Pilot Programs 2.0

May 10, 2016

Two sideline concussion detection pilot programs launched with 62 schools at the start of the 2015-16 school year will continue in 2016-17, with several significant modifications.

For the upcoming school year, a smaller number of schools will be invited to participate, training will be both earlier and longer, and the focus will be on those sports which the MHSAA’s mandated concussion reporting by all high schools has identified as having the highest risk for head injuries.

The primary purpose for the MHSAA to initiate, drive and monitor these pilot programs is to emphasize the removal-from-play phase of the concussion care continuum, and to encourage more care, consistency and courage during that decision-making process.

Data from the most recent fall and winter seasons tends to demonstrate that schools in the pilot programs reported more concussions than non-pilot schools and they withheld students from activity longer than schools which did not participate in the pilot programs.

These tendencies are supported by both systems being tested, King-Devick and XLNTbrain, both of which have significant improvements in store for pilot schools in 2016-17.

The purpose of the pilot programs is not to select a single system to be recommended to or required of all MHSAA member schools, but to demonstrate to vendors how to serve the needs of our diverse constituency and to help our schools serve their student-athletes better. Further progress toward these purposes is a certainty during 2016-17.

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.