DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An official with the Ohio High School Athletic Association said the organization didn’t endorse an article posted to its website from the National Federation of High School Associations but supported the federation and the spirit of the article’s message – increasing participation in football.
Tim Stried, senior director of communications for the OHSAA, said they almost always post releases from the NFHSA, the national group that every state high school athletic associations are a part.
“It’s not a release from the OHSAA, we’re basically assisting the (NFHSA) by posting it to our site,” Stried said. “We aren’t required to post their content, but we usually do. I don’t know if I can remember a similar situation where the federation sent out a press release that then became controversial like this, even if this would be controversial.”
Stried was commenting in response to a WDTN.com article published on Monday about the argument between the NFHSA and one of the leading concussion groups, the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
The NHFSA article, headlined “No linkage to CTE from playing high school football” and written by executive director Karissa Niehoff, took issue with a public-service video from the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The video compared youth football and CTE risk to the risk of long-term smoking by showing youth football players lighting up cigarettes while a voiceover said: “Tackle football is like smoking, the younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”
“Our concern is the term ‘exposed to danger,’ Niehoff wrote. “These types of messages continue to spread unwarranted fear to parents of high school student-athletes.”
In an interview with WDTN.com, Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski disagreed, citing a study the public-service was based on.
“It’s only fair to tell these families they are getting exposed to CTE the more you play tackle football at any age,” Nowinski said.
Stried said the OHSAA is more apt to post a release if it has a message the organization wants to share.
“If we see a message that helps bolster a point – that football is safer than it’s ever been – we certainly want to get that information out in front of our constituents,” Stried said. “This press release helps supports that.”
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