By Mike Morsch
Former Rutgers University and NFL quarterback Ray Lucas has had 19 concussions. That he knows about. And sports-related concussions are a hot topic right now.
The East Windsor Hightstown Youth Sports Parents Group realizes that sports-related concussions are an important topic, particularly among youth sports parents, and it wants to take advantage of the opportunity to educate and inform.
So on Wednesday, Feb. 24, the EWHYSPG will sponsor a youth sports panel discussion titled “Concussions & Silent Injuries” from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Erik B. Hanson Field House at the Peddie School, 155 Etra Road, in Hightstown.
“Concussions and silent injuries are something that everybody’s been talking about, from the professional ranks all the way down to youth sports,” said East Windsor resident Dan Klim, a member of the EWHYSPG and an organizer of the event. “What we’re trying to put forth is factual information from top health-care experts. This in an opportunity for parents to be able to get some information about concussions and silent injures, what to look for, how they should be treated.”
Among the panelists will be Mr. Lucas, who will detail his journey through college and the National Football League and present an overview of what happens when concussions are undiagnosed or untreated and how he must now manage his condition.
Joining Mr. Lucas on the panel will be Dr. Vincent K. McInerney, assistant dean, professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and director of sports medicine at Seton Hall University; Dr. John Gallucci, president of JAG Physical Therapy and medical coordinator for Major League Soccer; and Jose Roca, head athletic trainer at the Peddie School.
The panel will discuss treating silent injuries on and off the field, concussion awareness and what youth sports parents need to know when their child experiences a concussion or head injury. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.
“We’re really not here to scare anybody or to dissuade parents from letting their children play sports,” said Mr. Kilm. “We really just want to educate them and give them information that is first-hand.”
The East Windsor Hightstown Youth Sports Parents Group comprises parents, coaches and volunteers whose goal is to develop young athletes into future leaders and to raise enough money to build a local indoor sports facility for East Windsor and Hightstown youth.
The group had its first fundraising effort in October 2015 that drew more than 100 people and featured Roman Oben, a 12-year veteran of the NFL and now the league’s director of youth and high school football. That event garnered some good initial exposure and attention for the EWHYSPG.
“The group is getting a little bit of a groundswell. People are interested in some of the things that we’re doing. We’re really trying to tackle youth sports issues that are trending at this time,” said Mr. Klim, who, as executive director of the American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey, is able to secure speakers for these local events because he has in the past worked with the NFL Players Association.
Since the group’s inaugural event, it has been able to partner with Joshua Harr Shane Foundation and the Hightstown American Legion Post 148 in securing a potential site on which to build a local youth indoor sports facility. The ground is around the Post 148 site on Route 130 north.
“The goal is obviously to get a facility built where we have a central repository for kids to go to for health and fitness classes, with batting cages, all that stuff,” said Mr. Klim. “But really, we have the opportunity to address these issues. And while we have that opportunity and the partners, we’re going to take full advantage of it.”
Tickets for the next fundraising event Feb. 24 are $10 and participants must be registered to attend. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com and search for “A Youth Panel Discussion.” Due to the strong nature of the content to be discussed, the EWHYSPG is recommending that only high school aged children and older attend the panel discussion.
For additional information, email EWHYSPGMarketing@gmail.com. The group’s website is www.ewhyspg.wordpress.com. It also has a Facebook page.
By Mike Morsch