SmartTeams Play Safe™: Protecting the Health & Safety of the Whole Child In Youth Sports By Implementing Best Practices

Monday September 15, 2014

Joseph B. Martin Conference Center

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Summit 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

A day-long summit for sports parents, medical doctors, ATHLETIC TRAINERS, neuropsychologists, sports psychologists, nurses, athletic directors, sports administrators, coaches, sports equipment and testing manufacturers, students and other youth sports stakeholders.  Leading clinicians, researchers and youth sports safety advocates will give educational, "TED-talk"-style presentations on youth sports health and safety best practices.  The summit is timed to coincide with the launch of MomsTEAM Institute’s innovative SmartTeam™ program(link is external), which is implementing best practices in pilot PROGRAMS around the country in the fall of 2014.  

Each speaker will focus on a specific way youth sports PROGRAMS can help young athletes play safe by being smart.  Together, they will offer a holistic approach to youth sports safety which addresses, not just a child’s physical safety, but emotional, psychological and sexual safety as well, and how, by following best practices we can help make youth athletes safer.

Topics Will Include:

  • Concussion best practices
  • The evolving landscape of youth sports safety
  • Injury prevention strategies in youth sports
  • Reducing injury risk in youth football
  • Cognitive rest and return to learn
  • Gender influences on sport-related concussions and outcomes
  • Preventing sudden death in young athletes
  • Cost-effective youth SPORTS INJURY prevention
  • Overuse injuries, early specialization, and burnout
  • Bullying, emotional and psychological injury prevention
  • InSideOut Coaching: transforming the lives of young athletes
  • Preventing sexual abuse of youth athletes
  • Role of game officials in injury prevention
  • The power of the permit in youth sports safety         

Brought To You By The Producers Of

                    Airing on PBS nationwide Fall 2014                 

Follow Us On Twitter using the hashtag #SmartTeams2014


Concussions and Female Athletes: The Untold Story

A Tucker Center/TPT Channel 2 video documentary

Concussions and their devastating consequences affect athletes in all sports and at all levels. However, while sport-related concussion has ignited a national conversation and public debate about this serious brain injury, the majority of attention has focused on male athletes. Critical issues-and unanswered questions-surrounding the impact of concussion on female athletes have been largely ignored. Are females as or even more susceptible to concussion than males? Are female athletes less likely to report a concussion when compared to their male counterparts? Through the personal stories and experiences of coaches, athletes and their families, as well as in-depth interviews with nationally recognized scholars and medical experts, this documentary examines the causes underlying concussion and offers practical solutions to help prevent and treat sports-related concussion injuries in female athletes.

"This amazing partnership with TPT allows us to fulfill the core mission of the Tucker Center-to engage in research that truly makes a difference in the live of girls and women, their families, and communities," says Tucker Center Director and Professor Mary Jo Kane. "We are also deeply committed to educational endeavors and community outreach that provide knowledge to a vast audience. In the case of serious brain injuries such as concussion, this first-of-a-kind documentary can quite literally save lives."

In a unique arrangement, TPT has granted the Tucker Center rights to distribute the documentary as an educational tool to a broad constituency, including high school and college coaches, along with scholars, educators, policy makers and the general public. "Having the ability to widely disseminate the video will potentially make a difference and impact those who need the information the most," said Nicole M. LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center. Former U of M president emeritus Robert H. Bruininks, who appears in the documentary, states that, "Sport-related concussion is a much more serious issue than we thought just a few years ago. There is no better place than the Tucker Center and the U of M to have a serious conversation about the implications of this injury on the long-term health of girls and women who participate in exercise and sport."

Watch the video here!

Follow the University of Minnesota Tucker Center on Twitter @TuckerCenter

Concussion, Neuropsychology Research and Awareness; MA Candidate

MA Candidate, Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience; specializing in sport-related concussions & neuropsychology. Promoting concussion awareness.

Nicole Barry is currently in the second year of a MA in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience at Brock University under the supervision of Dr. Dawn Good, C. Psych. She completed a BSc (Honours, Psychology) at Mount Allison University. At Mount Allison her undergraduate thesis focused on the effects of concussion on episodic autobiographical memory and is currently being written for publication. At Brock, she is researching premorbid susceptibility to concussion, sequel that occurs post injury in concussion, including changes in personality, physiological arousal, and neuropsychological functioning. She is focusing her research on sport-related concussions as the number of concussions per year is consistently high. She believes policies need to be re-evaluated in the sport, and athletes and coaches alike need to be further informed of the consequences that can occur post-concussion as well as potential risk factors of sustaining a head injury. She is presenting to undergraduates at Brock University in the fall in the MedPlus program (aspiring medical students) on traumatic brain injuries. In her daily life, she is surrounded by athletes as she was a student therapist at Mount Allison for three years. She promoted concussion awareness to athletes and continue to learn about concussion and brain injury rehabilitation. She is also taking certified courses via the Ontario Brain Injury Association. She plans to continue to promote concussion awareness and research in the field.

*On behalf of the #C4CT Team, we admire Nicole's dedication in continuing to learn more about concussion awareness and we look forward to see where her education will take her!*

Follow Nicole on Twitter @nicolecbarry

National Institutes of Health - NIH/NINDS

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) along with the National Institute of Aging at the NIH have sponsored a great deal of research in areas that related to the #C4CT.

