Youth sports organizations team up on concussions

Some of the nation’s largest youth sports organizations are forming an alliance to address concussions.

The National Sports Concussion Coalition will partner with concussion experts and athletic medicine professionals to establish best practices for diagnosing and treating young athletes.

Coalition members also will, among other things, share findings from their sport-specific concussion research, pool financial resources for joint studies and coordinate outreach programs to educate athletes and parents about concussions.

“As is often the case, you’re stronger collectively than individually,” said US Lacrosse chief executive Steve Stenersen. “There is understandable concern about this injury nationally. We want to make sure that concern is appropriately addressed but doesn’t dissuade kids from playing sports.”

Coalition members are the National Council of Youth Sports, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Sports Concussion Institute, US Lacrosse, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey, American College of Sports Medicine, Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball, USA Basketball, USA Football and the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention.

Coalition partners are the NCAA, NFL, NFL Players Association and National Football Foundation.

The coalition started discussions earlier this year and held a planning session in September. Organizers said its underlying purpose is to enhance participation in sports by providing a safer playing environment.

Organizers said representatives of the coalition and its partners would meet regularly.

Tony Strickland, who heads the Sports Concussion Institute, said as many as 60 million U.S. youngsters play sports. He said it’s nearly impossible to determine how many sustain concussions because many go undiagnosed.