Old Coach Keeps Eye On Rim Country Sports

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Those who knew former Payson High School principal, athletic director and baseball coach Tom Meck during his tenure in the Rim Country fondly remember him as a man who could spin fables, jokes and tales with the best of storytellers.

Tom has moved to Buckeye, but apparently he keeps in touch with the Rim Country.

I know that because he recently e-mailed me regarding a short clip I wrote for Extra Points in the July 12 edition.

In it, I wrote about my wife’s fascination with former Phoenix Suns basketball star Dan Majerle and how she was upset with me years ago when I returned home without his autograph after meeting the former pro at a Payson softball game.

To please her, I had to return to Rumsey Park, purchase a tournament T-shirt and have Majerle autograph it.

After that, I accused my wife, Kay, of liking Majerle more than me.

She replied, “But I like you better than Steve Kerr.”

Tom read the Extra Points and followed up with an e-mail concerning a similar incident that occurred when he was coaching Payson High baseball.

Tom writes:

“Your story about your wife’s affection for Dan Majerle reminded me of a similar experience in my household in my early years of coaching.

“This was in the late ’60s when I was jokingly referred to as the head football coach and, was referred to with a somewhat larger degree of respect, also the head baseball coach.

“As you well know, an open Saturday is a rare occurrence for a baseball or track coach in the spring. Noting an open Saturday on the schedule, my wife (of 47 years), Betty made a family plan for the day that did not include any sports type activities, and I had to tell her that I was taking the team to ASU to watch a critical double-header between the Devils (Bobby Winkles era) and Southern Cal.

“I then mentioned that she was welcome to go along (Wrong!!).

“Her immediate retort was, ‘You love baseball more than you love me.’ My meek reply was, ‘Well, I love you more than I love football.’

“As you are aware Max, coaches’ wives are special people and we’re still together. And yes, I and the boys went to the game, along with my wife and 4-year-old son.”

No studying for this test

High school football coaches around the state, including Byron Quinlan at Payson High, are urging their players to take advantage of a new and unique offer that will allow them free online concussion testing.

The concussion testing is now available to more than 100,000 high school athletes around the state including those participating in sports at PHS.

Baseline concussion testing is an online cognitive test that can be taken on any computer with Web access.

The Mayo testing measures how the brain is working when it is normal.

The advantage of having a baseline assessment is that it helps doctors understand when there has been a change in brain activity, which indicates a concussion.

The test also helps determine when an athlete’s brain has returned to normal and he or she can return to play.

Studies show, that when athletes continue to play after a concussion or return to action too soon, there are significant risks of suffering another concussion. Also, repeat concussions take longer to heal and there is a risk of permanent neurological damage.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at the Boston University School of Medicine recently began studying concussions using tissue from former NFL players who have died.

In the past, concussions had been considered “invisible injuries” because they were almost impossible to test.

But the results from the CSTE made known for the first time the tremendous brain damage done by concussions.

Just days ago, CSTE research released the results of posthumous tests done on athletes who had suffered concussions during their career including former NFL player Tom McHale who died in 2008 at the age of just 45.

Results of the tests show that the damage done is extensive and not limited to superficial aspects of the brain, but deep inside.

Mayo’s offer to do the testing comes on the heels of the passage of Arizona Senate Bill 1521 that requires players who have sustained a head injury must remain sidelined until given the OK to play by a licensed health care provider. Also, the Arizona Interscholastic Association is recommending all high school athletes undergo the tests.

For more, go to: http://www.mayoclinic.org/ concussion-testing/

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