Friday, October 08, 2004

Soccer - group mandates youth protective headgear

Sports Illustrated N.Y. group "For the first time in the nation, a New York regional youth soccer association will require the mandatory use of protective headguards, affecting nearly 35,000 players 14-years-old and younger.

I'm in favor of this new twist for the sport of soccer. It was some time in the making.

Soccer is great. And, it's dangerous as hell.

The players put their heads on the ball. The grey matter in our hard outter shells gets a jolt. Too many and we get dolts.

We play sports to learn, grow, and better ourselves. When a sporting artifact takes us in the wrong direction, it isn't worthy of my time nor the participation of my kids.

I'd like to see the entire rule book text. I'm a stickler for rules and have poured over many rule books and crafted team handbooks as well as text books. Generally, the rules are written by officials, attorneys or coaches. Some are people people others are just techies in a specialization. Hence the NCAA Manual is bigger than the Pittsburgh phone book and it changes greatly each year.

Another reason to change the rules is that the rule-breakers are generally smarter than the rules. Criminals don't fear handgun laws before armed robbery. Things evolve.

So, it is time to get out your old Knute Rockney hat / helmet. I hope the shells are soft, like the older football helmets. Perhaps we'd blend the style with that of the soft bike helmets of Europe's pros.

Speaking of which, I'm missing Lance's visit to Pittsburgh. Oh well. For the record, I'm all in favor of fixing cancer too.

Pittsburgh is blessed to have a flock of experts in all matters of the brain, heads, bodies, and senses.


djhlights said...

Before they go to protective headgear it would be wise to teach the children how to PROPERLY head the ball. The biggest cause for injury while doing a header is bad form while doing the header.

That would be made easier if the coaches for this sport in particular knew more about the game than just being a parent of one of the players.

If the only way to solve the problem is head gear fine, but why is no one asking why these injuries are occurring in the US more so than other nations where knowledge of the sport is more prevalent.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Perhaps the US kids get injured more than the other kids is because we watch em closer and have better medical examinations (tools too) and a quicker uptake in terms of sticking the lawyers on others.

Just a few wild ideas?

Point being, I bet the kids here are getting injured as much as the kids the world over. But, we lead the world in "over-protectiveness" -- perhaps. Not good, not bad -- but just my hunch.

Teaching good technique is great, by the way. It needs to be done much more often in youth sports in US. Yes, indeed.

Our coaching education, certification and evaluation programs for youth coaches is horrid. The rest of the world has the US beat easily in these matters -- hands down. I would love to do much more in our region on coaches education -- and that could be done with a PARK District.

Peer review is also very helpful and not done well here.

Finally, I've not done the real research into the rule nor the league. There might be good or even great coaching going on in them there parts.