One Concussion Conclusion

August 25, 2017

After both the first and second years of collecting head injury reports from all Michigan High School Athletic Association member high schools for all practices and events in MHSAA sports, we cautioned people to refrain from making too many conclusions.

It’s too soon. We now have a baseline, but we will need several years before we can be certain that we’ve spotted trends or trouble spots.

Nevertheless, one observation screams out. Girls report two to three times the number of concussions that boys do. In basketball, soccer, and in softball compared to baseball, girls report two to three times as many concussions. That was true in year one; it remained true in year two.

It may be that girls sustain more concussions than boys, or that girls are more forthcoming in reporting than boys are, or both. In the past, researchers have published both conclusions.

In either case, it means we need to coach boys and girls differently, and we need to prepare coaches differently for boys and girls teams, as we are doing in the MHSAA Coaches Advancement Program.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on 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.