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Brooke de Lench

Rethinking Youth Sports

From all that one might think from reading the newspaper, listening to the news or watching the television talk shows lately, the only problem with youth sports today is the out-of-control parent, and that all we have to do is to stick a code of conduct or laundry list of rules under the nose of every parent and ask them to sign on the dotted line, and everything will be fine.

Fighting For Change in a Local Soccer Club: A Letter to the Club's President About the Effect of Cutting

Several years ago, my triplet sons tried out for the travel soccer club in our town. Two of my sons were wait-listed for no apparent reason, along with over sixty other boys who had previously been in the program.

Equal Playing Time: Should It Be the Rule, Not the Exception?

Giving the "best" players more playing time than the so-called "weaker" players may help a team win more games, but at what cost? Some boys never miss practice, yet only played the minimum. Others hardly ever, or never, come to practice, yet are "rewarded" for their lack of commitment with extra playing time because the coach wants to win. I believe that an equal playing or significant playing time should be the rule rather than the exception, at least up until high school varsity or until players are playing at the highest levels of their sport.

Selecting All-Star Teams: A Better, Fairer Way

Ever see a picture in your local paper of a summer "all-star" baseball team of 10 and 11 year olds and find it odd that nearly every kid in the picture is either the son or daughter of one of the coaches or of one of the coaches of a team during the regular season or the best friend of the coaches kid?

No-Cut Rule For School Teams Below Varsity Makes Sense

Perhaps no other topic sparks as much heated debate among parents as the practice of cutting potential players from middle or high school teams. While there are two sides to the argument, I believe the practice is outmoded and needs to be reexamined in light of twenty-first century realities.

Concussion Right #1: Pre-Season Safety Meeting

The best way to ensure that athletes who suffer concussions playing sports have the best possible outcome in both the short and long term is to educate them and their parents about the importance of self-reporting and the parent's role in the critical return to play decision.

Team Approach to Concussions

In late April 2008, I attended the National Sports Concussion Summit in Marina Del Rey, California. It was indeed an honor to have been asked to participate in this conference and to be the keynote speaker to an audience filled with a veritable who's who in the world of concussions in sports.

Playing from the Same Playbook on Concussions

It is my belief that parents have a right to expect, when they entrust their children to a sports program - whether it be Pee Wee hockey, youth lacrosse, Olympic development soccer, or high school football - that it will take reasonable precautions to protect them against harm. In other words, parents have a right to expect that the entire team to whom they entrust their children's safety - including the national governing body for the child's sport, the state association, the athletic or club director, the athletic trainer (if there is one), and especially the coaches - are part of the concussion solution, not part of the problem.

Death of Ex-NFL Star Highlights Need for Vigilence on Concussions

The finding by a neuropathologist that brain damage from repeated concussions suffered by former NFL star Andre Waters likely led to his depression and ultimate death by suicide in November 2006 highlights once again the critical need for parents and youth athletes to become educated and proactive about concussions.

Concussion Bill of Rights #12: National Sports Bodies and Pro Leagues Take Concussions Seriously

Because children follow and take their cue from the examples set by their heroes in the pros and high amateur ranks, the national sports governing bodies and professional leagues need to set the right example for the parents and children of this country by showing that they take concussions seriously. Until they do, parents are going to be fighting an uphill battle in convincing their young warriors to treat concussions the same way. The twelfth and final right of parents under the Parent's Concussion Bill of Rights is the right to expect that concussion safety programs be implemented or expanded at the highest levels of sport.

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