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MHSAA announces concussion report findings


2016-17 school year

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has completed its second year of collecting head injury reports from member schools and continues to build data that will assist in identifying trends and progress being made to reduce the incidence of head injuries in school sports.

Following a first mandate to do so in 2015-16, member schools again were required to report head injuries to the MHSAA identifying the sport that each student-athlete was participating in and whether the injury was sustained during practice or competition. As reporting for the 2017-18 school year is now underway, schools again are required to designate if potential concussions occur during competition or practice and at which level—varsity, junior varsity or freshman.

The full report of all head injuries experienced during 2016-17 by student-athletes at MHSAA member high schools—including percentages by sport (per 1,000 participants), gender and team level, as well as data tracking when athletes returned to play—is available on the Health & Safety page of the MHSAA Website at https://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/Documents/health%20safety/concussionreport1617.pdf.

As with the first year of reporting, the MHSAA received data from more than 99 percent of its member high schools after the fall, winter and spring seasons and continued to track each injury report through its conclusion this summer. Member junior high and middle schools also were allowed, although not mandated, to report their potential head injuries; and those findings are not part of the published report.

The 2016-17 concussion report found an 11-percent decrease in the number of confirmed concussions from the previous year. Student-athletes at MHSAA member high schools encountered during 2016-17 a total of 3,958 head injuries—or 5.2 per member school, similar but lower than the 2015-16 average of 5.9. Total participation in MHSAA sports for 2016-17 was 283,625, with students counted once for each sport he or she played and only 1.4 percent of participants experienced a head injury; that percentage in 2015-16 was 1.6.

Although the total number of confirmed concussions was significantly lower in 2016-17, a number of findings detailing those injuries fell in line with results of the 2015-16 survey.

Boys experienced 2,607—or 66 percent—of those injuries, nearly the same ratio as 2015-16 and as boys participation in sports, especially contact sports, remained higher than girls. More than half of head injuries—55 percent—were experienced by varsity athletes, which also fell within a percent difference of last year’s findings.

A total of 2,973 head injuries—or 65 percent—came in competition as opposed to practice. More than half took place during either the middle of practice or middle of competition as opposed to the start or end, and 52 percent of injuries were a result of person-to-person contact. The largest percentage of athletes—27 percent—returned to activity after 6 to 10 days, while 23 percent of those who suffered head injuries returned after 11-15 days of rest. All of these findings were within 1-4 percent of those discovered from the 2015-16 data.

Contact sports again revealed the most head injuries. Ranking first was football, 11 and 8-player combined, with 44 head injuries per 1,000 participants—a decrease of five head injuries per 1,000 participants from 2015-16. Ice hockey repeated with the second-most injuries per 1,000, with 36 (down two injuries per 1,000 from 2015-16), and girls soccer was again third with 28 head injuries per 1,000 participants (also down two from the previous year).

In fact, after football and hockey, the next four sports to show the highest incidences of head injuries were girls sports—girls soccer followed by girls basketball (23 per 1,000), girls competitive cheer (22) and girls lacrosse (20). Although girls basketball moved up from fifth to fourth for highest ratio, it did see a decline of six injuries per 1,000 participants from 2015-16.

Startling indications of another potential trend were seen again in the number of reported head injuries suffered by girls and boys playing the same sports. Soccer, basketball and baseball/softball are played under identical or nearly identical rules. Just as in 2015-16, females in those sports reported significantly more concussions than males playing the same or similar sport.

Female soccer players reported double the concussions per 1,000 participants as male soccer players, while female basketball players reported nearly triple the number of concussions per 1,000 participants (23 to 8). Softball players reported 11 concussions per 1,000 participants, and baseball players reported four per 1,000. The numbers from all three comparisons remained consistent from what the survey found in 2015-16.

It is the hope that Michigan’s universities, health care systems and the National Federation of State High School Associations will take part in analyzing the data and questions that have arisen during the past two years. Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports submitted a paper titled “Gender Differences in Youth Sports Concussion” based on the 2015-16 results, and that subject will remain closely monitored in 2017-18 and beyond.

“The Institute’s research concluded that there is merit for believing females may be more susceptible than males to having concussions because of structural differences to the neck and head, and also due to neurological differences in the brains of females and males. But the findings also show merit for believing females may be more honest in reporting concussions,” said MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts.

“We need to find out why. Are girls just more willing to report the injury? Are boys hiding it? These are some of our most important questions moving forward, and they will be critical in our efforts to educate athletes, their parents and coaches on the importance of reporting and receiving care for these injuries immediately.”

