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Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team Named STRIVE Youth Sports Organization of the Year - NCYS and Chartis Recognize Exemplary Organizations That Apply Strong Values & Safety Initiatives in Youth Sports - Youth Sports Organizations Take Action on Concussion Awareness
August 30, 2012

Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team from Attleboro, Massachusetts has been selected as the first recipient of the STRIVE Youth Sports Organization of the Year award for its "kids first" approach that includes the implementation of recognized best practices and policies that protect kids and promote safety within its organization. The STRIVE Award (Sports Teach Respect, Initiative, Values and Excellence) is sponsored by Chartis and presented by the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS).

During the June 15 to August 1 voting period, nearly 10,000 votes were cast on the NCYS STRIVE website to determine the winning organization among the top five finalists. Launched in early February, 2012, the STRIVE Award began with a nomination period calling for youth sports organizations that have demonstrated a "kids first" approach to safety and have implemented at least three (3) health and safety initiatives within their organizations. In early June, 2012, the "Five for STRIVE" finalists were selected: Bellport Youth Football (Bellport, New York), Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team (Attleboro, Massachusetts), BlazeSports America (Decatur, Georgia), Mothers 4 Concussion Awareness (Cumming, Georgia) and Pride Soccer Association (Colorado Springs, Colorado).

The Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team's (the "Team") health and safety initiatives, such as proper equipment fittings and working closely with the national organization, US Lacrosse, contributed to concussion awareness education. The Team earns a $5,000 honorarium and a trip to the annual S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference to attend the award ceremony. The Conference will be held in Oklahoma City in early September. The runner-up was Bellport Youth Football, and in third place was Mothers 4 Concussion Awareness. Each of these organizations will receive a $1,000 donation.

Chartis is the exclusive sponsor of the STRIVE Youth Sports Organization of the Year Award. Its partnership with NCYS is part of the Chartis "aHead of the Game®" initiative, a campaign dedicated to helping increase awareness of the risks of concussions and other head injuries in youth sports. The campaign aims to educate coaches, parents, and young athletes on the signs, symptoms, and proper treatment of concussions, as well as appropriate return-to-play protocols to avoid the significant dangers of multiple concussions.

"This is the first year that we used social media and online voting to determine the winner of the STRIVE Award. All across America and beyond the kids, the parents, the coaches, and the fans energized the initiative in a big way. We couldn't be more pleased with the result," said Sally S. Johnson, NCYS National Executive Director.

"We are delighted that Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team has been named as the first ever recipient of the STRIVE Youth Sports Organization of the Year," said Susan Clarke, President, Chartis Accident & Health, U.S. "The organization's commitment to the safety and well being of its participants provides a great example for other youth sports organizations to follow."

1st place winner - Bishop Feehan High School Girls Lacrosse Team.
People talk about concussion awareness and safety in sports. The Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team is doing something about it. Their motto is You've only got one head - protect it!

In 2008, a star player from the team was hit in the head by an opponent's lacrosse stick during a game. She received a concussion at a time when you did not hear much about concussions in youth sports. Doctors said she could continue to play whatever she felt up to playing. This was a mistake, and, unfortunately, it was months before the player was seen by a specialist who told her to stop all athletic activities.

The following season, the coaching staff, which had now seen the dangers of concussions first-hand and had been appalled at the aggressive play that had steadily worked its way into the girls' game during the past decade, went on what would oftentimes feel like a mini-crusade to promote awareness of the dangers of aggressive play and checking.

The organization provided footage of that incident to US Lacrosse for use in their first-ever Rules Video that was distributed to lacrosse leagues throughout the United States. As additional players from the team received concussions in the following years, the Feehan coaches and players started major initiatives to ensure the safety of the girls on their team and in the local youth league. They also continued to escalate information to US Lacrosse in the hopes of changing the way the game was being played from a national perspective.

The coaches were in frequent contact with the head of the US Lacrosse Rules Committee, getting permission for players to wear ForceField headbands and questioning the committee chair about rules interpretations. For the past four years, coaches also provided US Lacrosse with statistics regarding the number of hits to the head that players received (and delivered) each season, summarizing the types of hits and whether umpires stop the game and card offending players.

