We are stuck in a vicious cycle: Lack of preparedness (“It won’t happen to us” “We’ve got it covered”) → On-field injury → Poor decision Making (before, during, after injury) → Horrible outcome (death) → Lawsuit (blame, blame, blame; takes years with huge emotional and financial cost) → State Law named after Child (½ of laws do not apply to youth sports non-school organizations and other half provide no implementation system for youth sports organization – emergency contact/medical information, injury documentation, decision communication, vigilant supervision ) → Repeat (We do not seem to learn from these situations – reactive, not proactive).
With all the focus on the NFL, college, and high school, we have left out our most unprotected group – our youth, ages 5 or so (when they start sports) until 13 – 14 (before high school).
The reality of sports in this age group is that there are no ATCs, no trained medical personnel on the sidelines of every game and practice. These leagues and clubs either have not made this a priority, do not have the financial resources, or both. They have none of the safety systems in place that are available (required) for the high schools.
The critical issue is lack of preparedness and lack of education of all stakeholders: parents, coaches, administrators. The key is to get everyone on the same page. Parents have a responsibility to their child to know what is going on. Coaches have a responsibility to be educated so good decisions can be made. Administrators have the responsibility of oversight. This means proper planning, proper dissemination of this planning, and proper supervision.
When will the blame game end and the education and preparedness game begin?