US Lacrosse Gets Proactive on Concussions; a Chat with its Director of Health & Sport Safety
(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt of an interview with Bruce Griffin, the newly named Director of Health & Sport Safety for US Lacrosse, which appeared exclusively in the February issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the entire interview, subscribe to CLR at: https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
When President Barrack Obama mentioned last week that if he had a son he might not let him play football because of the risk of concussion, a strong message was sent to the rest of the sports world.
Football will continue to fall on the sword. But can the other sports be far behind when it comes to susceptibility for concussions.
US Lacrosse, the national governing body of men’s and women’s lacrosse, isn’t taking any chances.
In January, it hired Bruce Griffin to fill the organization’s newly-created position as director of health & sport safety.
As director of health & sport safety, Griffin will serve as the primary liaison with US Lacrosse’s Sports Science & Safety Committee as well as the Insurance & Risk Management Committee. He will work with both groups to prioritize, develop and manage organizational initiatives—primarily in the form of published educational resources, research and data analysis—in an effort to effectively manage player injury risk in men’s and women’s lacrosse.
“Bruce has a deep passion and contagious enthusiasm for health and safety issues and having him in this new administrative position further cements our organizational commitment to advancing the cause of player safety for all participants,” said Ann Carpenetti, managing director of game administration.
Griffin joined US Lacrosse after serving in various roles at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 1993. Most recently, Griffin served as UNCG’s chief risk officer, with previous posts as the assistant chancellor for environmental safety and as director of health & safety.
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation was quick to play up his “impressive certifications in the fields of safety and risk management, including Certified Safety Professional (CSP), the Associate of Risk Management (ARM) and a GradIOSH (Graduate Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health).”
He’ll need all those qualifications in the coming years. We at Concussion Litigation Reporter saw Griffin’s hiring as the perfect opportunity to check in on the sport of Lacrosse and the executive who will be charged with responding to a fast-approaching storm around the concussion issue.
Question: What market conditions led to the creation of this position?
Answer: The market conditions that led to the creation of this new position are primarily related to the explosive growth of lacrosse across the country and the desire of US Lacrosse to protect the integrity of the game. With rapid growth, the possibility exists that the game’s expansion will outpace the coaching and officiating infrastructure needed to support it. Player and game safety knowledge is a key to supporting coaching and officiating education efforts. Creating the Director of Health and Sport Safety position is viewed as a way to insure that volunteer support efforts, such as the Sport Science and Safety Subcommittee and the Insurance and Risk Management Committee, have focused support from within US Lacrosse.
An internal value at US Lacrosse is player safety and basing game safety on science, not anecdotal evidence. My position will continue to support that value and take advantage of opportunities to learn more about how to make the game better for players.
Q: Roughly, what percentage of your time will be spent on the concussion issue?
A: Concussions and head injuries are not the leading type of injuries in lacrosse. However, they can be serious injuries and with increased media attention and parent concern, they are receiving attention and resources from US Lacrosse. If I had to place a number in my reply, I would guess that I will spend 12 percent of my time on issues related to concussion awareness and education. The focus of our efforts are to stay abreast of the science and then get the latest information in the hands of our coaches, officials, players, and parents. These groups can have the greatest impact on the number of concussions suffered in sports and the outcomes that result.
(for the full interview, visit: https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/concussion-litigation-reporter-february-2013/)