WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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of collision, and the end result is trying to hit somebody else." Did he have reservations when his sons started to play? "Absolutely. I think I have the same reservations that every parent has." In 2012, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the HEADS UP initiative, a training program for coaches providing information about preventing, recogniz- ing, and responding to a concussion. When asked about the program, WYF Coach Rob Broggi says, "Even though HEADS UP is relatively basic, it does address essential points of safety and the right protocols to follow if a player is injured." Boston University Neurosurgeon and Co- Director of the BU CTE Center Dr. Robert Cantu advocates for delaying tackling until age 14 due to concerns that youth neck mus- culature is weak and not able to withstand impact, and the brain is in a period of develop- ment. He acknowledges that the age cutoff is somewhat arbitrary. Others argue that teach- ing proper tackling technique at a younger age prepares them for tackling at older ages and, therefore, ultimately helps reduce risk. In October 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released recommenda- tions to improve the safety of all players while on the field. These included the following: n COACHES must enforce proper rules of tackling and zero tolerance for head-first hits. n PLAYERS must decide whether the benefits of playing outweigh the risks of injury. n NON-TACKLING leagues should be expanded so athletes can choose to play non-contact football. n SKILLED athletic trainers should be available on the sidelines. The guidelines still leave a lot up to the par- ents and players. Dr. Rockett notes, "In some ways I wish someone else would impose rules and restrictions on the players so we as par- ents wouldn't need to make these decisions." Dr. O'Brien feels the recommendations were "right on. I think the benefits of football far family matters "the benefits of football far outweigh the risks" 160 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 6

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