatrics report showed sports-related concussions grew a shocking 200 percent in a four-year span.

Last month at SportMedBC’s Annual Conference and Workshops, concussions and head injuries was one of the big topics. President of Washington Youth Soccer, Doug Andreassen, joined us for the afternoon discussion. Andreassen has been one of many people behind “the Lystedt law,” named after 17 year-old Zackery Lystedt.

At the age of 13, Lystedt suffered a concussion during a football game. After a brief break, Lystedt re-entered the game. Post-game, Lystedt collapsed and fell into a coma. He needed two major brain operations in ten hours.

Lystedt is paralyzed and is confined to a wheelchair.

Andreassen has worked together with a group including the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks to push the law, with the idea being, “when in doubt, sit them out.”

While a law of this nature raises the bar for administrators and coaches involved in sports, education is integral as well.

Earlier this year, Football BC became the first provincial football organization in Canada to adopt a policy specific to concussions and brain injuries.

More from Yvonne Zacharias.

More on Zackery Lystedt.

Photo: Seattle Times

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