By Samantha Scarneo, Director of Youth Sports Safety
On Monday March 2, 2015, Samm Scarneo, director of youth sport safety, attended the 6th annual Youth Sport Safety summit in Dallas, TX. Presently, the Youth Sport Safety Alliance has 206 members. The overall arching mission of the youth sport safety alliance is to collectively recognize and make an effort to improve youth sport safety. This year’s conference featured a talk from Dr. James Andrew’s as the keynote speaker. Dr. Andrew’s talk circulated around many aspects of youth safety but in particular ulnar collateral ligament, or tommy john ligament, surgery in youth athletes. Dr. Andrew’s specified youth athletes should not be throwing until fatigue and that typically true UCL injuries in the youth population are few and far between. The significant increase in the prevalence of tommy john surgery in youth athletes has been, in his opinion, unnecessary surgeries. Additionally, Dr. Andrews stressed the importance of athletic trainers at all youth sporting events and that proper recognition and treatment of athletic injuries is a key aspect to improved safety of our youth athletes. This message was echoed by all presenters within the conference; the importance of proper medical care and the constant communication of the athletic medical team – from the athletic trainers, to team physicians, parents, administrators, nurses, nutritionists, and EMS alike. Dr. Dawn Comstock also presented recent high school injury rates from the high school RIO prospective study. This study utilizes an online program where certified athletic trainers log into the system and report on injuries including athlete exposure data. Recent research has identified that although the overall rate of injuries in competition is high, that more than half of the injuries sustained by our athletes occur in practice. Additionally, the recent research shows that of all the medical disqualification injuries for a season or a career are often due to a knee injury, with 31.3% of DQs resulting from a knee injury. An interesting finding when evaluating girls and boys lacrosse is that although the rates of concussions are similar, boys lacrosse concussion injuries primarily result from a player-to-player contact whereas girls lacrosse injuries occur primarily from a player-to-apparatus mechanism. Dr. Comstock attributed this increase in girl’s lacrosse from playing apparatus as a possible result from no type of head gear as the girls only wear eye protection and no hard-helmet protection.
Increasing youth sport safety is one of the most important factors facing today’s generation. Together we have the ability to improve the safety and wellness for our youth athletes. As the director of youth sport safety for the Korey Stringer Institute, I am proud to say that improved safety for all athletes is a goal we work towards every day. Here at KSI, we are fortunate to have a strong team of invested, passionate, and relentless individuals who everyday strive to improve safety for all athletes regardless of age, and I have to say I am thrilled to be working with each and every one of them.
For those of you who are religious in reading our posts – which is so awesome – you may remember my quote from the January meeting, and that quote will stick true again for this meeting, and I am sure for most of my future posts J
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”