In addition, they have highlighted areas of concern to umpire organizations at both the local and national level regarding the way the game is being played when they encountered issues during games.

The Feehan coaches and their high school players promote the benefits of ImPACT® testing and while volunteering as coaches for various youth teams, they have taken their message to younger players in the local youth league. Together, they explain how it is important for players to maintain the integrity of the girls' version of the sport as they get older, how girls are obligated to learn how to contain and check properly, and how they must fully understand and abide by the concept of the protective sphere around players' heads. For more information on Bishop Feehan Girls Lacrosse Team please visit or contact Nancy Anderson-Semple at

2nd place winner - Bellport Youth Football.
This organization is committed to sportsmanship. Their motto is Football Does Not Build Character, It Reveals It. All players and volunteers sign an official PAL "ethics pledge" that is vigorously enforced. The organization is committed to safety, not only for the players, but for all who are involved in the league. The summer practices are teamed up with professional trainers providing coaches and athletes with valuable knowledge for proper conditioning and stretching techniques to minimize the number of muscle related injuries and dehydration cases.

Bellport Youth Football also provides an educational clinic given by a local hospital and their staff of orthopedic doctors. The purpose of this clinic is to educate not only the coaches but all parents on the symptoms associated with concussions. The entire community of volunteers is now well versed in how to recognize the signs of a concussion so treatment can be sought. They have an AED machine on sight and all of the volunteers are properly trained on its use. For more information on Bellport Youth Football please visit or contact Chris Picini at

3rd place winner - Mothers 4 Concussion Awareness.
My Brain Matters is the slogan of third place winner Mothers 4 Concussion Awareness. The slogan was created early in the journey, but really came into play when Jim Ellis's 11 year old grandson suffered a concussion during football practice in 2011. Because of the program that was in place and the protocol that was established with the doctors, coaches and teachers, his grandson was able to return to the class room and return to play without further injuries.

Mr. Ellis documented this experience on a weekly basis, which lead to a series of articles that were published on the effects a concussion has on the young athlete, the family, friends, teachers, coaches, as well as, his team and school mates. Parkers story is available on the organization website.

With the help of the County Athletic Manager and several volunteers the organization set out on a journey of starting a concussion program in its community. Researching, organizing ordering, assembling, and distributing the materials we successfully implemented a comprehensive concussion a program that reached 800 coaches, 10,000 athletes, 20,000 parents, 34 elementary schools, nurses, 300 cheer teams, and hundreds of fans visiting 24 parks and 74 playing fields. Playbook Guides were developed from this experience to help others start or improve a concussion program.

Mothers 4 Concussion Awareness requires all coaches to take the CDC Coaches Concussion Course. In addition, we are striving to get all 10 year old to 14 year old young athletes registered for their Baseline Concussion Testing Program. Their resources are available to the public on their website. For more information on Mothers4ConcussionAwareness please visit or contact Jim Ellis

ABOUT the National Council of Youth Sports
The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) comprises the who's who in the youth sports industry. Founded in 1979, the National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) membership represents more than 200 organizations/corporations serving 60,000,000 registered participants in organized youth sports programs. The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) is well known for advocacy in promoting healthy lifestyles and safe environments for stronger neighborhoods and communities. NCYS is the largest known organization in America serving the amateur youth sports industry. To learn more about the NCYS, visit

ABOUT Chartis
Chartis is a world leading property-casualty and general insurance organization serving more than 70 million clients around the world.
With one of the industry's most extensive ranges of products and services, deep claims expertise and excellent financial strength, Chartis enables its commercial and personal insurance clients alike to manage virtually any risk with confidence.

Chartis is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty and general insurance operations of Chartis Inc. For additional information, please visit our website at All products are written by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of Chartis Inc. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions and is subject to actual policy language. Non-insurance products and services may be provided by independent third parties.
Certain coverage may be provided by a surplus lines insurer. Surplus lines insurers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.

Sally S. Johnson, CSA, IOM
Executive Director
National Council of Youth Sports

Dan McGinnity
Chief Marketing Officer for Accident & Health, U.S.