30 Second Message to Help Prevent Sports-Related Brain Injury

Tell young athletes to keep an eye on their teammates. If a player seems impaired from a head to the head, they need to speak up to get that teammate safely off the field.

See all videos with Christopher Nowinski.

There's a lot that needs to be done to keep sports safe, or make sports safe. One thing, if you had 30 seconds and you're a coach or a parent. The conversation you have— the biggest problem you're going to have is reporting concussions and identifying them. The best people we have out there to see them are the other kids playing sports and teammates. So, in my lectures, I always point out a speech given by the Harvard team doctor from 1905, that told the team that if anyone out there gets hit in the head, and they don't realize what's going on, call time-out, and get me on the field to assess them, and I ask every audience I ever speak in front of, "Did anyone hear this message when they were an athlete?" and no one's ever heard it, and now there are a handful of people, and I say, "Are you giving this?," and I've had, literally, less than 1% give it, but all those people have read my book where I've talked about it. So, if you have 30 seconds, tell your child, when you're out there, and your teammate's messed up, don't cover for them. Get them off, because it could really hurt them, and, also, they're going to play worse while they're out there. So if you want to win, get them off, too. The dual message is very useful. So, if you have one 30 seconds to talk to your kid, say, "When your teammates are impaired, get them off the field."
Posted on BrainLine September 27, 2012.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.