FNF Coaches Talk — The risks of NOT playing, AD stops game for social distancing reminder, innovative ideas

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coaches. We’ve got three stories to take you into the weekend.

1. Doctor says risks of kids not returning to play outweigh even the coronavirus (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The debate over whether high school and even college football should be played amid the COVID-19 pandemic has grown over the past few weeks. Tennessee is one of two states that kicked off the football season last night with the opener of the regular season.

That decision was reached only after much discussion and input from medical experts such as Dr. David Bruce, who specializes in pediatric sports medicine at Erlanger Orthopedics and has been a proponent statewide for helping young people resume athletics. He worked as an advisor to the TSSAA.

Dr. Bruce is unwavering in his belief that the risks to young people by not allowing them to play far outweigh those attached to the coronavirus.

“There’s no doubt COVID-19 is bad. For the older population and people with preexisting health issues, there’s a danger that is worse than the flu,” Dr. Bruce said. “But that’s not the case at all for kids. For young adults, particularly those 18 and under, the data tells us this virus is nowhere near as dangerous as the flu.
“So far there have been fewer than 100 kids under the age of 16 who have died from this, while last year alone the flu killed nearly 500 kids in that same age group, but we didn’t shut down athletics because of it.
“My head is not in the sand. There are people who fall into the category of needing to avoid exposing themselves to certain settings, but everyone should understand the downstream effects of taking things away from young people. There are risks that are far greater than this virus, which has an extremely high recovery rate for them.”

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published last week, depression among adolescents doubled during the quarantine and one-quarter of the nation’s young people has contemplated suicide — which is the second-leading cause of death for teens ages 16-24, behind only automobile accidents — during the pandemic. The same study, which painted a bleak picture of the mental health issues caused by the pandemic, also pointed out a noticeable surge in anxiety and substance abuse in young people since the beginning of this year.

Another study by Dr. Tim McGuine, who works in the sports medicine program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, gauged the impact of school closures on the quality of life for young people. The findings by Dr. McGuine’s team of physicians, which were recently cited by the TSSAA, showed that among more than 13,000 high school respondents there was a clear need for young people to return to their in-person school settings and athletic competitions.

“It was incredibly, incredibly striking,” Dr. McGuine told the TSSAA. “We know that depression scores in athletes are usually pretty low. But in this new sample, 68% scored high enough on depression screenings that, in a normal clinical situation, it would trigger a referral to get the kid extra help.
“The only scores (for depression) higher than these were kids with chronic conditions such as cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, things like that.”

Read the entire story.

What is your biggest concern if you aren’t able to play high school football this season?

2. Utah AD stopped his school’s football game due to fans not following mask and social distancing requirements (Stadium)

Thumbs up to American Fork athletic director Jeremy Lewis for showing some leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scene was American Fork hosting Timpview on Thursday night in the second week of the Utah high school football season. Things were going well for the Cavemen during the first half before Lewis stopped the contest, asking all fans in attendance to comply with the safety guidelines outlined in order for games to be played.

“I’m just the messenger and that’s just me doing my job,” Lewis said. “More and more we get to realize the privilege we all have in Utah to actually be at football games, and certainly for the kids to be out there — playing the game that they love. So my job is to help ensure it happens and can continue. We all want that.”

What will your school do to ensure fans are not spreading the virus at football games?

3. The Innovator’s Lament: Why ideas like the shotgun and fast break get rejected (The Athletic)

This is an interesting article about why coaches inherently resist creative and innovative ideas.

Why wouldn’t people embrace creative and innovative ideas? Aren’t those the very kinds of things leaders claim to value?

In 2010, a team of researchers explored those questions. Over two experiments with 200 people, the researchers found that although people said they valued creativity, they actually had a subconscious bias against it. It wasn’t that they didn’t appreciate new ideas; it was that they didn’t like the uncertainty that came with them.

The sports landscape is filled with examples. Football coaches once resisted the forward pass as a “menace” and “destroyer of the fundamentals.” Basketball coaches rejected the three-point line for years. And in baseball, traditionalists scoffed at one of the game’s most progressive and innovative experiments of the last 50 years.

It’s a fun story with examples of how innovative moments in sports were nearly stopped in their tracks had it not been for some creative thinking and risk-taking.

Read the entire story.

What excuses have you heard for not trying out innovative ideas?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk