Straight Talk on Head Trauma

May 6, 2013

Bill Heinz is the handsome square-jawed, plain-speaking medical orthopedist from Maine who chairs the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee of the National Federation of State High school Associations.  Here, in my words, is what Dr. Heinz had to say about concussions last month in Indianapolis in a ballroom full of staff members and attorneys for statewide athletic associations from across the United States.

About Prevention –

  • No equipment can prevent concussions in any sport.  What can reduce such head trauma is to diminish the frequency and severity of contact to the head.

  • In football, that requires officials’ strict enforcement of current rules, coaches’ teaching of blocking and tackling consistent with those rules, and rules makers’ continuing search for ways to reduce the frequency of the game’s most dangerous situations.

About Aftercare –

  • No pharmaceutical remedy exists for concussions.  The remedy is time.  Only complete rest – from both academic and athletic activity – begins the recovery process; and then return to such activity must be gradual, and under the care of trained health care professionals.

That has been and will continue to be our message to our constituents in Michigan.

(Click here for our recent communication reinforcing the state laws that take effect in Michigan on June 30, 2013.)

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.