On the rise

Exciting news from different areas of the country lately to share, the largest being that the Pittsburgh Passion, host of this year's WFA National Championship, will be playing at Heinz Field. The story mentions that the effort is partly because of the recent focus on Title IX's 40th birthday; a recent stat I saw said that in 1972, only one of 25 girls played sports and now it's one in three.

It's a good indicator of progress, though for me I'd rather see things like this, an article promoting football tryouts for both boys and girls in Kansas.

It's the first such article I've ever seen to openly promote the game to both genders, yet with so much focus lately on concussions, it seems that now more than ever the gates of access might be open to continue growing the sport.

The CDC has partnered with USA Football on an initiative to help combat this problem, one I think starts at a very young age - with kids often playing on teams coached by parents, not being properly fitted for equipment or taught about what's important in their equipment, and by the lack of certified athletic trainers to help them if they are hurt (especially to recognize the symptoms).

Like many problems, the sport will benefit from additional knowledge about concussions and hopefully there will be fewer traumatic brain injuries because of studies published like these in the NYT and Washington Post.

I was happy to hear our referees during the spring game that this year's GHSA rules change will include a mandatory play out of the game for any athlete whose helmet comes off during play and an immediate, mandatory stoppage of play if a running back's helmet comes off at any time.

The reality is that kids all across the country are still fighting to stay in games, practices or keep their starting positions and will do what it takes. One of my 2014's was dealing with trying to come back after a moderate concussion last week - and no matter what we tell them, our actions are most important.

We have to keep them as safe as we can because their future lives are much more important than one win on one day. 


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