"SomerSafe Sports" partnership to offer national blueprint for concussion education, policy and prevention
(Somerville) – The City of Somerville announced today a three-year partnership with the Boston-based Concussion Legacy Foundation to develop Somerville into a model city for concussion education, policy and prevention for its youth athletes. The announcement was made by Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Concussion Legacy Foundation co-founder and CEO Chris Nowinski.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation will work with the Mayor’s Office, the Somerville Department of Health and Human Services, the Somerville Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Somerville Public Schools to educate stakeholders including coaches, parents, and athletes, as well as develop and expand cutting-edge policies for concussion management and prevention for the city, recreation department, and schools.
“I am pleased to announce SomerSafe Sports not only as Somerville’s mayor but as a father, a former football coach, and a former athlete myself who has experienced concussions,” said Mayor Curtatone. “It is important to me that we take all of the necessary steps in preventing concussions in our youth athletes so that they stay healthy and safe as they develop their skills playing youth sports.”
Earlier today, the Foundation’s flagship youth education program, Team Up Against Concussions, was presented by Foundation program manager Cliff Robbins to fifth through eighth grade students at West Somerville Neighborhood School. The Team Up program will be brought to schools throughout Somerville over the course of the next year, with the goal of reaching every public school student in Somerville with concussion education.
“We look forward to collaborating to make Somerville a model city, and then working with other cities to replicate this model in a scalable manner,” Nowinski said. “Our audit revealed Somerville already had a strong foundation in place, but the science is moving so quickly that it is good practice for everyone to annually revisit and improve their concussion programs.”
Part of the City’s enhanced focus on concussion safety will now include a Somerville Concussion Resources page on the City’s website. This page will provide parents, athletes and coaches an easily accessible library of documents and information on concussions.
The partnership kicked off earlier this month with Somerville participating in the Foundation’s national Team Up Day on September 13th, in which Somerville coaches gave a speech to their teams encouraging them to “team up and speak up” if they thought a teammate had a concussion.
A report on concussion diagnoses from Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) last month showed that patients ages 10 through 19 are five times more likely to be diagnosed with a concussion than all other age groups combined. In 2015, Massachusetts had the highest concussion rate for that age group in the country with 27.5 concussion diagnoses per 1,000 BCBS members each year.