Eleven of the nation’s most prominent youth sports organizations have announced the formation of the National Sports Concussion Coalition in an effort to prevent and manage concussions among young athletes. The coalition is a partnership of concussion specialists, sports medicine professionals and leaders at other levels of sports, expected to be the most comprehensive alliance of its kind. The group will partner with science and medical leaders in the fields of concussions, brain injury and sports medicine working directly with a cross-section of organizations and governing bodies that represent millions of athletes across major organized sports in the United States.
The coalition, which started discussions earlier this year and held a planning session in September, will look to enhance participation in sports in the United States by providing a safer playing environment. The partnership will complement the safety initiatives of the individual organizations by sharing data and identifying best safety practices that can assist in coaching, playing and officiating across sports.
The founding youth sports and medical members of the coalition include the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS), Pop Warner Little Scholars, Sports Concussion Institute (SCI), U.S. Lacrosse, U.S. Youth Soccer, USA Hockey, American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball, USA Basketball, USA Football and the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention. Coalition partners at the professional, college and foundation levels include the NCAA, NFL, NFLPA and National Football Foundation.
“Sports have the power to change the lives of millions of young people in this country by encouraging a physically active lifestyle and by teaching lifelong lessons. We want to make sure no child loses that opportunity due to fear of injury,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “By coming together in this very important fight against concussions we believe our collective efforts will transcend our individual sports and benefit everyone.”
“This collection of organizations is interested in the safety and wellbeing of our young people,” said Sally Johnson, NCYS executive director. “Through the NCYS members who serve more than 60-million registered participants, w e will lead the way by sharing best practices among our organizations and providing parents, coaches, trainers, officials and athletes with the latest evidence-based facts and information about concussions, general health, and player safety.”
In addition, USA Hockey is a significant contributor in the staging of the Mayo Clinic Ice Hockey Summit II: Action on Concussions to be held October 8 and 9 in Rochester, Minnesota. “We’ve always had safety as our top priority,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, “and the Concussion Summit and National Sports Concussion Coalition are the most recent activities we’re engaged in as part of our ongoing effort to foster the safest possible environment for all participants.”
The Mayo Clinic Ice Hockey Summit II, led by Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical officer of USA Hockey and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, will bring together top scientists, trainers, coaches, officials, retired professional players and manufacturers from across the United States, Canada and Europe to discuss concussion-related issues, including the science of concussion, impact on youth athletes and hockey community response.