A Healthy Future

April 24, 2015

As stated in this space a week ago, the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years complete an eight-year period during which we have addressed for two years each Health Histories, Heads, Heat and Hearts.
What will the following two years – 2017-18 and 2018-19 – bring? Here are some aspirations – some predictions, but not quite promises – of where we will be.
First, we will have circled back to the first “H” – Health Histories – and will be well on our way to universal use of paperless pre-participation physical examination forms and records.
Second, we will have made the immediate reporting and permanent recordkeeping of all head injury events routine business in Michigan school sports, for both practices and contests, in all sports and at all levels..
Third, we will have promoted more objectivity and backbone to removal from play decisions for suspected concussions at both practices and events where medical personnel are not present.
Fourth, we will have provided a safety net for families who are unable to afford no-deductible, no exclusion concussion care insurance that insists upon and pays for complete recovery from head injury symptoms before return to activity is permitted.
All of this is for all sports on all levels, both genders.
We should be able to do this, and more, without judicial threat or legislative mandate. We won’t wait for others to set the standards or appropriate the funds, but be there to welcome the requirements and resources when they finally arrive.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on MHSAA.com on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.