Archie's Message About Sports Safety
As another football season is upon us, there are new, increasingly pressing
questions about the safety of the sport and its impact on those who enjoy
playing it. These are serious queries, which we must ensure we answer
correctly, as parents and grandparents. I love the sport of football,
for all the wonderful life lessons it has taught me and what it has given
both myself and my family.
There are new strategies to enjoy the benefits that football offers. I’m
excited about the emerging initiatives we’re seeing develop at every
level of the game, especially for youth football. Some of the greatest
minds are figuring out how we do a smarter job of improving the game and
the knowledge of those coaches supervising it.
USA Football is working to advance the safety of the game through programs
like Heads Up Football and a new pilot approach called Rookie Tackle,
which is a step in between flag football and 11-player tackle. Quality,
protective equipment is crucial, as is having qualified personnel such
as athletic trainers on hand.
That’s why I’m proud to be associated with Thibodaux Regional
Medical Center, which provides athletic trainers to Nicholls State University,
as well as to area high schools. These expertly trained professionals
make the athletic field of competition safer, from immediately responding
to emergencies such as concussions, to advising athletes and coaches on
proper hydration in our South Louisiana heat.
The science of sports medicine is constantly changing for the better,
and that’s why Thibodaux Regional continuously trains its staff
through monthly learning opportunities to keep them updated on the best
practices and the most cutting-edge techniques. After years of playing
at the professional level myself, and now watching my children do the
same, I value well trained medical personnel who can accurately diagnose
a problem and keep it from escalating. Preparing athletic trainers to
be ready to respond to any situation quickly and accurately is an integral
part of Thibodaux Regional’s commitment to safety. The Bayou Region
is lucky to have Thibodaux Regional’s athletic trainers working
out in our community with our youth.
Perhaps you are wondering what you as parents and grandparents can do
to personally prepare and protect your young loved ones who relish competing
on the gridiron? My advice is to arm yourself with knowledge and concrete
data in case a head injury presents itself. The Sports Medicine Center
of Thibodaux Regional offers baseline concussion testing for our area
athletes, just as professional teams do at the NFL level.
Thibodaux Regional uses the NeuroCom Balance Assessment System, which
helps young athletes return to the field of competition as quickly as
possible, as safely as possible. A baseline test empowers you and your
doctors by providing reference data on the athlete’s balance capabilities
before a head injury occurs. This “before” data is knowledge
that’s vital to determining when someone’s brain is healed
enough to safely return to the field of play after a head injury occurs.
By getting a baseline balance assessment, you’re taking the guess
work out of determining when it’s safe for them to return to normal
activity post injury. Research shows sustaining a second head injury before
an initial injury fully heals can wreak long term damage on a brain. If
you’d like more information, just contact the Sports Medicine Center
of Thibodaux Regional and certified, licensed athletic trainer Amelia
Castell at 985-493-4502. The test is inexpensive and easy, yet invaluable
My friend Larry D’Antoni does an awesome job as coordinator of Thibodaux
Regional’s Sports Medicine Center. I have known Larry for many years,
as an athletic trainer with the New Orleans Saints and from his work at
Thibodaux Regional and with the Manning Passing Academy.
"I am proud to be part of a program that does so much for the youth
of our community,” D’Antoni told me. “CEO Greg Stock
and Thibodaux Regional have made a commitment to improving the health
of the people in this region, and that includes those involved in athletics.
We were the first to identify the needs of the athletes and coaches, and
began providing outreach athletic training services for many of the schools
through the Sports Medicine Center."
Thibodaux Regional’s commitment to wellness doesn’t stop with
just the football field though; they take that commitment to the next
level by engaging the entire community. One of Thibodaux Regional’s
biggest initiatives right now is to educate people from all walks of life
and of all ages about the benefits of good health. One way that they have
fulfilled that commitment to community health is by hosting several youth
camps this summer, and are excited to be the home of multiple high school
volleyball events in the next month. The more successful the Wellness
Center is at getting people up and moving, the healthier everyone will
be, which is a key part of the Center’s mission.