Roberts said that while it’s significant to note the similarity in statistics over the first two years of injury report collection, the lower percentages in 2016-17 don’t necessarily represent a trend; that conclusion can only be made after more data is collected in years to come. Some differences in data from the first year to the second could be the result of schools’ increased familiarity with the reporting system, the refinement of the follow-up reporting procedure and other survey error that is expected to decrease with future surveys.

“Our first survey in 2015-16 raised some initial themes, and the data we collected this past year and will continue to collect will help us identify the trends that will guide our next steps in reducing head injuries in interscholastic athletics,” Roberts said. “However, the necessity for more data to determine these trends should not delay our efforts to experiment with more head protection and modified play and practice rules in contact sports like ice hockey, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse, which all ranked among the top 10 sports for numbers of head injuries per thousand participants.

“We will continue to look for ways to make our good games better and our healthy games safer, and the collection of this data will continue to prove key as we work toward those goals.”

Schools report possible concussions online via the MHSAA Website. Reports are then examined by members of the MHSAA staff, who follow up with school administrators as those student-athletes continue to receive care and eventually return to play. Student privacy is protected.

The reporting of possible concussions is part of a three-pronged advance by the MHSAA in concussion care begun during the 2015-16 school year. The MHSAA completed this past spring (2017) the largest-ever state high school association sideline concussion testing pilot program, with a sample of schools from across the state over the last two years using one of two screening tests designed to detect concussions. The second year of the pilot program (2016-17) allowed participating schools to use the sideline detection tests in all sports but mandated they be used in sports (11 total over three seasons) showing the highest prevalence of concussions.

The MHSAA also was the first state association to provide all participants at every member high school and junior high/middle school with insurance intended to pay accident medical expense benefits—covering deductibles and co-pays left unpaid by other policies—resulting from head injuries sustained during school practices or competitions and at no cost to either schools or families. During 2016-17, a total of 139 claims were made—20 fewer than in 2015-16—with  football (44) and girls basketball (27) the sports most cited in those claims for the second straight year.

Previously, the MHSAA also was among the first state associations to adopt a return-to-play protocol that keeps an athlete out of activity until at least the next day after a suspected concussion, and allows that athlete to return to play only after he or she has been cleared unconditionally for activity by a doctor (M.D. or D.O.), physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.

In addition, the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program, which includes courses that must be completed by all varsity head coaches hired for the first time at a member school, has augmented for this fall its already substantial instruction on concussion care. Separately, rules meetings that are required viewing for all varsity and subvarsity head and assistant coaches at the start of each season include detailed training on caring for athletes with possible head injuries.

 

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Middle school cross country finishes record setting season 


The CSMS girls and boys track teams had a great season.

The CSMS girls and boys track teams had a great season.

Middle school girls with first place plaque.

Middle school girls with first place plaque.

The Cedar Srings Middle School cross country team started off the season with a record amount of athletes.  No team has been larger than the team that competed this year. The cross team also was put into a new league that aligns more with the teams that the High School teams compete against. However, that didn’t stop these athletes from rising above and competing hard. Week after week, each one of the runners worked hard and the results were evident.

At the conference meet held on Oct 18, the boys team finished 3rd overall out of 8 teams. These were all teams they battled back and forth with all season. Corey Bowers was conference champion leading the way for the Red Hawks. Austin Mann, Alex Nylaan, Spencer Bray, and Caleb Menefee all set season personal bests to round out the top five scoring. Carter Moleski, Sam Kleyenberg, Justin Voskuil, Andy Luke, Nate VanKampen, Andy Luke, Andrew Koning, Gabe White, Drew Mattson, Cayden Steinebach, Ian Little and Justin Kennedy Johnson also ran exceptional races to help their team out.

The girls team was conference champions for the second year in a row, setting another record. Again with a tougher conference, the girls prevailed and almost all ran their personal bests. Kaelyn Colclasure, Lauren Lett, Abby Buttermore, Paige Marsman, and Sierra Johnson placed in the top 20. This was the first time Cedar Springs has had five runners in the top 20 at a conference meet. Alexis Wood, Olivia Sherman, Chloe Grifhorst, Ella See and Grace Sova finished right on their heels setting new personal best times. The following girls also set new personal best times helping their team to victory:  Emma Waller, Kirsten Parker, Aubrie French, Lily Howland, Kristen Perry, Cloe Shoffner, Muriel Cook, Emily Caldwell, Julia Pecker, Isabel Vandusen, Abbey Shotko, Brilynn Smith, and Emily Neiderheide.

Congratulations to a great season to all our runners!!

