Concussions in Youth Soccer: Chat With Steve Goldman

Last week, Seattle-based Korrio and Wisconsin-based Axon Sports, teamed up to gather information about and raise awareness of concussions in youth soccer through a new joint initiative. Korrio CEO Steve Goldman was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat with us about the new initiative. Mr. Goldman has 25 years of experience in the technology industry, with a history of building emerging companies into market leaders. As the CEO of Isilon Systems (ISLN) for four years, he led the company’s revenue growth from $1M in 2003 to $89M in 2007 and executed one of the most successful IPOs in 2006 with a market capitalization in excess of $1 billion.Prior to joining Isilon, Steve spent six years as a senior executive at F5 Networks (FFIV), where he led the global sales, marketing and services organizations through rapid growth, from $1M in 1997 to $110M in 2000.

Footiebusiness.com:  Why is Korrio interested in concussions in youth sports?  Why is this an issue that you have selected to invest Korrio’s resources?

Steve Goldman:  One of Korrio’s top goals is keeping kids safe, on and off the field.  We approach this through a variety of ways in our sports automation platform, Playflow.  For example, every web page that users access is encrypted to ensure that hackers can’t access sensitive information.  Playflow also has a sophisticated privacy viewing system that ensures that only the appropriate individuals are able to view the right information.  Another way that Korrio will contribute to keeping players safe is to raise awareness about concussions in youth sports and make it easier for families and sports organizations to help prevent and manage concussions when they do occur.

FB: What is the goal of your new initiative?  What efforts are you making to engage the youth soccer community in your program?  How many soccer clubs are participating?

 SG: Our goal is to collaborate with Axon Sports to raise awareness about the dangers of concussions in youth soccer and address clubs’ and teams’ growing interest in implementing proactive concussion management plans.

We have created a Concussion Education Center on Korrio.com that will provide information on concussion management best practices and baseline testing.  For clubs and teams, we will be adding sample concussion management plans to help them get started with a framework for building and implementing their own plan.

All of the clubs and teams that are signed on to use Playflow will be emailed information about our Concussion Education Center and have access through Korrio.com.  We also intend to promote concussion awareness in our ongoing Korrio marketing efforts and through our social networking communities.

 FB: What efforts are you making to spread the word about your efforts?  What type of publicity do you hope to generate?

 SG: We hope to generate more discussion about concussions in youth soccer in hopes that concussion management plans can be considered and put into place and to make sure coaches are educated on recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion to protect players from further injury. 

Ultimately we would like to see youth soccer’s governing bodies mandate baseline testing for all players and build it in as a requirement at the time of registration.  With 18 million kids playing soccer across the U.S., it makes sense to have a uniform set of standards in place to protect players and have an effective set of concussion protocols to be followed by coaches and organizations.

FB: What is Korrio’s Playflow sports automation platform?  How can it assist you in this initiative?

SG: Playflow is a sports automation platform that combines the administrative capabilities that sports organizations require (eg: registration & payment, team formation, roster management, scheduling, etc.) with the things that teams and families need to manage their sports life (scheduling, communication, alerts for last minute changes, social network, etc.).  Here is a link to a quick online tour of Playflow: https://korrio.com/tour/.

In the near future, through Korrio’s partnership with Axon Sports, players will be able to take baseline concussion tests online in a few short minutes and store their results in Korrio’s Playflow platform, rather than having to visit a health care professional’s office to take the test.  This convenient online approach will make it easy, affordable and better equip families to manage concussions should they occur. The peace of mind knowing you have a current baseline test is the start to protecting your child.

FB: Is this an altruistic endeavor for Korrio?  Do you believe there is a long term business opportunity for your company in this developing area?

SG: This endeavor fits well into Korrio’s overarching goal of keeping kids safe on and off the field, and as parents of youth athletes this issue is important to us, so we want to be at the front of the parade in raising concussion awareness and promoting management plans.  From a business perspective, this fits well into Korrio’s long term goals of becoming the standard automation platform for sports organizations while also being the place families go to manage their sports lives.  The more we can do to accelerate these larger goals, the better it is for our business and our customers.

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3 Responses

  1. I spent several years, before law school, administering neuropsychological tests to inpatient and outpatient populations. Knowing what went into a test battery for those suspected of a traumatic brain injury – I get nervous when an online tool is advertised to cover the same material, especially when the target population is kids. I saw the disclaimer on the report that the information is not “medical information,” but I am not sure that the disclaimer helps calm my concerns.

    Some pro leagues, such as the NHL, require pre-season testing (might take 3-4 hours per player, individually tested) in order to compare their cognitive functioning when a concussion is suspected. For others, without a baseline, psychologists use level of education, patient history and indicator tests of pre-injury functioning (such as the WRAT) to estimate an individual’s baseline for comparison purposes.

    And I realize that all this is unrealistic for youths with injuries, so an effort to aid them is laudable. But where the target population is youth (and their parents) who are likely unfamiliar with such tests, the chance of misinterpreting the results are higher. Further, one independent reviewer was concerned about the rate of false injury reports – and the official response was just to test again to get a truer measure of functioning. I’m not sure that this is realistic either. And although some studies are cited in its technical data, the test is still a new measure that does not have the decades of research and support currently available with standard tests. While I think the development of a quick assessment that is scientifically reliable and valid is an important goal and worth developing; with the current amount of research behind this test, I would hesitate before testing my daughters.

  2. As an MD (pediatrics) and a long time soccer coach in my community I have a number of concerns and want to lend Korrio and soccer parents some solid advice. Any test-especially a baseline concussion test needs to be done in a controlled situation with a trained specialist to monitor it. There are legal cases in the works that have to do with return to play with concussive symptoms even though a baseline test has cleared an athlete.

    Next, while your technology is sound (have used it this fall) why not tell your parents about the one group who truly have been leading the parade in youth sports concussion education for more than a decade. They are MomsTeam.com. They spoke to us at the National Sports Concussion Summit a couple of years ago and actually I have turned to their concussion safety center often and all of my patients parents know about it. They are pros in this area with a staff of solid journalists.

    Finally, a technology question-about the payfl

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