Champions of Character

Every year, the Department of Neighborhood and Community Services – in partnership with the Fairfax County Athletic Council – host the Champions of Character Awards. Four awards are given in each magisterial district. One for a male and one for a female athlete, one for a parent volunteer and one for a coach. A reception is held for the winners at the Fairfax County Government Center. This year’s winners and their stories are below.

Braddock District
Ben LaJoie, Male Athlete, Burke Basketball

Ben Lajoie is a freshman at Robinson Secondary School. As a baseball player with West Springfield Little League, Ben has been a multiple year all-star. As a basketball player, Ben plays for Burke basketball as well as Team Elevate on the AAU circuit. Off the field, Ben has been selected as student of the quarter at Robinson SS for academic excellence. Beyond his athletic and academic success, Ben is the type of player that every coach wants. He pushes himself to work hard with perseverance and toughness. Ben offers praise and encouragement to his teammates no matter how the team is performing. Ben’s outstanding character, citizenship, work ethic, compassion, and kindness to others make him a leader both on AND off the field. Continue reading

Washington State Dept of Health: No Cancer Cluster Among Soccer Players

On January 19, 2017, the Washington State Department of Health released a study titled Investigation of Reported Cancer among Soccer Players in Washington State. The News Tribune reports, “The study was prompted by an ongoing debate over whether the use of crumb rubber — made from recycled tires — to cushion artificial turf fields could cause cancer in young athletes.”

The report found lower rates of cancer among soccer players than expected. “[T]his finding does not suggest that soccer players, select and premier soccer players, or goalkeepers in Washington are at increased risk of cancer compared to the general populations.”

Fairfax County continues to look at these and other materials as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of county residents. A memo was sent to the Board of Supervisors on February 2, 2017, by County Executive Ed Long. In the memo, he concludes, “Currently available research on artificial turf has not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with crumb rubber. As such, the county will continue its standard practice of using crumb rubber as a synthetic infill until new scientific evidence or guidance about the public health risk of crumb rubber emerges.”

The Washington State Department of Health has an excellent FAQ about the study on their site.

Practice Under the Lights

I apologize that I haven’t written about Wednesday’s Athletic Council meeting yet.  I was waiting for the electronic version of the presentations but I am not sure when I will receive them.

My evening with the Athletic Council started with a meeting of the Practice Under the Lights Committee.

This committee started its work a while ago (long before I joined the Council).  The focus of the effort is getting the Park Authority to change Policy 402.  (Click here to see an earlier post about Policy 402)

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Policy 402 – Little Known Policy Has Major Impact

Policy 402 is one of those things that has a huge impact on athletic organizations and most people don’t know anything about it.  Here’s a copy you can view:  Policy 402

I first learned about Policy 402 when I objected to the fact that football teams could practice on grass fields under the lights and no other sports could.  This seemed very unfair to me.  So when I asked about the reasons that football teams were given this privilege, I was referred to Policy 402.

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