NIH supports research to develop interventions that prevent immediate and delayed problems from TBI, from laboratory studies in animals through large, multi-site clinical trials. NIH research has contributed to better critical care that has dramatically improved survival from severe TBI. NINDS and partners in Europe and Canada recently launched the International TBI Research Initiative. This prospective, observational study of 3,000 adults and children with TBI in the United States, coordinated with large studies by the European Union and the Canadian Institute of Health Research, will inform TBI classification and identify those therapies associated with the best outcome. NIH laid the foundation for meaningful comparison across these and other future studies by working with the research community and other federal agencies through the NINDS Common Data Elements program to harmonize the data that are collected and the way data are categorized. The DOD- and NIH-led Federal Interagency TBI Informatics System (FITBIR) provides a database for sharing information from these and other TBI studies among qualified investigators.

Progress in basic neuroscience has yielded advances in understanding the biology of the brain in health and disease, and an impressive array of tools to study the brain that will drive progress against TBI, dementia, and other brain disorders. The Human Connectome Project, for example, is applying advances in computer science, math, and diffusion tensor MRI brain imaging to develop a complete picture of the brain’s functional architecture in more than 1000 people, that is, a map of how different brain areas are connected and work together in the living brain. Pathologic studies demonstrate that damage, called “shear injury,” in the brain’s connections or “white matter” is common in moderate and severe TBI. Shear injury, which may occur diffusely throughout the brain, is relatively invisible with conventional imaging techniques. The Connectome will greatly enhance the ability to recognize and quantify the disruption in communication pathways between brain regions, and why some people’s brains compensate better than others. Complementing this project at a more fine grained level of analysis, the President’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is developing tools with the spatial and temporal resolution to yield a dynamic, real time picture of how circuits formed by millions of interconnected nerve cells and synapses work. The BRAIN Initiative may ultimately yield insights about how TBI, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders affect the 10 functioning of important brain circuits and how the brain attempts to recover or compensate for these changes.

This January, an NINDS intramural research team showed the power of applying emerging methods from basic neuroscience to TBI. These researchers developed a novel mouse model of mild TBI and used advanced microscopy and cell labeling techniques to watch in real time in living animals how particular types of cells responded to mild TBI from the start. The investigators saw the swarming of immune cells and leakage of dye out of blood vessels on the surface of the brain during the initial inflammatory response and the recruitment of brain supporting cells that reconstituted damaged protective barriers. Using MRI brain imaging, the team was also able to detect similar dye leakage from surface blood vessels in humans after concussion, underlining the likely relevance of the animal studies. Because researchers could watch the cells’ responses to pharmacological agents, they could analyze how chemical signals orchestrate damage and repair responses and test potential interventions that target these mechanisms. Methods like these promise to greatly increase our understanding of how the brain reacts to TBI and why there may be long term consequences.

To answer the key challenges discussed today, NIH supports a full spectrum of research and works closely with others, including DOD, CDC, and the international scientific community. With great anticipation we await the introduction of new MRI and PET brain imaging methods that will enable us to identify and quantify important brain changes in living TBI survivors for the first time. Longitudinal studies can then determine what occurs in the brain that leads to delayed cognitive decline, and whether Alzheimer’s disease is more likely to occur. New structural and molecular imaging techniques may also enable scientists to identify and track markers of the neurodegenerative process over time, which can provide targets against which to test new therapies. Progress is imperative because of the enormous impact of TBI and dementia on individuals and their families, on the public health, and on the economy of the United States and the world.

Learn more about NIH at and get the latest news by following them on Twitter @NINDSnews

ONE MIND For Research

One Mind is dedicated to fostering fundamental changes that will radically accelerate the development and implementation of improved diagnostics, treatments and cures for diseases and injuries of the brain while eliminating the stigma and discrimination that people experience. Key to these fundamental changes is an adherence to open science principles, whereby data is shared and available to all. Toward that end, One Mind creates global partnerships within the governmental, corporate, scientific and philanthropic communities, while supporting groundbreaking new research that adheres to open science principles.

Unlike other major disease areas, such as cancer and heart disease, the brain does not have an umbrella organization. One Mind is in a position to move into that role, due to strong leadership, an established position in the scientific community as an advocate for revolutionizing collaboration, research and funding, and a demonstrated ability to convene diverse and key participants from science, government and advocacy.

Major programs of One Mind already in progress include Apollo, an open science interactive data exchange portal for brain disease and brain injury, and Gemini, a pilot program established to demonstrate that the support of large research studies for diseases and injuries of the brain, in concert with open science principles, will greatly accelerate the discovery of better diagnostics, treatments, and someday, cures. Gemini is set to enroll more than 8,000 patients internationally with PTS/TBI in multi-year longitudinal studies. Research indicates that many brain diseases are related, so as this pilot program proves successful, and as the data is shared, One Mind will branch out to other diseases and injuries of the brain.

Brewer Sports International and Amarantus Bio are proud to work with One Mind for Research and their CEO, General Peter Chiarelli to raise money and promote their great program through the #C4CT campaign. We look forward to hearing about their most recent work at the next #C4CT Summit at the United Nations on July 31st!

Learn more about One Mind and watch a great video about what they do here