Jets stage health & safety symposium

Injuries, including concussions, were a big topic of discussion at the first National Football League Health and Safety Forum in the Lexus Club of MetLife Stadium before the New England Patriots turned back the host New York Jets in a battle for first place.

More than 200 football players on the high school level, coaches and even parents, especially those who have children playing this sport attended the forum.

Students, youth football players, parents, and coaches from high schools such as Information Technology in Queens and Franklin Lane in Brooklyn, and girls playing flag football from Truman in The Bronx, gathered for a seminar.

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, Dr. Ken Montgomery, orthopedic surgeon, head team physician, chairman, Medical Department and former players Dave Szott and Troy Vincent and Dr. Margot Putukian, M.D., a member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee participated in the forum.

They addressed the audience about safety matters facing young athletes. In addition, they spoke about their role in promoting player health and safety and discussed ways the league is making sports safer for all athletes, not only in football.

During the symposium, there was a question and answer session among the audience and speakers, including the athletes.

Concussions are a big topic in sports today. They can occur in almost any activity and football in particular. Concussions arise on the high school and college levels.

“In large part, we have made it a big topic,” said Goodell. “We have increased the awareness of concussions. That’s good for anyone who has played on any team.”

If a player gets hurt and does not pass a test, that player goes out for a day.

“After my first concussion came in high school, I was out,” said Vincent. “The parents are responsible for our children. In the last three years we emphasized testing.”

For a concussion, the question is how long is that player out? Everybody is different. It could be a few days or months. It could be a severe blow.

“The game is about safety,” said Vincent. “Concussions are something to be aware of.”

The NFL urges every player to wear a headgear or helmet while in action.

Flag football is an easier sport to play and is less dangerous and it is supposed to be a non-contact sport.

Most every sport has a physical aspect to it and the NFL wants to make the sport safe,

The kids participated in a question and answer session, and they had good questions. People have to understand the importance of how to manage the concussions when they happen.

Donald Douglas, executive director of the New York City Public Schools Athletic League under the New York City Department of Education also attended the symposium. The high school season is now deep in the post season or better known as the playoffs to determine one champion.

While Douglas is very busy with football and other sports involved including the start of the basketball season, he took some time out to catch some Jet action and attend the session. And Douglas is a Jet fan.

“I think the Jets will make it to the Super Bowl this year,” he said prior to the Jet-Patriot game. But after the game there could be some doubt.

Meanwhile, he is getting ready for the championship game to be played Dec. 6 at Yankee Stadium.