We're #1! We're #1! We're #1

Parents of youth athletes often focus on winning.  Their child has to be number 1.  Their child has to be on the best team, has to have the best hook shot, or be the best pitcher.  Simply put: Their child has to be the best.

But now we know that the parents of youth athletes in the United States are themselves number 1 in the world.  I missed this the first time around, but a survey released in early April found that “those residing in the United States (60%) are the most likely to have witnessed abusive behaviour by parents at children’s sporting events followed by those in India (59%), Italy (55%), Argentina (54%), Canada (53%) and Australia (50%).”

I am sure this is not a list we want to be on the top of.  Frankly,the fact that the low scores were 16%, 24%, 25% and 26% isn’t anything to brag about.  While I give props to Hungary for their 16%, I think the Czech Republic’s 24% next lowest number is too high.  Certainly the United States’ 60% is unacceptable.

There are a number of resources out their.  I am most familiar with the Positive Coaching Alliance.  They have some ideas for parents.  We all need to make a commitment to helping change the youth sports culture that allows this kind of behavior.

Teen Center Soccer Program

Sports can have a huge positive impact on kids.  But lots of kids never get the chance to play on an organized team.

Fairfax County’s Community and Recreation Services is a great organization.  Among other things, they offer many kids a chance to play team sports that otherwise would otherwise never get a chance.  One such program is the Teen Center Soccer program.  Games are at Patriot Park on Saturday nights from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Burke Athletic Club has been supporting the program.  We’ve helped with pinnies for the kids, game balls, corner flags and that kind of stuff.  I’ve been there each evening.

This past weekend, a good friend of mine who is a professional photographer came and took pictures of the kids.  Kristina Hernandez donated her time and all of the pictures.   You can see all of them here.

See Amy Run!

This is very cool.  Amy Palmiero-Winters was a high school track star but lost her leg below the knee in a motorcycle accident in 1994.  Many people would give up.  Most would give up running.  Almost every one of them would never try and continue to compete in track.

But not Amy.

Amy won the ARR Run to the Future 24 hour race.  Yes, that’s right – she won a 24 hour long race where athletes run as far as they can.  In her case, she ran 130.04 miles in 24 hours.  Anything over 130 miles is considered “world class.”  Amy is the fifth US woman to ever break the world class barrier.  She finished almost 14 miles ahead of the first man.

Amy has now qualified for the US national team to the 2010 World 24-Hour Run Championship.  This is an event typically for able bodied athletes.

Way to go Amy!!!

Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

The Centers for Disease Control has partnered with several youth sports groups to roll out the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports program.  This is a program designed to help protect and educate athletes, parents and coaches.

They have a lot of resources on the site.  They have fact sheets, quizzes, posters, etc. that everyone can use.

For example, True or False: A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems.  TRUE.

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.

Planning Commission

I testified before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Wednesday night after the Athletic Council meeting.  The hearing was about the long term development plan in Tysons.  My presentation dealt with putting fields on the top of buildings, parking decks, etc.

This is an issue that I have touched on before and even have a page dedicated to it here on this blog.

We need to start looking at these types of options – not only in Tysons but all over Fairfax.  When the county looks at building a parking deck at a VRE stop, letting a developer build a new town center, or considers renovations to a shopping center, serious consideration should be given to making athletic facilities part of the equation.

We are in desperate need of basketball courts, baseball/softball fields, and rectangular fields for football, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, etc.  This option gives us a chance to meet the need and not have so many issues with buying land, parking, lights, etc.

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.

Testifying at the Board of Supervisors

I testified last night at the Board of Supervisors budget hearing.  My focus was the proposed Park Authority budget cuts.  I addressed two issues.

First is the need not to cut upkeep and maintenance of high school athletic fields – especially baseball fields.  The schools have indicated to members of the Baseball Council that these cuts will require them to exclude baseball from the high school baseball fields.  Since the high schools have a majority of the 90 foot diamonds in Fairfax, this action would have a devastating impact on the baseball in Northern Virginia.  Total cost for the maintenance of these high school baseball fields is a little over $100,000 a year.

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