photo Jack Tatum

September 9,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, it is back to school and the start of High School Football season .The latest media rage is the continued focus  on player safety and concussions . While many parents continue to voice concern about football safety . Other sports like soccer and lacrosse have proven to be equally as dangerous .

On September 5th Dr. Bennet Omalu  told the Today show : “Knowing what we know today, there is no reason whatsoever that any child under the age of 18 should play the high-impact, high-contact sports. The big six are: American football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, boxing, wrestling and rugby. Blows to the head are intrinsic to the game. That truth could be inconvenient, painful and difficult, but we should not deny it. “https://www.today.com/health/concussion-doctor-warns-against-contact-sports-kids-t115938

So is no sports really the answer ? After all On August 18, 1967, the Red Sox were playing the California Angels at Fenway Park. Tony Conigliaro, batting against Jack Hamilton, was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone and was carried off the field on a stretcher. He sustained a linear fracture of the left cheekbone and a dislocated jaw with severe damage to his left retina. The batting helmet he was wearing did not have the protective ear-flap that has since become standard. So even baseball can be dangerous .

Perhaps it is my age or just a different point of reference  but growing up we never wore helmets on bicycles , we drank water from a hose , swam in Saddle River ,ate trout we caught  and some how all lived to tell about it .

I can still remember August 12, 1978,  “Oakland Raiders free safety Jack Tatum levels New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley with a helmet-to-helmet hit in a preseason game, leaving Stingley paralyzed for life. Despite the sport’s hard hits and reputation for roughness, this was the first and only time a player was permanently paralyzed as a result of an injury sustained in a National Football League game.” -history.com.

So is it really true as Dr. Bennet Omalu said that “Blows to the head are intrinsic to the game”  ? We placed a call to councilmen Ramon Hache who is very involved in Village sports programs especially football to get his take . Ramon reminded us that things have changed , that do to the size ,speed and weight of the players its not the football we grew up with . That players got bigger and faster and equipment didn’t seemed to up grade as quickly. Ramon stressed that awareness and training is the key to safety and reminded me the new game is often played more like Rugby or the old leather helmet football when tackling was or is much less dependent on equipment then technique .

photo Raised a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, Jim Thorpe was America’s original crossover athlete. As an Olympic champion, football player and baseball star, he excelled in nearly every sport he tried.

Even RJFA PeeWee Football coaches now have to have a Youth Tackle Coach Certification even before they take the field. It is also It is mandatory for all RJFA coaches to be certified for HUF (Heads Up Football)  .

Shoulder Tackling and Blocking
Health and Safety
Fundamentals of Coaching

Coaches also must be Rutgers S.A.F.E.T.Y certified  . As we figured Ridgewood parents would do everything possible to assure the safety of their children , so mothers can feel confident everything is being done and then some to keep your child safe .

Let face the value of team sports for children has been well documented and it would be a shame to lose these benefits

Children who take part in organized sports receive many social, mental and psychological benefits over and above those that come from general physical activity.

Healthy habits

Starting a child in an organized sport gives them a healthy habit of physical activity to see them right through to adulthood and help them ward off many age- and weight-related ailments. Even before adulthood, teens who take part in sports are less likely to smoke, do drugs or abuse alcohol.http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/participating-in-organized-sports.aspx

Self-discipline

Learning the rules and techniques of a new sport and training for a particular purpose can give a child self-discipline that they can employ both on and off the field. Sports often help children learn that working hard helps them to achieve a goal.http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/participating-in-organized-sports.aspx

Social skills and teamwork

When many people think of organized sports, team sports often spring to mind. Sports such as baseball, hockey or basketball can teach children to trust and rely on others to achieve common goals, value everyone’s individual strengths and put collective needs before individual wants.http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/participating-in-organized-sports.aspx

Improved mental health

Taking part in a sport can greatly improve a child’s sense of self-worth. Whether it is the satisfaction of mastering a dribble or beating a personal best, sports-related exercise enables children to gain confidence in their skills. In an era of excessive focus on appearance, sports also provide an outlet for children, especially girls, to focus not on what their bodies look like but on what they can do. This has the knock-on benefit of improved body image.http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/participating-in-organized-sports.aspx

Sportsmanship

Taking part in anything competitive requires an ability to handle disappointments and accept personal responsibility for any mistakes. It can take a while for children – and some adults – to learn not to blame others when things go wrong. However, organized sports can teach important lessons about the value of taking part rather than winning and about using setbacks as learning opportunities.
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/HealthandWellness/PhysicalActivitySportsandFitness/Pages/participating-in-organized-sports.aspx