For Immediate Release February 7, 2012
The Western Golf Alliance enacts new policies for head related injuries
The golf organization champions the health of players as a paramount concern
LAS VEGAS. Citing recent trends within other major sports leagues related to the health and safety of athletes, the Western Golf Alliance Board of Directors today enacted new policies that place the organization at the forefront of protecting the long term health of golfers.
The new policies, announced during the Board of Directors' annual winter meeting being held at the Wynn Resort, relate specifically to any player, caddie, coach, or spectator that is struck in the head in any manner during a WGA event. Depending on the severity of the situation, and the degree to which the victim may exhibit 'concussion-like symptoms,' certain actions are now mandated that will protect the individual from long term health risks.
"Golf is a great sport, played by great individuals who deserve to have their futures protected," said Brian Gray, WGA president. "Many professional sports waited far too long to take action related to the emerging risks associated with head trauma injuries. The Western Golf Alliance will not sit by idly and allow the game of golf to make the same mistake."
Under the new policies, any individual who is struck in the head during a golf event in a way that creates substantial pain must be examined by an impartial neurological expert. That medical expert will have the sole authority to decide if the individual is clear to continue with their golfing activities, and if not, for how long the individual must be withheld from activity. If the individual is cleared and is struck in the head again, the person must cease and desist from golf for at least 24 hours. The same 24 hour policy applies to all situations, regardless of the third party examination, in which the individual is observed to have actually lost consciousness as a result of being struck in the head. Loss of consciousness for other reasons - such as, for example, excessive alcohol consumption - does not fall within the parameters of this policy.
Overall, the WGA was alarmed by the impact head injuries can have upon the future careers of elite athletes. In the past 12 months, star players from both the NFL and NHL have had their careers and future health jeopardized. The WGA wants to protect its members, and wants to ensure its fans can enjoy watching their favorite golfers for years to come.
"In the end, we recognized that life, health, and happiness are far more important than continuing with a single round of golf," Gray said. "Clearly, none of the major tours are yet willing to engage on this issue. Therefore, as one of the leading golf organizations in the United States, we are proud stand up, take up the banner, and lead the charge within the golf industry to protect golfers from debilitating long term head related injuries."
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/.