Leading off today:
Well, it looks as though this has turned into an all-health- and-safety edition of the NYSSWA blog.
Big-name headliner: Dr. Bennet Omalu, portrayed by actor Will Smith in the movie Concussion, will headline "Brainstorm," an upcoming educational event in Rochester focusing on concussions, organizers announced.
Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, is known for his work on the relationship between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and American football players while working in Pittsburgh, based in large part on his autopsy of former Steelers lineman Mike Webster in 2002.
"Brainstorm" will also include an appearance by former Buffalo Bills player Steve Tasker and a panel of Rochester Regional Health experts.
Two days of activity begin March 2 at St. John Fisher College with "Heads Up! A Community Conversation on Concussions and TBI." The evening event aimed at parents, athletes, coaches and trainers will include a panel discussion as well as a Q&A.
Activities move downtown to the Hyatt Regency the following morning with Omalu delivering the keynote at "Breakfast with Friends" and joining a panel discussion with local experts that will be followed by a presentation from Tasker.
Crumb-rubber study: There's no evidence that playing on crumb-rubber sports fields has caused cancer in soccer players, the Washington State Department of Health reported last week in an announcement that's unlikely to settle an ongoing controversy about artificial turf.
The state health department undertook the study after Amy Griffin, a University of Washington soccer coach, compiled a list in 2009 of people who played on the artificial turf and who were later diagnosed with various cancers including leukemia, and non-Hodgkin's and Hodgkin's lymphoma. The state study examined 27 of the 53 people identified by Griffin through 2016.
The investigation also ruled out that any one position is at higher risk on the soccer field. There was a specific concern about goalkeepers, given how often they come in direct contact with the surface of the playing field.
Health officials acknowledged that a study they conducted about the issue was limited in scope. A separate national study is now under way.
"As a result of our investigation, we found that the number of players ... was less than expected, given rates of cancer given Washington residents of similar ages," said Dr. Cathy Wasserman, state epidemiologist for noninfectious conditions.
The study did not include any testing of fields.
Vote slated for Friday: With the spring season drawing near, representatives of 11 NYSPHSAA sections will come together Friday for a regularly scheduled meeting that includes a vote on proposed pitch-count standards for the 2017 baseball season.
I haven't written about the proposal in any meaningful way since shortly before last October's meeting of the Executive Committee, and the numbers they discussed back then have changed somewhat, as have some of the related processes and regulations.
Here are the details on pitch totals from back in October, with required nights of rest in parentheses:
If you stack that information up against what will be voted on by the Executive Committee on Friday, you'll see several differences in what is allowed during the regular season: