them. Coaching is her passion and from her high school days as a T-ball coach in Potosi to her current coaching responsibilities, Mrs. Michalkiewicz enjoys her opportunities to make “extra connections” with young people. Coach as positive role model, so important for our young people, is a very important piece of the safety issue.
In our area we are fortunate to have excellent physical trainers and physical therapists to help players who suffer ankle injuries or deep bruises, for example, to heal faster with proper treatment. Athletic trainer Tanya Tennessen, Lancaster, says it’s important for students to “understand the anatomy and physiology or injuries” and how important it is to supervise and teach young athletes to stay safe and play safe (injury prevention). From better designed helmets for football players, lace up ankle braces and wraps instead of tape for basketball players, safer bows in archery and more state of the art equipment for every sport the potential for injury is decreased.
“Concussions are certainly a major concern for all of us, and they’re hard to diagnose,” says veteran football coach Gary Corbett, Cassville. In the mid 1990s, two doctors developed a neurocognitive testing tool that is now referred to as the “cornerstone” of proper concussion management. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the most widely used computer-based testing program in the world. It can be administered by a coach, school nurse, athletic trainer, or anyone trained to administer baseline testing. The 20-minute test measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning, and has become the standard tool for observing, tracking and evaluating concussions suffered by athletes of all ages. It allows for decisions to be made that are in the best physical interest of the athlete, when/whether or not it is safe to return to play thus preventing further effects of a concussion.
To help drive the message home to young football players who don’t take kindly to being removed from a game even if injured, Madden NFL 12, a new video game due out in August, will be realistic enough to show kids that concussions need to be treated with great care. John Madden, NFL Hall of Fame coach and developer of this game, wants young players to understand that a concussion is serious business.
Madden and other professional athletes along with parents, coaches and lawmakers in many states have pushed for rule changes that do make football safer than it used to be. For example, during a tackle, a player can’t lead with his head any more and a cut block is not allowed in the backfield can lead to injuries. It is also considering implementing mandatory education for coaches on how to better diagnose a concussion. Also, to keep safety at the forefront of every practice, Mrs. Tennessen would like to see athletic trainers have more involvement day-to-day with our high school teams. The smaller districts share trainers, which is not ideal but budgets are tight.
If football has become a safer sport, many coaches worry rry that there is increased potential for serious injury ry on the basketball court. “The game has gotten too o rough,” says Uppena.” Officials don’t call enough fouls to control the game. Often parents and coaches don’t see a problem if their kids are bigger, faster and stronger.” er.” Coaches complain about t the inconsistency of the calls as either being tight t and conservative or aligning with summed up by Mrs. Tennessen, an award winning high school and college athlete, now a young mother of two, who says “It’s just a sport…you don’t want an injury to change your whole life. You want to stay healthy.”
She and many others living and working here in southwest Wisconsin are determined to keep it that way for every student who benefits from playing school sports. .