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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

North Carolina Doctor Supports PLP

Practice Like Pros founder Terry O'Neil presented yesterday in Greensboro, NC, to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Football Coaches Association (NCFCA).

Included in O'Neil's presentation was a video message from Dr. Josh Bloom, a sports medicine practitioner in Cary, NC, head team physician for the Carolina Hurricanes and USA Baseball, and member since 2005 of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

Dr. Bloom was a three-year starter at linebacker for Dartmouth, 1992-94, co-captain, member of an Ivy League championship team, second-team Academic All-America and winner of the prestigious National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. He currently ranks fourth in Dartmouth Football history with 354 career tackles.

In addition to his football and medical/scientific expertise, Dr. Bloom brings a unique perspective as father of two football-playing adolescent sons.

Directly addressing the high school coaches of the NCFCA Board, this was Dr. Bloom's message:

"Like many of you, I grew up hitting three days a week in practice and then again on Friday nights or Saturdays. Fortunately, the way the game is coached and the way the game is played is changing. And it needs to change. We simply know too much.
"It has become very clear that more hits to the head, more exposure to hits to the head and more contact in general leads to problems. Plain and simple, more contact leads to increased risk of injury.
"Everybody now is aware and everybody is talking about long-term sequela of trauma to the head -- things like post-concussion syndrome and CTE. But there is also a shorter-term risk. For example, in our concussion clinic, where we see a few thousand concussion visits a year, we see our biggest spike in volume in the middle of October and into November. And that's not just from the hits that happen in October and November in games and practices. It is from the pounding that goes on in August and September and October. It's cumulative.
"Now that's the bad news. The good news is that a big part of the fix is pretty simple: Limit contact in practice. And here's the kicker: Less contact in practice can lead to more success on the field.
"I've been immersed in this game for 35 years, as a player, as a coach, as a physician, and now as a parent. And I am completely convinced that this game can be taught well without hitting in practice.
"And I firmly believe that less hitting in practice will lead to better performance on game nights -- fresh legs, fresh bodies, fresh minds. Players will play better and, in fact, play more physical on game day.
"Guys, this is where football is going. This is where the game needs to go. Let's make sure that North Carolina is out front. Please let me know if I can help in any way."

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