SB 652 – New Law in Virginia about Concussions

This legislation requires the Board of Education to work with a number of stakeholders in Virginia to develop and distribute guidelines for school divisions to inform parents, coaches, and student-athletes about the risks of concussions.

In addition, school divisions would be required to provide student-athletes with information on an annual basis regarding concussions and the student-athlete’s parent or guardian would be required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt of such information.

Moreover, any student-athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game would be removed from competition immediately following the incident.  A student-athlete who has been removed from play, evaluated, and suspected to have a concussion or brain injury shall not return to play that same day nor until (i) evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider as determined by the Board of Education and (ii) in receipt of written clearance to return to play from such licensed health care provider.

The policies of the Board of Education shall become effective on July 1, 2011.

The bill received a unanimous vote from both the House and the Senate.

You can see the full legislative history here.

West Springfield Little League Season Opener

What a great night.  I was honored to throw the first pitch out at the West Springfield Little League season opening ceremonies last night.  There was a great crowd along with Delegate Dave Albo and Supervisors Herrity and Cook.  It was a lot of fun to be with so many sport loving parents and kids under the lights at the fields on Byron Avenue.

Mark Hyman's Until It Hurts Is Worth Reading

I just finished Mark Hyman’s Until It Hurts. It is a quick although sometimes disturbing read.  Almost 150 pages, the book takes a hard look at youth sports and the adults who often manage to screw it up.

While the whole book it worth reading, here are some interesting points:

Just 5.8 percent of high school football players, one in seventeen, will suit up for a college squad.  The odds are bleaker for men’s soccer (5.7 percent), baseball (5.6%), women’s basketball (3.1 percent) and men’s basketball (2.9percent).

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Comprehensive Study on Benefits of Sports for Girls

The Women’s Sports Foundation published there report Her Life Depends on It II in December, 2009.  It is a great resource.  This from the Executive Summary:

The research compiled in our updated report strongly suggests that sport and physical activity provide conditions that help to ensure girls’ health and well-being. Some findings identified in this report relate to:

Breast Cancer Risk:  Based on the findings from 23 studies examining the effect of moderate and vigorous physical activity during adolescence on cancer risk, those who had the highest physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood were 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life (Lagerros et al., 2004).

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Study on Sport and Teen Pregnany

The 1998 study Sport and Teen Pregnancy from the Women’s Sports Foundation found that girls who participated in sports experienced a number of benefits.  Among them:

1. Female Athletes Were Less Likely to Get Pregnant
Female athletes in the nationwide survey were less than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes (5% and 11%, respectively). Moreover, significantly reduced rates of pregnancy were found for the subsamples of African-American, Caucasian, and Latina/Hispanic female athletes.
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NYT: Sports Pay Dividends for Girls

The New York Times published this story on February 15, 2010, about the life long benefits of sports, especially team sports, to girls.

From the story:

Now, separate studies from two economists offer some answers, providing the strongest evidence yet that team sports can result in lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects.

As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends

By TARA PARKER-POPE

Stuart Bradford

Almost four decades after the federal education law called Title IX opened the door for girls to participate in high school and college athletics, a crucial question has remained unanswered: Do sports make a long-term difference in a woman’s life?

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Great Story: 'Dumb Jock' Just a Myth

This is a great story from Reuters:

‘Dumb Jock’ Just a Myth: Physically Fit Students Do Better Academically

Friday , February 26, 2010

NEW YORK —

Getting students to exercise more might not just address obesity issues but also improve their grades with a U.S. study finding physically fit students tend to score higher in tests than their less fit peers.

Test scores dropped more than one point for each extra minute it took middle and high school students to complete a one mile run/walk fitness test, according to Dr. William J. McCarthy and colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Schools and parents seeking to optimize their students’ academic performance should take heed, McCarthy noted in an email to Reuters Health.

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Officer Cruz is Way Cool!

This is a write up from the old blog originally posted on July 14, 2009:

Yesterday evening I went out to Lynbrook Elementary School.  I was asked to go see a soccer program run by Fairfax Police Officer Al Cruz and some other officers from the Springfield substation.

I am not sure what I expected, but I can tell you this:  It was awesome.

Kids from about six years old to nineteen were out there playing.  There are four different sets of kids playing pickup games and running drills.  In all, there were more than 100 kids out playing and there are some Monday afternoons that there are more than 200 playing.

On a field and in a community where kids weren’t able to play safely just a few years ago, the police have created a safe haven free of gangs and drugs.  It’s not often you see a police 4×4 in the middle of a playground or uniformed and plain clothes officers walking around with their side arms clearly visible – but it works.

Here’s a link to a Washington Post article about the program.