CDC’s ‘Heads Up to Parents’ Includes Keeping Half Your Head in the Sand

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The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) has partnered with the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on a “Heads Up to Parents” campaign – described as “a new educational initiative designed specifically to provide parents with the facts about how to protect, prevent and respond to youth and high school athlete concussions.”

See NOCSAE’s news release at http://www.nocsae.org/MediaKit/2011/NOCSAE%20Heads%20Up%20to%20Parents%20Release%20FINAL%2007%2020%2011.pdf.

Nice. The problem is that with the concussion crisis in football, parents need more than niceness from officials charged with protecting public health.

Someone at CDC seems to have done focus-group work leading to the conclusion that its mission is accomplished if it alerts the public to protecting kids from second concussions. But even assuming the new “awareness” significantly reduces second concussions, this all says nothing about first concussions — or about growing evidence that the problem may not be concussions per se, but rather the repetitive subconcussive blows that are the very air football breathes.

The literature quotes CDC’s Dr. Richard C. Hunt saying, “Parents, when in doubt, keep the athlete out of play. It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.” Left unsaid is, “It’s better to miss one season” or even, “It’s better to pass on this particular activity altogether.”

When CDC starts adding value to the debate over banning contact football below a certain age, that’s when it’s time to start listening to the feds. The rest is blather.

 

Irv Muchnick

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