Sunday, March 31, 2013

Youth Coaches and Their Reactions to HB 143 in Ohio

So far, the responses that I have received regarding the implementation of HB 143 (Ohio's Zachary Lystedt law for youth concussions) have been greatly mixed. The responses have ranged from mildly excited, completely apathetic, and more than a few people were reluctantly accepting of it. It has been greatly humbling, and at times, depressing to see these mixed reactions. While this is a topic that I care so deeply about, most people I have met with are simply trying to shrug it off and move on.

The situations that I worry about most are the parents that will fight and argue to their dying breath that their kid is not concussed despite obvious signs and symptoms that the child displays. I have heard far too many times from parents that "They care most about player safety." and "Safety always comes first." That is, until the score appears to dictate different priorities and that same parent denies that an injury could ever happen to their child or their teammates.

Please forgive me if I hold judgement on how effective this law is until I see how parents will react when it is their child that I am holding out of a game because they have some symptoms that generate concern. I have a feeling that more often than not, this will lead to much more confrontation between the parents, coaches, and myself from those individuals that still fail to understand the potential severity of concussions and second impact syndrome.

Certainly, our educational efforts need to continue if we are to have any hope of alleviating these confrontations as much as possible. However, my experiences tell me that this new law will not change the attitudes of far too many people who will still allow themselves to be too caught up in the score of the game when it matters the most.

I guess all I can do is hope that I am wrong about these assumptions. I will also hold out hope that this new law starts to open some eyes to the potential disasters that concussions can make of promising young lives.