A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article talking about the need for those involved with the sport of football to stay proactive in order for the sport to remain as No. 1 in the country.

Several responding messages I received disagreed wholeheartedly with the notion that football as we know it could be at risk. I do hope football continues to be as popular as it is today.

It would be foolish, however, for coaches, players, administrators and parents not to understand fully the dangers of brain injury and ways to guard against it at all levels of participation in the sport. Not long ago participants were unaware of the importance of proper hydration, but thanks to proper education, football players and all other athletes now take steps to avoid heat strokes and other heat-related issues.

It is now time for education about possible concussions. One of the very first athletic trainers in the Kansas City area was John Donnell. He was the first athletic trainer hired at Blue Springs High School, which was in the mid-1980s.

I recently ran into John and quizzed him about any head trauma programs available in the Kansas City area. He forwarded to me information on a free concussion seminar that will be held in Kansas City on Jan. 22 at the Gladstone Community Center from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Attendance is free but registration is required. Space is limited.

It would be a great opportunity for people of all levels to better understand concussions and proper ways to handle athletes with brain injury. The Brain Injury Association of Missouri is the sponsor of this seminar. Attendance is encouraged for sports coaches of youth or high school teams at any competitive level, including volunteer coaches for community and parochial sports leagues. Athletic directors, program administrators, game officials and licensed athletic trainers also would benefit from attending.

The Brain Injury Association of Missouri is naming the seminar “Sports Concussions: Facts, Fallacies and New Frontiers.” It will be in cooperation with the Department of Health and Senior Services/TBI Grant and several statewide organizations. This educational program will provide sports and school personnel with current information on concussion care and his or her role in care for youth.

School personnel, which includes nurses, counselors, PE teachers and administrators, should attend since returning to learn is a primary focus of care for a concussed student-athlete. The whole seminar is based on a book written by Dr. Joseph F. Waeckerle, M.D. His book is titled, “Concussion Management: The Team Plan.” The following are seminar breakout sessions:

1. Sport Concussions Facts and Fallacies 2. Concussion Management: The Team Overview 3. Panel Experts 4. Concussion Management: The Team Plan – The Role of Each Unit 5. Panel of Athletes

To register of to obtain sponsorship information for the BIA-MO Sports Concussions: Facts, Fallacies and New Frontiers seminar, contact the Brain Injury Association at www.biamo.org or 1-800-444-6443.

Programs like the ones I just discussed can really help in the prevention of brain trauma during contact sports. Football has been on the hot seat for concussion injuries, but the two worst concussions that I encountered during my career occurred in soccer. One athlete was a boy and one was a girl, and they both had some rather severe issues following the injury.

Concussions can and will occur in any sport. It is important for everyone involved in athletics to become informed. We can greatly reduce potential harm from head trauma through education.

The NFL also will be coming out with educational programs to instruct parents on ways to avoid concussions and to teach proper tackle techniques. Let’s get to work and join forces to make football and all sports safer.

• Tabitha’s Closet will be starting a fund in the name of Cecil Taylor, who recently passed away. It will assist homeless high school students in the Independence school system. If you are interested in helping with this program you can call Tabitha’s Closet at 816-607-1271 or send email to tabithascloset@fcc.indepmo.org. Cecil was all about helping young people.

• The Missouri vs. Auburn game was a track meet. Auburn ran the spread look with the old Delaware wing-T offense. Modern defenses may need to go back to running the old-style defenses to stop the “new” old look. How about a reincarnation of the old 6-1 or 6-2 defense? You need to fight fire with fire. Just and old guy’s thought.

• I am not sure, and I may be wrong, but the Kansas men’s basketball team may have read too many of their own newspaper clippings. Coach Bill Self needs to get them back on his page.

• It sounds as if the U.S. may have a tough road in the World Cup this summer. Soccer fans might need to get up early to watch the games because it could be a quick tournament for the U.S. team.

• I will be glad to see that NCAA Division I football will have a small playoff system next year. I have never been a fan of the BCS way crowning the national champion.

• My quote of the week is from Benjamin Franklin: “All the education and all the knowledge in the world can’t help the poor soul who has no common sense.” I say AMEN on that point.

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net