The Concussion Legacy Foundation has created the first ever national concussion education day, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13. On Team Up Day, millions of athletes will hear a speech from their coach, captain and medical team that encourages them to Team Up & Speak Up to Fight Concussions, with the specific message that a good teammate looks out for concussions in their teammates, and has a responsibility to speak up to a coach or other adult if they think their teammate has a concussion.
Organizations representing over 1 million athletes have already signed on to Team Up Day, and the goal is that all 44 million youth athletes hear this message this year. The growing list of participating organizations includes the National Federation of State High School Associations, USA Rugby, the American Hockey Coaches Association, California Interscholastic Federation, Idaho High School Activities Association, Illinois High School Association, Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, Montana High School Association, Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, Major League Lacrosse, the Ivy League, Boston University, Vassar College, the NYU Sports & Society Program, ThinkTaylor, and i9 Sports.
On Team Up Day, coaches are committing to kicking off their game, practice or workout with a message inspired by a speech found buried in the 1905 diary of Bill Reid, the Harvard Football coach. Coach Reid discusses how the team doctor gave a speech before the season to the team in which he said: “in case any man in any game gets hurt by a hit on the head so that he does not realize what he is doing, his teammate should at once insist that time be called and that a doctor come onto the field to see what is the trouble.”
“One hundred and eleven years ago, this speech sent a crucial message to teammates about looking out for one another, but somehow that message has been lost to history,” said Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “I can’t find ex-athletes that remember being told this message, and very few athletes receive this message today. On Team Up Day we’re bringing the speech back to increase concussion reporting rates and make athletes across the country safer.”
Team Up Day is an extension of the Foundation’s Team Up Against Concussions youth education program, which emphasizes the bystander model used in successful bullying intervention training programs.
“Unfortunately athletes are often unable to recognize when they have a concussion, making education programs focused exclusively on self-reporting concussions fall short,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder and medical director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “Team Up Day trains the people physically closest to the athletes to intervene in a dangerous situation, and ensures they hear this team-focused message from their coaches and captains, the people most likely to successfully change their behavior.”
The Concussion Legacy Foundation encourages organizations, coaches, parents, and especially athletes to sign up to participate in Team Up Day at TeamUpDay.org, where they can learn more about the program and how to give the speech. Those who pledge to participate in Team Up Day are asked to post on social media using #TeamUpSpeakUp and include a “teamie” – a photo of teammates with their arms around one another and index fingers in the air pointing up, signifying that they’re teaming up.