The @MomsTeam Summit in Boston #PlaySmart

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Dr. Brian Hainline, Chief Medical Officer for the NCAA, discussing how to ensure the physical and mental health of youth athletes.

It truly was inspiring being part of a special day of talk and action that took place on Monday.  As I wrap up my work week (condensed into a few busy days after flying back home to Columbus, OH from Boston, MA) I now have the time to reflect a bit on the day.

MomsTeam Institute hosted a summit at Harvard Medical School, “SmartTeams Play Safe™: Protecting the Health & Safety of the Whole Child In Youth Sports By Implementing Best Practices,” and I was honored to be one of the speakers.

I’ve written about MomsTeam, a non-profit organization implementing best practices in youth sport safety, before; but I don’t believe I’ve ever shared with you what a strong band of clinicians and researchers comprise the group.  Monday, many of my fellow speakers formed a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of sports medicine, and to a person they gave some wonderfully memorable talks:  ranging from Doug Casa speaking broadly about the subject of heat injury prevention in youth sports  to Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, to Holly Silvers-Granelli who spoke about ACL prevention in female youth athletes, emphasizing neuromuscular training programs (a subject which is central to one of our CJSM podcasts), and Tracey Covassin who spoke about gender differences in concussions.

A particularly poignant moment came when Dr. Hainline had us watch the video from Designed to Move, a “Physical Activity Action Agenda.”  He spoke as well about taking a holistic approach to the youth athlete, and went into some detail how the NCAA under his leadership is spearheading research and treatment into mental health issues of athletes.  His talk reminded me of the value of  sports not just as a vehicle for exercise and physical activity, but also as a vehicle for true ‘recreation,’ for building character and the mind.

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The passion of former NFL Defensive Lineman, Joe Ehrmann.

Joe Ehrmann, a retired NFL defensive lineman, also spoke eloquently about the place of sport in building character, most especially of young men.  The timing of his words was particularly poignant as the off-field stories of NFL players like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson continue to be the talk of the American sporting world.  I wish you could have been at the summit to hear Joe speak; in lieu of that, catch up with him at the TEDx talk he gave in Baltimore in 2013.

These two speakers reminded me too that those of us who are clinicians, and especially those of us who are team physicians, are tasked to ensure the comprehensive health and safety of our charges.  We will be treating (and, hopefully, preventing) a multitude of issues that may occur on as well as off the playing fields:  STI’s, motor vehicle accidents, psychiatric issues, domestic violence, eating disorders, and more.

At CJSM, we care tremendously about publishing research of practical value to the clinician, and so we have a track record of research looking into precisely these larger issues that surround all of our athletes.  We’ve published on substance abuse in college athletes; the prevalence and risk factors for depression in such athletes; how to manage ADHD in the youth athlete.  We published just last year original research demonstrating that the #1 cause of sudden death in NCAA athletes is……motor vehicle accidents.

I’ve highlighted these issues at different times in the blog as well:  the 2013 Team Physician Consensus Statement , for instance, is a good place to look comprehensively at a variety of these issues affecting our athletes.

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Tracey Covassin of Michigan State University, speaking about gender differences in concussion

Another busy work week is looming:  fall is the season for pediatric sports medicine in North America, no doubt.  I think it must feel a bit like the spring for my tax accountant friends.  I so enjoy the clinical practice of sports medicine, and I truly enjoy this time of year, though sometimes I am running so fast just to avoid falling behind.  And so it was not only enlightening but fun to have a couple of days in Boston to reflect on the context in which we practice this exciting medical specialty.

I enjoy, as well,  the opportunity I have to work with a non-profit like MomsTeam–working on implementation of best practices–and a premier organization like CJSM–providing a platform for the best available research on sports medicine.  I’ll continue to ‘share the adventure’ as we move forward at the journal, and I look forward to you all doing the same with us here on the blog and on Twitter @cjsmonline.  As always, your comments are appreciated…..so share them when you can!

P.S.  This was a pretty ‘wired’ conference, including a fair number of ‘tweeters.’ If you’re looking for some important sports med figures to follow go to 

@NeeruJayanthi (Dr. Neeru Jayanthi)

@MicheliCenter (Dr. Lyle Micheli)

@BobbyHosea (Coach Bobby Hosea)

@JoeEhrmann76 (Former NFL player Joe Ehrmann)

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About sportingjim
I work at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio USA, where I am a specialist in pediatric sports medicine. My academic appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics is through Ohio State University. I am a public health advocate for kids' health and safety. I am also the Emerging Media Editor for the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

One Response to The @MomsTeam Summit in Boston #PlaySmart

  1. Pingback: Return to Play Decisions | Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine Blog

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