Making our kids safer one hit at a time…
All Parents love watching their kids grow up and try new things. It may be taking piano lessons, trying out for the chess team, hockey, basketball, football, ballet, you name it, you want them to find their place in the world and build confidence. We want them to learn about team building skills or for that matter just get out there and try something new.
I am no different than any other parent, I have watched my kids try different things and some of the activities were not what they wanted them to be, only to try again. The key for me was to watch them try again. I am a mother of three and my oldest has always gravitated towards football. He started when he was around 5 or 6-at some point, I thought he would stop playing-he was not the fastest or the biggest and did not get the play time that you would hope for, but for the one or two plays he did get-we treated them as the highlight reel on ESPN.
The time has flown by and now he is 17. He is a Junior in high school and continues to play the sport he loves. He has a family outside of our own of nearly 60+ brothers and coaches. They are more than his teammates. They attend charity events, study halls and probably spend more time with oneanother than their own families.
While he is not the star player, he is an avid member of the team. He understands what that means and wants to be a part of it. So if you ask, what is the point of this fundraiser and the point of this story?
Two weeks ago, I got a call while I was at work. I was on a conference call and listened to the vm only 5 minutes after it was left. “Your son was taken by ambulance and you need to call us and meet us there” Time stood still. We get to the emergency room to see the coaches and our son with what looked like a broken wrist and some bruising from the impact of his helmet. He was taken into surgery to reattach his wrist and put it back into position. His head looked like it was swollen above his eyes, but there was nothing more than bruising. Sitting there and reviewing the paperwork it asks all the right questions- Family History, past injuries, past surgeries… I had stopped when I glanced back over the past injuries. This was taken on his way in-concussions on the field. I recall one but not two. This time, it was just a broken wrist through a growth plate. He would be fine. But all I kept thinking about is, what about next time, what about the other kids that time stood still when they were laying on the field.? How do you do something to make things a little bit safer? These boys are no longer “boys”. They are men, mine went from 50 lbs when he started to nearly 6′ 3″ and 230 lbs. His heart is in the game and in the team.
So after taking that deep breath and realizing his Junior year is now a thing of the past on the field , how can I make a difference? How can WE make a difference? To think of all the hits these young men take every day on the field in my mind was the start. So if you can have some way to make them stop for that extra minute to ensure that they last hit was not the final hit-how can we do this?
Technology finally has caught up with all the attention from the NFL players and the parents, staff and all the advocates to make this sport safer. While they focus on good judgment, how do you catch it every time or even 1/2 of the time.
After researching and learning about systems from Schockbox, a simple $150 system per helmet will help make that a reality. This system will sense when that hit was a little harder than it should be and notify the coaching staff to clear it before a player can proceed. It can shorten that gap of being conservative and use technology to help be a part of the assessment of a player.
So you ask, why would the school not cover such a system? The technology is newer and if any of you live in the funding of what can and cannot be done now a days-you will understand the need for fundraising. I personally think that this is something EVERY child, teenager, adult should have in ANY impact sport. So here if you read this, start your own movement. This system is $150 per unit. Multiply it out by the team and the additional piece of software, our team will be at $15, 124.00 EVERY LAST penny will go directly to this cause.
So while the season has already begun, maybe, just maybe this will work and can be used this year. But if it is for the following year and can be passed down from generation to generation, my wish is that other schools, other people who read this, start pushing to make these sports just a little bit safer. The day that the call comes or you watch your child hit the ground, ice or whatever it may be should come with some knowledge that he or she can continue with some device affirming it. Our Coaching staff is wonderful, but If there is a way to give them a tool to use to make scientific judment calls in addition to the common sense ones, I think it would just be a safer place.