The Gary Galiher Law Hour — Episode 11: Making Sports Safer for Kids w/ Sam Lee

Sam Lee

Sam Lee

We all know what can happen from a single, huge traumatic event like a car crash, or getting your bell rung at a football game, where you have a more life-threatening injury. Less obvious, though, is what goes on throughout a multi-year span of activities by an athlete: they have a cumulative effect that can be as bad as a single, major trauma.

Athletes of all ages who play contact sports take sub-concussive injuries in their day-to-day play. “What’s really happening in the brain when they’re children, especially young children, in these sub-concussive injuries, is the same cascade of chemicals, the same repair mechanisms happen that happen during concussions—it’s just that they’re happening a lot more frequently,” said Gary Galiher, our founding partner.

Researchers in the field of neurotrauma are very aware of this, but we want to see people everywhere begin to understand that many of the sports our children play could have serious negative effects on their cognitive abilities down the road.

Our firm is all for sports—including football—but when children as young as seven or eight years old are playing full-contact and sustaining head injuries, we know that something is wrong. It’s necessary to change how our children are playing, the conversation about how to make these changes needs to begin right away, and it cannot be informed just by what the NFL wants us to know.

We are moving that conversation forward with today’s guest, Sam Lee, an award-winning (and very charismatic!) athletic trainer at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu. He was the recipient of the 2015 District 8 Gatorade Secondary School Athletic Trainer Award, for establishing a concussion management program at his school, as well as helping the Hawaii athletic association develop comprehensive heat acclimatization and practice schedule guidelines.

Our talk with Coach Lee covers the vital angles of the issues mentioned here, from the state of things today to the future of student athletics. Tune in and find out why Hawaii is a progressive state in the nationwide battle to make sports safer for young people.