Concussion Dr is “OK” with Youth Football

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The new movie “Concussion” has created a lot of media hype and public awareness regarding chronic traumatic encephalopathy” or “CTE” for short.  However, it is important to understand that the movie depicts a specific time period and should not be in the same discussion as the NFL with regards to dangers and potential injuries.

Dr. Julian E. Bailes, MD, is the doctor the movie is based upon.  He served as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ team doctor from 1988 to 1998, and was involved with some of the first research of CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in dozens of deceased former players who suffered from repeated head trauma.

In addition, Dr. Bailes serves as the medical direct of Pop Warner football.  He offers his services for free and is unpaid.  He loves the sport and his two children have even played for Pop Warner football.  Dr. Bailes believes “football is safer than it’s ever been”.   Concurring with Dr. Bailes is Tony Strickland, an associate clinical professor of neurology at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine who sits on the Pop Warner’s Medical Advisory Committee.   Strickland is also a CEO of the Sports Concussion Institute who stated that “concerns about football and head injuries have outstripped the pace of scientific evidence, creating unwarranted hysteria about risks of playing football.”

Furthermore, all levels of footballs have introduced reforms to reduce head contact and make the game safer.  Pop Warner has partnered with USA Football and its Heads Up Football program.  The Heads Up Football® is a comprehensive program developed by USA Football to advance player safety in the game of football.  Key features in the program include Player Safety Coaching (PSC) and providing coaching certification.  Education components include concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration, sudden cardiac arrest, proper equipment fitting, Heads Up Tackling®, and Heads Up Blocking.

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