US Lacrosse and the Concussion Legacy Foundation have launched a joint initiative to create the first US Lacrosse “Team Up Speak Up Day” on March 1, 2018. 

Between now and March 1, every lacrosse coach in America is being asked to give a simple, one-minute speech at the beginning of the season that helps keep athletes safe from concussion and improves the concussion culture. 

The core message is that a good teammate looks out for concussions in his/her teammates, and they have an expectation and responsibility to speak up to a coach or athletics trainer if they suspect that a teammate has a concussion.

“We believe in the research behind this initiative and that coaches set the tone for how their athletes respond on the field," said Dr. Bruce Griffin, director of the Center for Sport Science at US Lacrosse. "Working with the Concussion Legacy Foundation's Team Up Speak Up effort, we hope that every lacrosse player hears their coach share this vital message.”

“We are excited to launch our first co-branded Team Up Speak Up Day with US Lacrosse,” said Chris Nowinski, PhD, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “US Lacrosse has been a leader on concussion education, and we are excited to partner to share this innovative messaging that will help concussions be recognized more quickly.”

The program is built upon the bystander intervention model which is taught in anti-bullying programs. The goal is to change the culture from one where teammates might feel that reporting a concussion is letting a teammate down, to one where they know they will be supported, and concussion reporting is framed as being a good teammate. 

In 2017, over 200 organizations representing more than 4.5 million athletes signed on to Team Up Speak Up. Participants include national governing bodies like USA Hockey, USA Rugby, and the National Federation of State High School Associations, as well as professional sports organizations including NASCAR, the NFL Players Association, and Major League Lacrosse. 

Dozens of state associations, including the California Interscholastic Federation, Illinois High School Athletic Association, Indiana Youth Soccer, and Massachusetts Hockey, and category leaders the Ivy League, U.S. Soccer Foundation, American Hockey Coaches Association, Rugby Canada, and the Positive Coaching Alliance also joined the movement. 

This first spring season Team Up Speak Up Day will advance the goal of this speech being given to every sports team, every season. 
  
Organizations, coaches, parents, and athletes can sign up to participate at TeamUpSpeakUp.org, where they can learn more about the program and how to give the speech.

Those who pledge to participate in Team Up Speak Up are asked to post on social media using #TeamUpSpeakUp and include a teamie - a photo of teammates with their arms around one another and index fingers in the air pointing up, signifying that they're teaming up. Organizations can send their logo to Evan Pursley to be listed online as a supporter.  

The Concussion Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Boston. It was founded in 2007 by Robert Cantu, MD, and former Harvard University football player Chris Nowinski, PhD, to solve the concussion crisis by advancing the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups. For more information, please visit ConcussionFoundation.org