Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pop Warner Saves Football and Our Kids

On Tuesday night I spoke briefly to a standing room only audience at Mamaroneck High School along with  the athletic director to discuss rules, regulations and policies with parents and student athletes who are planning to play Fall sports.  I talked about head injuries and concussions and the upcoming New York State regulations that mandate among other things that schools educate the community about the importance of correct management of concussions.  The talk ended with the recent fabulous New Yorker cartoon that shows a football team huddled together and the coach saying: "Now promise me you will all be very careful?"  And I posed the question to the audience "Will this new information be a game changer?"  My answer was "Yes, I think it will and I think it already has."

When I returned to my seat a jocular father tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Hey, doc, but really how ya going to change the game. I played hard my whole childhood?  Really now?"

And then yesterday we woke up to the news that Pop Warner, the "only national youth sports organization that requires scholastic aptitude to participate" and supports 425, 000 youth ages 10-16 in football, cheerleading and dance activities, has adjusted the rules regarding contact and head tackles in football.   Hooray.   This is fantastic news.  It means that the information has begun to trickle down from the NFL and that the terrible, tragic stories we have been sharing on this website and in so many other places have finally begun to have an impact on our children's health.  

For more discussion from ESPN, click here.

Meatheads beware!  Times are changing.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Greetings from Haiti

I am in Haiti this week with an organization founded by a colleague of mine with whom I shared pediatric residency training, Dr Jill Ratner who practices pediatrics in Mount Kisco, New York.

The organization, Hands Up for Haiti, is a not for profit, non-denominational group that is dedicated to treating pediatric patients in northern Haiti as well as teaching staff in the clinic facilities it serves.

I am here with another pediatrician from Westchester, Dr Katherine Hough from Hastings and  two nurses  who also work in Westchester, and we are sharing a house with a group of eight football players from the midwest who  are  here with an evangelical Christian group from Florida. They are here to build additions onto an orphanage they started in this village, sweetly called Limonade, three years ago.

"Non-denominational" one discovers in the developing world always has to be re-defined when it comes to funding and possibly to getting things done. This orphanage is part of a complex which includes our clinic called "Porte Ouverte" or Open Door, a school for 500 students, the orphanage for 26 children, and of course a well-attended evangelical church. 

This is a complex country, we live in complicated times, and I am here to learn how one person can make a dent that might last.