Report puts health of young athletes in spotlight

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 8/23/17

Maybe that last-place ranking that Colorado recently received in the report released by the Korey Stringer Institute on managing injury risk has turned into a positive for the Colorado High School …

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Report puts health of young athletes in spotlight

Posted

Maybe that last-place ranking that Colorado recently received in the report released by the Korey Stringer Institute on managing injury risk has turned into a positive for the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Colorado was last among 51 state associations in the high school sports Safety Policy Rankings. Rankings are based on guidelines for sudden cardiac arrest, exertional heat stroke, traumatic head injury, appropriate health care coverage and emergency preparedness.

North Carolina was ranked first, followed by Kentucky.

CHSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations objected to the Aug. 8 report.

CHSAA responded loudly and has made people aware of what the organization is doing.

"It gave us pause to look at what we were doing, double check our best practices with others and provide reassurance that we had many good things in place," assistant CHSAA Commissioner Bert Borgmann said. "We know that we will be adding additional measures, and we would have without the survey. We are focused on and will continue to be focused on the health and safety of Colorado's student participants."

CHSAA claims the Stringer ranking was not an accurate reflection of safety measures employed and the organization said it did not participate in the questionnaire involved with the rankings.

The Korey Stringer Institute is a safety research and advocacy organization based at the University of Connecticut. Stringer, a pro football player, died of complications from heat stroke at the age of 27 in 2001.

NFHS felt the grading of state associations was an incomplete measurement of the states' ability to help member schools with heat, heart and head issues.

New CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green felt the institute's questions were flawed and didn't allow CHSAA to elaborate on alternatives and overshadowed safety measures CHSAA has implemented. To learn more about those measures, go to www2.chsaa.org/sports/medicine/

The KSI report can be found at ksi.uconn.edu/high-school-state-policies

Friday Night lights

For decades, Friday nights have been when the spotlight shines on high school football games. Saturday was the day that college football teams were in the limelight. However, that has been changing in recent years, with more and more college games showing up on TV on Friday nights.

The National Federation of State High School Associations adopted a resolution that urges schools and teams at the college and pro levels to honor the longstanding tradition that Friday nights in the fall should be reserved for high school football.

That just won't happen because money talks and college football can gain revenue from television contracts by playing games on Friday.

Colorado and Colorado State play on Friday, Sept 1. The Big 10 is exploring playing Friday games and joining the many other schools already seeking paydays by playing a day earlier than usual.

There are 38 games this season that will be played and televised nationally on Friday nights between Sept. 1 and Nov. 17.

Big shoes to fill

Matt Bocklet, team captain for the Major League Lacrosse Denver Outlaws and a four-time all-star selection, has accepted a new challenge as he replaces Brian Perry as the Cherry Creek boys lacrosse coach.

Perry retired after the 2017 season. He led the Bruins into 10 state championship games, won five of those title encounters and logged 258 career victories.

Bocklet, 31, has been head coach at Highlands Ranch, where he compiled a 43-36 record in six seasons. He said he is looking forward to the journey ahead as he takes the reins of the Bruins, who graduated 13 players off last season's state championship team.

He plans to continue playing professional lacrosse.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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