We are working on our youth football web site and I am wondering if it would be helpful for parents to have a section on concussions and concussion education. I would post a number of articles and videos about the topic. The idea is to educate but not scare. I am trying to decide if this helps or might hurt our program since it brings the concussion issue to the forefront. Thoughts?
Post by badtotheflexbone on Apr 17, 2017 23:18:51 GMT -6
Putting it up on the website may or may not help parents but it does show that your organization are aware of the issues, takes it very seriously, and uses the research to help educate your coaches, parents, players, and anyone else involve in your organization to reduce the likelihood of concussions.
I think it definitely helps from a mental, physical, emotional, and stigma point of view. I think the best thing that happens is that it creates discussion and conversations which is the ultimate goal.
Our large Independent League was one of the last to align with USA Football.
They plastered their stuff everywhere that off season. Out of roughly 7000 Members with numbers growing even thru the Great Recession....5800 signed up. This was in 2013.
Coincidence? Nope. Our League simply admitted to the uneducated that the issues going on with the NFL was now a Little League issues too. The NFl and LL is apples and oranges. Last years registration numbers...4700. Some Orgs have lost 50% of their numbers in 4 years...right after we aligned with USA Football.
Now next to every Coach listed on every website is this really cool USA Football Certified Icon. Yay! Now when Parents ask me what it takes to become certified I tell them truth. If you give a Monkey enough bananas he will pass that test too.
I'd suggest not doing this since it crippled our League. Best to just train up your coaches internally and coach responsibly like you have always done in the past....and talk to as many parents as you possibly can. Town Hall Meetings seem to be working for my Org. Feed em and they will show up too at least listen. We went from roughly 900 players in 2012 to 650 in 2014 and were pushing 800 for 2016.
My Org is one of 17 that make up the League that has survived for almost 80 years now. Certain Orgs are crumbling right now and it all happened the off season the League decided to "educate" the masses via website information.
BTW in 2010 there were 318 teams in the League and growing ( slowly). Last season there was 210 but you have to consider that while the numbers were shrinking the last 4 years the League was actually absorbing neighboring Orgs not in our League that were failing. So its way worse than what the numbers say alone.
In 2012 I had 24 players on my roster. In 2013 I had 18.
That is far more "dangerous" to the game than anything else. You cant possible hit less with fewer players...in games or practice. Fortunately my Org started folding some teams and we are back up to 25 players now.
Excellent point, Mahonz. In a world where people's time & att'n are limited, sometimes attempts to address a perceived problem lead primarily to observers' thinking a non-problem is a problem.
In Thurber's story "The Day the Dam Broke", the announcement "The dam has not broken" was heard as "The dam has now broken." The story was fiction, but based on a real event in which the effects of a real flood had been exaggerated in the public mind,leading to a panic that while not as wild as in the story, did occur in real life.
In the 1980s there was widespread confusion of the Libertarian Party with the politics of Lyndon LaRouche. The Libertarian Party of New York tried to dispel that notion with a front page article in the party's newspaper. One person I tried to interest in it on the street said he didn't like our politics, because, "You have LaRouche on your front page."
I've seen this with nuclear power, food & cosmetic ingredients, abortions, & motor vehicles: attempts to educate leading more to public alarm than to learning. If people had the time & interest to examine things thoroughly, then issues would be clarified; there'd still be disagreements because of value judgments, but at least people would be up on the facts that are nailed down, as well as the degree of uncertainty in them. But people don't have time & interest for everything, so their quick take on an issue that's at all complex or detailed may be simple rejection or revulsion, & then they have no reason to give it any more of their att'n.
Football is a luxury, so it tends to be something people won't look at in detail, because they can easily skip it. Therefore a "head in the sand" attitude may, paradoxically, give better results. Heads Up Football turned out to be part of the problem rather than of the solution.
Unfortunately I believe there is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy that's happened with youth football. People wanted to get out in front of "the attack on football" and didn't realize it may have only been a vocal minority that's always bitching and moaning about something. Now they've added credibility to the whole issue by addressing it.
And it doesn't help that the clowns at USA Football keep changing what's dangerous and not dangerous. Two years ago Hawk tackling was unsafe period (actual commentary by our tackling instructor at our Player Safety Coach training), then last year it was unsafe for youth but okay for HS, and now it's what's taught at the youth level. Hawk tackling hasn't changed, it just took USA Football that long to get out of their own way.
I might set up a FAQ page if I was building a web site, and within that have one of the ?'s be "is football safe for my child". And in the answer, I'd put links to the various studies that say youth football seems to be safer than a lot of other activities that youth commonly engage in without all the fuss. I wouldn't go near the word "concussion" or "head injury" with a 10 foot pole.
We advertise that all of our coaches are certified by USA Football, but that's it. No explanation of what it is, just the implication that most people will think certified is better than not certified...