Emphasizing Safety and Encouraging Success is Theme of 8th Youth Sports Safety Summit

Emphasizing Safety and Encouraging Success is Theme of 8th Youth Sports Safety Summit

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is one of 283 members of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. SCA Foundation president, Mary M. Newman, MS, was among the presenters at National Athletic Trainers Association and Youth Sports Safetly Alliance Summit on March 7th in Indianapolis. "Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in athletes during sport," she said.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN--In their ongoing commitment to sports safety for young athletes, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) and Youth Sports Safety Alliance (YSSA) hosted today the eighth annual Youth Sports Safety Summit at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. Speakers focused on this year’s theme: "Less Risk, More Reward: Emphasizing Safety and Encouraging Success," with topics ranging from insurance risk in sport to same day return to play following concussion. Chris Herren, former NBA player with the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, discussed how he overcame substance abuse after struggling for the majority of his basketball career.

“This event continues to address vital issues with regard to youth sports safety and to provide essential guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of student athletes today,” said NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “It also provides a great opportunity for parent advocate groups among others in attendance to generate support, education and awareness. Our collective goal is to help reduce the risk of injury and provide a safe environment with best practices in place. We know parents are vital to our success.”

Key statistics include:

  • There were at least 23 sports-related deaths of young athletes in 2016; 50 in 2015, 25 in 2014, 32 in 2013, 33 in 2012, 39 in 2011 and 40 in 2010.1
  • A total of 7.87 million student athletes participated in sports during the 2015-2016 academic year, an increase of over 60,000 from the previous year.2
  • In 2013, there were an estimated 1.35 million emergency room visits for injuries related to 14 commonly played sports in children ages 6-19.3
  • More than 30 million children ages 6-14 participated at least once in one or more of 120 reported activities during 2015.4

A new document, The Inter-Association Task Force Document on Emergency Health and Safety: Best Practice Recommendations for Youth Sports Leagues, the first of its kind specific to youth sports, was released at the event and published online first today in the Journal of Athletic Training. These groundbreaking health and safety guidelines provide a roadmap for national governing bodies (NGBs) to ensure the best policies and procedures are in place to protect young athletes.

A speaker panel discussing the new guidelines was moderated by Will Carroll, formerly of Bleacher Report, ESPN and Baseball Prospectus and current contributor to All22.com. Experts sharing their insights included: NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC; Task Force Co-Chair Robert Huggins, PhD, ATC, vice president of Research, Athlete Performance and Safety, Korey Stringer Institute; John Jardine, MD, emergency room attending physician, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, North Providence, Rhode Island; Ali Flury, sports safety program manager, Safe Kids Worldwide; and Mike Clayton, manager, National Coaches Education Program, USA Wrestling.

The daylong program included presentations on a wide range of sports health topics. NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC, and Brian Hainline, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, NCAA, provided introductory remarks and welcomed all guests. Attendees included parent advocates, school administrators, educators, health care professionals and others. Presentations are summarized below.

  • Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NREMT, senior associate athletic director - sports medicine, University of Georgia Athletic Association, addressed comprehensive health plans and emergency action plans.
  • Mary M. Newman, president and co-founder, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, focused on prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.
  • James Shipp, ATC, program manager, A-G Administrators, Inc., provided insight on insurance risks in sport.
  • Shane Miller, MD, associate professor, Departments of Orthopedics and Pediatrics, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, spoke on same day return to play after pediatric athletes sustain concussions.
  • Holly Benjamin, MD, FACSM, professor of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery; director, Primary Care Sports Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, discussed preventing pediatric overuse injuries.
  • JoAnne Taylor Babbitt, co-founder, vice president and secretary, John Taylor Babbitt Foundation, provided a parent’s perspective on advocacy efforts and fundraising.
  • Michael Bergeron, PhD, FACSM, president and chief executive officer, Youth Sports of the Americas spoke on exertional heat illnesses.

The event concluded with a Call to Action that included the following:

  • Ensure that youth athletes have access to health care professionals who are qualified to make assessments and decisions.
  • Know the warning signs of cardiac stress.
  • Ensure pre-participation exams take place before play begins.
  1. National Athletic Trainers’ Association (unpublished media review).
  2. National Federation of State High School Associations. 2014-2015 High School Athletics Participation Survey. http://www.nfhs.org.
  3. Healy, M. 1.35 Million Youths a Year Have Serious Sports Injuries. (2013, August). Retrieved February 5, 2016 from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/06/injuries-athletes-k....
  4. 2016 Sports, fitness, and leisure activities topline participation report. Sports & Fitness Industry Association website. Fitness%2C-and-Leisure-Activities-Topline-Participation-Report. Accessed December 9, 2016.

SOURCE: National Athletic Trainers Association

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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