Niagara Gazette


September 26, 2013

MROZIAK: More random notes off the sports desk

Niagara Gazette — Hopefully we raised a little more awareness about the seriousness of head injuries in sports over the past week and a half with some of the information and commentary we've offered in this space, including yesterday's guest commentary by Dr. Scott Darling.

There will be more in the not too distant future. Among the things I'm eager to learn and share with you is the "return to play" policy at the Niagara Concussion Clinic, a respected model by which doctors, athletes and the athletes' families can follow.

The Niagara Concussion Clinic is certainly not alone. In November, another locally-founded program, People Understanding Childhood Concussion and Stroke (PUCCS) will hold their third annual fundraising hockey tournament in Cheektowaga. Its inaugural tournament in 2011 raised over $100,000 for research. 

It's encouraging that Western New York is very active in taking on a serious issue that affects essentially all athletes of contact sports, young and old. 

• Westfield-Brocton made the decision earlier this week to call off the remainder of its high school football schedule following the death of one of its players, Damon Janes. 

The decision raised some quiet debate among some, with one camp contending that the boys should have been allowed to forge ahead in memory of their fallen teammate, comrade, brother. 

The truth is, there's no one universally proper way to respond. I can see the point of view of those who wanted to play ahead, while also understanding those who wanted to call off the season as part of the mourning and healing process.

What's done is done. What needs to happen now is for those directly involved to be with the family and with loved ones. Many of you might appreciate this if you've recently lost a loved one. Immediately after you feel the love and have the support of peers and the community. It's when things quiet down after a couple weeks that the loss really hits. It's important for folks down there to remember that.

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