Falling League Participation?

Is this happening to your league?

Q. Our little legaue is down 50% over the last three years. Has anyone developed a survey to find out the underlying causes so that we can address them at the board?

A. There may be some general reasons why league participation is down, but generally the things that drive a league are the same things that drive local business – a quality product and good marketing. The Sports Esteem website (http://www.sportsesteem.com/) can help you define the league guidelines for the way parents and coaches can work together to create a great experience for kids, then get the word out! Use the schools, churches and other community groups to let parents and kids know that a great experience is waiting for them with your league. Emphasize the fun, friendship, learning and the health benefits of participation.

Pre-Natal Hockey League

Do you know some parents like this… 

MEDFORD, Mass. Peggy and Dave Finnerty admit they’re hockey nuts, having spent countless hours carting their two sons to games at the break of dawn. “It’s what we love to do,” says Peggy, who sports a Boston Bruins scrunchy around her pony tail as she watches a practice at Anthony LoConte Rink in this blue-collar suburb.

Peggy is expecting, and the Finnertys are doing everything they can to make sure their newest child gets a head start in the highly competitive world of youth hockey. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Peggy straps on her pads and takes to the ice with other pregnant women in what is believed to be the world’s first pre-natal hockey league.

Read More…

Concussions – The Least Understood Sports Injury

A severely sprained wrist or a broken bone quickly earn a player a visit to a doctor for treatment. Yet the treatment of a concussion, a potentially much more severe injury, is often handled by a coach or parent without any medical knowledge. Much of this lies with the fact that sports related concussions are not uncommon and most players who suffer concussions are capable of resuming play within a few minutes of experiencing them. Pressure from coaches, parents or even from the player himself may dictate a quick return to the game.

But, new research is starting to show that just because players can resume playing after a concussion, doesn’t mean they should.

What is a Concussion?
A concussion is an impact to the brain caused either by a blow to the head or the rapid movement of the head resulting in the brain hitting the inside of the skull. Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Headache
  • Vision disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss (called amnesia)
  • Ringing ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea

A severe concussion can include the following symptoms and are cause for a quick trip to the emergency room:

  • Stiff neck
  • Difficulty walking, speaking or using your arms
  • Severe headache
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Confusion that gets worse
  • Convulsions
  • Unusual sleepiness1

Treatment
Fortunately, most mild concussions leave no lasting impact on a player and are treated with rest and headache remedies. However, repeated mild concussions or a single severe concussion may cause brain swelling and/or bleeding and threaten the life of the player.

Risks of Returning to Play
Dr. Michael Collins, a neuropsychologist and assistant director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sports Medicine’s Concussion Program conducted a study of high school athletes and found that “prior concussions may indeed lower the threshold for subsequent concussion injury and increase symptom severity in even seemingly mild subsequent concussions”.

A 17-year-old high school football player was tackled on the last day of the first half of a varsity game and struck his head on the ground. During half-time intermission, he told a teammate that he felt ill and had a headache; he did not tell his coach. He played again during the third quarter and received several routine blows to his helmet during blocks and tackles. He then collapsed on the field and was taken to a local hospital in a coma where he died a few days later.2 Accounts such as this are not limited to football. Almost every sport has a similar story.

Dr. David Kushner at the University of Miami School of Medicine recommends that athletes who have symptoms of concussion lasting more than 15 minutes or who have post-traumatic amnesia should not be permitted to resume sports participation for at least one week. No athlete should be permitted to return to play while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present. He also recommends an emergency department evaluation for any athlete who suffers loss of consciousness.3

1http://familydoctor.org/458.xml
2http://www.headinjury.com/sports.htm
3http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010915/1007.html

Read Stories of Professional Players

The website Dallas Stars Care (http://www.dallasstarscare.com) features stories of professional hockey players talking about their youth sports experiences including:

Steve Ott

Philippe Boucher

Marty Turco

Visit the Dallas Stars Care website to read about these players and more.

Probability of Competing in Athletics Beyond the High School

From the NCAA website:

Student-Athletes Men’s
Basketball
Women’s
Basketball
Football Baseball Men’s Ice Hockey Men’s Soccer
High School Student-Athletes 549,500 456,900 983,600 455,300 29,900 321,400
High School Senior Student-Athletes 157,000 130,500 281,000 130,100 8,500 91,800
NCAA Student-Athletes 15,700 14,400 56,500 25,700 3,700 18,200
NCAA Freshman Roster Positions 4,500 4,100 16,200 7,300 1,100 5,200
NCAA Senior Student-Athletes 3,500 3,200 12,600 5,700 800 4,100
NCAA Student-Athletes Drafted 44 32 250 600 33 76
Percent High School to NCAA 2.9 3.1 5.8 5.6 12.9 5.7
Percent NCAA to Professional 1.3 1.0 2.0 10.5 4.1 1.9
Percent High School to Professional 0.03 0.02 0.09 0.5 0.4 0.08

Note: These percentages are based on estimated data and should be considered approximations of the actual percentages. Click here to view the methodology used to arrive at these estimates.

