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To the Editor;
Fairfield Pop Warner was pleased to see the recent article in The Daily Fairfield about Katherine Snedakers efforts to raise awareness regarding concussions in youth sports. She is absolutely correct regarding the loophole in Connecticuts law (Public Act 10-62), since it only pertains to coaches holding a permit from the State Board of Education, and thus really applies only to school-associated teams.
I am also proud to report that for the past two years the Fairfield Pop Warner organization, which fields multiple squads participating in tackle football, flag football, and cheerleading, has been in compliance with Connecticuts concussion law. In August 2010 we initiated mandatory annual training of all our coaches in concussion awareness in accordance with CDC guidelines (as reported on Channel 12 News).
Fairfield Pop Warner also instituted a comprehensive policy with guidelines for removal from activities, requirement of medical clearance for return to activities, and a 5-step graduated return to play program when any athlete was suspected of having suffered a concussion. We have also tracked all our participants who have sustained a concussion for evidence of a repeat event. Furthermore, Fairfield Pop Warner has, at considerable expense, upgraded its equipment with the purchase of the only football helmet proven to help reduce the likelihood of a concussion occurring.
Fairfield Pop Warner takes the health and safety of our youth seriously and applauds Ms. Snedakers fight to close this loophole, and her work to help train the coaches and the instructors of our young athletes.
Richard S. Bercik, M.D.
Medical Director, Board Member, and Assistant Football Coach
Fairfield Pop Warner Youth Football