August means Back to Practice for youth athletes in our area, from kindergarten to high school, particularly for young football players. And the emerging science for people who like to run fast and crash into each other is not encouraging. This week, PBS’s Frontline series re-aired a show about high school football in Arkansas, and its reporting on head injuries — particularly that those players without known concussions had lower cognitive scores than those with — was mighty disturbing. You can watch the whole thing here.
Fairfax Supervisor John Cook from the Braddock district is a longtime sports coach with six children of his own. Marcia Pape, the Braddock representative on the Fairfax Athletic Council, has three kids who played all manner of sports. Their concern about youth head injuries led them to sponsor a meeting for coaches and parents this Tuesday night at Frost Middle School in Fairfax to learn more about “Concussions in Youth Sports.”
Jon Almquist, who oversees trainers for Fairfax County schools, spoke to the county’s athletic council earlier this year and opened their eyes to the many possibilities of, and repercussions from, youth head injuries, Pape said. “You can’t diagnose it ‘just like that,’” Pape said. “Parents need to watch out for any kind of cognitive change after any kind of incident, and it doesn’t have to be from a head-to-head collision.”
Cook said he’d been contacted by a constituent whose daughter was badly injured playing softball and became more aware of the issue. “We want to get the word out that we want to be safe,” Cook said.
The educational session is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the lecture hall at Frost Middle, 4101 Pickett Road in Fairfax.