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SAFETY re: soccer risks and field maintenance

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  • Allen Dyer
    From: Stephanie Haas To: Subject: Re: [riverhill] SAFETY Re: soccer risks and field maintenance Date: Sunday,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1 8:41 AM
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      From: Stephanie Haas <shaas@...>
      To: <riverhill@egroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [riverhill] SAFETY Re: soccer risks and field maintenance
      Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000 5:03 AM

      In the realm of amateur sports, even in everyday life, we have to accept a
      certain level of risk. In any activity involving people, not just
      competitive activities, injuries happen. While my own generation (I'm 45)
      seems to have originated the concept that we can somehow remove all risk
      from various activities, athletic or otherwise, we can't, and the result of
      attempts to remove risk is sometimes worse than the original problem.

      I have coached West Howard County girls' rec soccer for seven years, various
      levels of girls' rec and travel basketball and girls' fastpitch softball. I
      do not have medical expertise, but have taken several CPR classes in the
      distant past. Much of what I know about handling injuries has been learned
      from watching the treatment of my own injuries when I played, watching
      treatment of my daughters' or other kids' injuries in the recent past and
      reading about recommended treatment whenever I happen across an article or
      web page about sports injuries. In all cases, the organizations for whom I
      have coached have not provided special training and are usually just
      thrilled to have someone volunteer to coach.

      I have witnessed as many injuries at sporting events at all amateur levels,
      including high school, that are unrelated to the game, as I have seen happen
      as a result of competition. I suspect that I have seen more injuries occur
      with younger siblings playing on the sidelines, crashing into the stands or
      falling off of playground equipment, falling into drainage swails while
      dribbling soccer balls, or just tripping while playing, than I have seen
      game-related injuries. My older daughter has received as many serious
      sports-related injuries (two broken wrists, one stress fracture in her back)
      as I have seen among all other kids in my daughters' sports events, and none
      of her serious injuries were a result of collisions, dangerous or reckless
      play or unsafe sports-related activities (batting without a helmet, playing
      football without a helmet, etc.).

      In only one case of my daughter's injuries did we have a qualified nurse
      present. I think that she just happened to be at the Glenwood soccer complex
      that day. Today, at my other daughter's basketball game, a kid playing in
      the hall smacked his head and sustained a huge cut. My friend, a trained
      paramedic who was watching my daughter play, treated it with toilet paper,
      napkins and paper towels until the ambulance came, because he traveled to
      the game in my car and didn't have his medical bag. While hoping for
      someone capable of providing medical assistance to be in attendance is not
      ideal, we have to remember that moms (yes, moms still handle most of the
      daily home accident repair...political correctness aside) and dads deal with
      many of the same traumas every day at home and often know how to handle many
      of the problems that occur.

      We can expect a reasonable level of maintenance of sports fields and courts.
      Economically and practically, though, the cost of trying to achieve perfect
      levels of maintenance and safety measures to remove almost all risk is not
      attainable because of limited financial resources to pay for it. Most sports
      organizations, even our school systems, can barely cover their liability
      insurance related to sports. Finding sufficient qualified medical personnel
      to cover all of the sports events each weekend and maintenance personnel to
      maintain all of the sports fields at a very high level is economically and
      logistically impossible. Plus, many medical personnel won't take these
      assignments because of clauses in their malpractice insurance or because
      they want to watch their own kids play.

      Some of the "solutions" for various "unsafe" activities (wearing helmets to
      head balls in soccer to protect young players' necks) will just lead to new
      problems, like the helmets being used as weapons (as occurs in football).
      Maybe, we can stop teaching kids to head the ball or throw curve balls at
      such a young age. The solution for goalposts falling on kids is to stop kids
      from swinging on them in the first place.

      So, we have several choices...

      1) We can eliminate competitive amateur sports because we perceive them as
      too dangerous in relation to their benefits.

      2) We can pay what many people would regard as unaffordable fees for our
      kids to participate in sports, attempting to achieve that desired high level
      of safety, but I don't think we will demonstrably improve the level of

      3) We can tolerate a modest amount of risk.

      Personally, my daughters enjoy their sports too much and learn too many
      valuable life lessons (working together to achieve goals, accepting the bad
      outcomes with the good, winning and losing with class, learning that life
      isn't always fair) to take them away because of insufficiently maintained
      goalposts or lack of medical personnel on site. I find the efforts described
      in this discussion group to improve teenage driving skills a much more
      practical and cost-effective way to help my kids reach adulthood.

      (Note to discussion group moderator and everyone else: Sorry that I went on
      for so long. I usually just follow the threads and am only occasionally
      antagonized enough to respond, which is fortunate for everyone.)

      Steve Haas
      father (much to her chagrin) of Stephanie Haas...a student at River Hill
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