Recently, NPR’s “Here & Now” program addressed the risks of concussions in youth sports and the still prevalent “walk it off” response from coaches and staff in many youth sports programs. David McDivitt has written a letter responding to the issue:
Dear Here and Now,
My name is David McDivitt, and I wanted to write in regarding safety in youth sports, concussions, and the dangers of minimizing head injuries with a “walk it off” attitude when kids get hurt. Often times, the “walk it off” attitude stems from a lack of awareness of the severity and long-term dangers of closed head injuries. Just because you cannot see the injury doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. On a daily basis we work with people whose lives have been permanently altered by head injuries – from decreased attention spans to an inability to hold down a job, and even worse. These injuries can be devastating to the people directly hurt, their families, and their friends.
Young people are even more susceptible to these injuries because their brains are not yet fully developed.
Our firm is active in promoting safety for children: we encourage better driving habits and emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet while riding bikes. Schools and youth sports teams could also help keep kids safe – not just through protective equipment, but by putting safety as the priority over winning the game.
If parents, schools and youth sports teams would put greater emphasis on safety, that mind-set will carry through for the rest of their children’s lives, ensuring their well-being on the field and when they walk off of it as well.
Thank you for highlighting these dangers and perpetuating a necessary dialogue.