Kids and Concussions

What would you say to Roger Goodell about the NFL’s opportunity to make youth sports safer?

Article first published as Kids and Concussions – Are You Ready for Some Football? on Technorati.

Recent headlines about concussions and links to depression and possibly suicide are scaring parents.  Many are thinking twice about encouraging kids to play football and other contact sports.  Serious injury is on the line.

Happy is also on the line

Happiness means doing what you love.  If your child loves football you may be faced with a tough choice.  Perhaps knowing a few facts will help you choose well for you and your child.

Concussion is . . .

First, you’ll need to understand what a concussion really is.  A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body and can be difficult to diagnose.  According to the Mayo Clinic, parents and coaches should seek emergency care for a child who has suffered a blow to the head and who has these and other symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Headache worsening over time
  • Changes in behavior, irritability, fussiness
  • Changes in physical coordination, dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision, dilated pupils, unequal size pupils
  • Blood or fluid from nose or ears
  • Large head bumps or bruises on other than the forehead


Next, you’ll need to be comfortable that the coaching staff responsible for your child can ensure the safest possible play.  The Annual Survey of Football Injury Research is a great resource for safety recommendations.  Below are a few biggies that you can ask the coaches about:

  • Proper neck strengthening exercises so kids can hold heads firmly erect when making contact.
  • Emphasized training in fundamental skills, particularly blocking and tackling.  Contact should always be made with the head-up, never with the top of the head/helmet.  
  • Coaches and parents should know how to properly fit equipment, especially helmets, and take special care to check each player.
  • A player showing signs of head trauma should receive immediate medical attention and should not be allowed to return to play without physician permission.  Coaches should never make the call.

 Second Impact Syndrome, a second hit before full concussion recovery, most often results in death.

Care for kids

A kid can suffer a head injury playing football, soccer, lacrosse, or falling out of bed.  You should know what to do just in case.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child who has suffered any head trauma should avoid loud music, computer, and TV if it increases the symptoms.  Additionally, modify school work, recess, and gym participation, even postponing tests if needed.  “Any worsening of concussion symptoms or changes in behavior (e.g. agitation, grogginess, disorientation) should be immediately reported to your doctor.”

What would you say to Roger Goodell?

 The NFL recently launched a comprehensive wellness program for current and retired players.  NFL Total Wellness will empower players to make positive health decisions. . .”  Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

In conjunction with its efforts to help players at the professional level, the NFL is leading the way for a healthier and safer game for players of all ages.  I have been invited to participate in the inaugural NFL Youth Health & Safety Workshop hosted by Roger Goodell at the NFL headquarters in Manhattan later this month.  Among the contributors are Scott Hallenbeck, USA Football Executive Director, head injury consultants and representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Various speakers will highlight the NFL’s work to make youth sports safer and then the fun begins—we openly share with each other all that we know and is concerning us.  They’ve asked me to come prepared for a lively discussion . . .

 that’s where you come in.

The opportunity to create something wonderful exists right now.  Please consider sharing your concerns, experience, and opinions.  Now more than ever, parents must form a team that shares our collective wisdom and our fears with those who are willing and able to rally the nation.

 So, what would you say to Roger Goodell?


Additional Concussion information:

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)  

Center for Disease Control – NFL Concussion Flyer


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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

4 thoughts on “Kids and Concussions”

  1. Great article Lorraine. Located in europe I’m not up to speed with risks associated with football, but many sports are contact sports, and its great to have accurate information on what to look out for if your child suffers a head injury. making sure that your child has the right protective gear, and gear that fits well, is always so important.

    1. Yep, next article I write is about field safety and then I’m all about equipment. I’ve got stories to share from former NFL players like George Visger that will help us understand just HOW important this is for kids. Please share your ideas and help me make this opportunity count for us all. Thanks Jane… you’re a smart gal.

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