Publications

Sports Esteem’s training manual Hockey Workbook for Mini-Mites, Mites and Squirts and its parent education book Building All-Star Kids have been released under the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2. In addition, the Hockey Workbook will eventually be placed into a Wiki so that others may offer their feedback and guidance to keep the Hockey Workbook up to date. To download the these publications, click on the page tabs at the top of this blog.

Sports Injuries

All youth sport activities carry the risk of injury. The following table outlines the statistics for various sports activities.

Rank Sport Estimated Injuries Participation (1,000s) Injuries per 1,000 Participants
1. Basketball 631,186 29,417 21.5
2. Football 355,247 17,091 20.8
3. Bicycles 577,621 43,535 13.3
4. Soccer 169,734 13,167 12.9
5. Baseball 180,582 15,856 11.4
6. Ice Hockey 22,231 2,131 10.4
7. Skateboards 54,532 5,782 9.4
8. Softball 132,625 15,595 8.5
9. Ice Skating 33,741 7,799 4.3
10. In-Line Skating 110,783 27,033 4.1
11. Tennis 22,665 11,227 2.0
12. Golf 46,019 27,496 1.7
13. Swimming 49,331 58,249 0.8

Source: R. Mrphey, Murost Enterprises, LLC (compiled Jan. 7, 2002)

Born in December? Maybe You Aren’t Good Enough?

A variety of studies show that the cutoff age for a sport and a child’s relative birthdate are two of the largest factors determining future success. Kids born just after a sports cutoff date are the oldest players in their group and the most likely to succeed. In youth hockey, where the cutoff date is often January first, kids born in January are most likely to reach the highest levels (see chart below). In youth soccer, where the cutoff date is August 1, kids born in August are most likely to reach the highest levels.

Early-born children (born soon after cut-off date) are more likely to be identified as being talented at younger ages. This identification leads to more encouragement and selection for participation in special training programs or teams. Kids who are born just before the cutoff date show much higher rates of dropping out of the sport.

More information is available at: http://www.socialproblemindex.ualberta.ca/Relage.htm.

Born in December? Maybe You Aren’t Good Enough?

A variety of studies show that the cutoff age for a sport and a child’s relative birthdate are two of the largest factors determining future success. Kids born just after a sports cutoff date are the oldest players in their group and the most likely to succeed. In youth hockey, where the cutoff date is often January first, kids born in January are most likely to reach the highest levels (see chart below). In youth soccer, where the cutoff date is August 1, kids born in August are most likely to reach the highest levels.

Early-born children (born soon after cut-off date) are more likely to be identified as being talented at younger ages. This identification leads to more encouragement and selection for participation in special training programs or teams. Kids who are born just before the cutoff date show much higher rates of dropping out of the sport.

More information is available at: http://www.socialproblemindex.ualberta.ca/Relage.htm.

Think You are the First to Complain?

As you read the following letter, please note that it was written 40 years ago. The players involved were 7 years old. See if you think things have changed much from when we were kids…

————–

June 13, 1966

Baseball Commission
Capitol Hill Junior Chamber of Commerce
410 Leonhardt Building
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Gentlemen:

At 7:00 pm on June 10, 1966 we played the Fillmore Reds on your South Diamond.

I would like to make a complaint regarding the actions of Mr. Brooke who is a coach for the team. His entire conduct during and after the game was not in keeping with the rules of baseball, as set out below in specific instances:

  1. He came to me several times during the game arguing about calls by the umpire, the conduct of my players and coaches.
  2. After the game in front of everybody that would listen, he accused the umpire of being our man.
  3. Also, after the game, he tried to provoke one of my coaches and one of my boy’s father into an argument with him.

All complaints made by him were very loud and his entire conduct was very unsportsmanlike.

I wish to state that Mr. Armbuster’s, the manager of the Fillmore team, manner during the entire game was above reproach.

They stated that the game would be protested. I request that if their protest stands and game is replayed or any future games we have with this team, that the Baseball Commission furnish impartial observers so that the game may be conducted in an orderly manner. I dislike exposing my team to this type of conduct during a game.

Yours truly,

Jack Farris
Manager
Prairie Queen Blues