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Blue Wahoos Stadium To Host Inaugural Youth Sports Summit Event

Blue Wahoos Stadium will host a first-ever Youth Sports Summitt on Dec. 21 in a fun activities day for kids and a separate seminar for parents on injuries. (Bill Vilona/Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
December 16, 2023

The final event of 2023 at Blue Wahoos Stadium will focus on improving the future of youth sports. In effort to further awareness and make parents and guardians aware of ways to curb the growing number of injuries from specialization in youth sports, an inaugural Youth Sports Summit will occur

The final event of 2023 at Blue Wahoos Stadium will focus on improving the future of youth sports.

In effort to further awareness and make parents and guardians aware of ways to curb the growing number of injuries from specialization in youth sports, an inaugural Youth Sports Summit will occur Thursday, December 21, beginning at 9 a.m. at the bayfront ballpark.

The event is free, open to the public and designed for ages 6-14 – the grade school and middle school age youths where so many sports-related injuries nationwide are occurring. It is being presented by the Florida State University College of Medicine in Pensacola, the Andrews Research and Education Foundation and the Medical Education Council of Pensacola.

Participating youths will be able to go through a series of on-field stations in a fun, positive way to utilize their skills and enjoyment, while parents-guardians will be at the stadium’s Hancock-Whitney Club level being informed by physicians and specialists from the Andrews Institute on how to prevent series injuries in this age group.

Blue Wahoos Stadium will host the first Youth Sports Summit on Dec. 21 as a fun day of activities for kids and injury prevention seminar for parents.Bill Vilona/Pensacola Blue Wahoos

“This our inaugural event, something we really wanted to present, and it is such a great program that we are trying to start for parents and caretakers of kids who are elementary and middle school age,” said Ellie Hartsfield, the event coordinator and finance director of the Andrews Research and Education Foundation, which is a separate entity connected with the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze.

“It is really our three groups that have come together to try and get this out to the community from a prevention standpoint and to educate everyone,” she said.

“The kids portion of clinic is for them to have a great time and is kind of ancillary to main part of event for the adults,” “It is a way for the parents to have something for their children to do, so they can get educated by these doctors.”

The event was formed through physician Paul McLeod the senior associate dean for the six FSU College of Medicine regional campuses in the state.

Sponsorship of the event includes Sandy Sansing, the Lewis Bear Family Foundation and Florida Power & Light.

The focus for the event addresses an alarming issue that Dr. James Andrews, the renown sports orthopedic surgeon who founded the Andrews Institute, has been a vocal advocate for years. Sports related injuries to youths ages 14-under has grown to more than 3.5 million per-year in the U.S.

James Andrews has said the proliferation of travel teams and year-round focus on one sport among young children is a contributor to the number of injuries.

“That age group comprises almost 50 percent of sports injuries nationwide,” said Hartsfield. “When you ask doctor Andrews, he describes this as an epidemic that continues to get worse. He’s said before that he’s never seen these kinds of (injury) numbers.

“The perception is that injuries mostly affect high school, college and professional athletes. But these younger kids are where so many of these injuries are occurring. Doctor Andrews is all about prevention and trying to prevent these sports injuries from happening.”

Registration for the free event will occur until the event begins Thursday. A link is available: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSUSports, as well as through the event Facebook page @YouthSportsSummit for parents to register.

A free lunch and T-shirts will be provided to the participating youths following the event. The kids will stay on the field at Blue Wahoos Stadium and participate in activities that will include an obstacle course, a track event, a soccer drill, a volleyball station, a cornhole game, a stretching exercise and fishing activity.

The youths will get to work with Peter O’Fallon, athletic trainer at Andrews Institute and manager of the Eagle Fund, who works with injured members of the U.S. Special Operations Forces.

“The parents and caretakes will also learn about mental health challenges, the most common sports injuries and why it is so important for kids to participate on a multisport level, not just one sport,” Hartsfield said. “Because it’s such an important way to prevent injuries.”

WANT TO GO/PARTICIPATE?

WHAT: Inaugural Youth Sports Summit

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium

ADMISSION: Free

REGISTRATION: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FSUSports and Facebook page YouthSportsSummit.

REQUIREMENT: Parents or caregivers must attend with their child and be part of the education seminar.

CHECK-IN – Outside the main entrance of Blue Wahoos Stadium beginning at 9 a.m.