Prevention Progression

June 28, 2015

The starting point for concussion care is prevention; and when we talk about prevention of concussions we must include education, equipment and enforcement.

Education is a shared responsibility of all who conduct and coach athletic programs; and the vital information about prevention, recognition, after-care and recovery needs to reach every player, their parents and all coaches.

Equipment is mainly the responsibility of those who make the protective gear and of those who make the rules specifications for that gear, but there are important responsibilities at more local levels. For example, to make sure what schools purchase and provide to players meets rules requirements, gets reconditioned as needed and fits properly. In football, for example, the fit of the helmet is much more important than its price ... fit at the start of the season and checked throughout the season.

As with education and equipment, enforcement is also a shared responsibility. In football it includes local enforcement of the 2014 football practice rules that have reduced collision practices; and in contests it means contest officials’ enforcement of the strongest set of safety rules in the game’s history.

In all sports, officials are to err on the side of safety; and when they do, the MHSAA will have their backs. Local school administrators and coaches should too.

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.