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All Conference Athletes Fall 2014


 

Girls Cross Country

Mackenzie Weiler All Conference

Shanyne Mann All Conference

Ellie Ovokaitys All Conference

Hannah Heintzelman All Conference

Tara Tepin Honorable Mention

Myla Umphrey Honorable Mention

Boys Cross Country

Austin Sargent All Conference

Justin Jones All Conference

Brandon Harthorn Honorable Mention

Girls Golf

Breanna White All Conference

Conner White Honorable Mention

Boys Tennis

Blake Fisk All Conference

Football

Zachary Wamser All Conference

Kaden Myers All Conference

Caden Burrows All Conference

MavRick Cotton All Conference

Collin Alvesteffer All Conference

Nathan Sorensen All Conference

Ted Edwards Honorable Mention

Taylor VanDyke Honorable Mention

Patrick DePiazza Honorable Mention

Boys Soccer

Julian Quiroga All Conference

Bryan Taylor All Conference

Volleyball

Sydney Plummer Honorable Mention

 

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Olympic athlete visits Cedar Teams


Middle school and high school track teams

Middle school and high school track teams

Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein

Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein

Track and field athletes in Cedar Springs got a real treat last week. Middle school as well as high school athletes gathered to listen to advice from a world-class athlete—three-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein. The runner visited Cedar Springs to speak to the teams and join them on a run around the campus.

Ritzenhein, who graduated from Rockford High School in 1991 and set several state and national records, explained to the students the importance of working hard. “When I was starting with running, I was not that good. I was a middle-of-the-pack runner,” he said.

Times change. His career has taken him through college and into professional distance racing where he has represented the United States in three Olympic Games. Ritzenhein said he enjoys seeing the passion the younger runners have for the sport.

Middle school track runner Sarah Martin said, “I thought it was interesting what he shared about working hard and seeing the payoff.”

Cedar Springs athletes running on campus

Cedar Springs athletes running on campus

While Ritzenhein said he had benefited from hard athletic work in school, he advised the runners to try to enjoy their time as students. “Just enjoying the time in school is important,” he said. “You have to build those close friendships and don’t lose sight of the lessons you learn here.”

The Grand Rapids Press reported that Ritzenhein would soon be moving his family back to West Michigan, from Oregon, and will serve as assistant coach to runners at Grand Valley State University.

 

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Fun, healthy lunchbox ideas


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) The daily routine of packing foods for lunchtime may seem boring, but the food inside those lunchboxes doesn’t have to be. Consider your students’ personality when planning school lunches.

Whether the cafeteria-bound container features Hello Kitty or Justin Bieber, the foods inside should be customized to fit age, activity level and personal style. So how do you get beyond the usual carrots and celery sticks? Noted nutrition expert, award winning food journalist and television personality, Carolyn O’Neil, MS RD LD, advises parents to think about the personality of each child when assembling lunch.

BACK-Lunchbox-ideas2-myplateFix finger foods for young eaters

Overwhelmed little students may do best with tiny bites of finger foods. So, if you have a shy first grader, send them with string cheese sticks, whole grain crackers, baby carrots and cut-up fruit.

Cucumber wheels, red or orange bell pepper strips, and sugar snap peas are also colorful and nutritious finger foods. Add low-fat ranch dressing or individual packs of fiber- and protein-rich hummus for dipping. The oil in these dips actually helps kids absorb more of the veggie’s fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A.

Up the nutrition for those not focused on lunch

What about the teens and tweens focused on anything but the lunch at lunchtime? Older kids focused on friends might prefer a sandwich and a bunch of grapes.

“That table of girls checking out the new guy don’t want to be seen wolfing down large portions,” O’Neil said. “A dainty sandwich cut into quarters or half of a whole-wheat pita sandwich might be a better fit. Choose lean proteins such as sliced turkey, roast beef or deli ham to maximize nutrition and minimize calories. For something sweet, they may prefer to dip grapes, strawberries or pineapple chunks in protein-packed Greek yogurt.”

Pack plenty of food for hungry athletes

Hungry athletes need larger servings of healthy foods for lunch, such as an extra slice of turkey on a sandwich and whole grain tortilla chips with an individual pack of salsa. These energy-burning kids may also need two cartons of cold milk for hydration and nutrition.

For after school, pack a snack to keep your sports star energized. They can refuel before sports practice with fresh fruit or the extra protein in a granola bar with peanuts or other nuts.

No matter what’s on the menu for your students, follow the USDA MyPlate nutrition icon. This visual for good nutrition indicates half of a healthy plate be filled with fruit and vegetables, with the two other quarters occupied by a lean protein and a whole grain starch. To complete the meal, add a cup of fat free or low fat milk. Look for food safety tips and after school snack ideas at www.BestFoodFacts.org.

 

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