Prof. Doug Abrams is the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Safety Award presented by USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body. He is the first lawyer to receive the award, which usually recognizes a nationally known physician or medical researcher for “outstanding contributions through many years of service to make hockey a safer game for all participants.”
Prof. Abrams coached youth hockey for 42 years. He played a major role in creating Mid-Missouri’s organized youth hockey teams in 1991. During his 11 years as the new Mid-Missouri youth hockey association’s first president, enrollment grew from 25 players to 185 by assuring fair and equal opportunity, providing need-based scholarships and stressing citizenship education. His teams’ community service projects won national, state and local recognition; a local newspaper called one team “a philanthropic organization on skates.”
Now he speaks and writes about concussions and other prominent youth sports safety issues. “Tolerance for concussions should be considerably lower in children’s games than in the pros,” he wrote for a symposium at the University Mississippi School of Law. “Professional athletes are well paid adults who can decide for themselves how much risk of injury to tolerate, but children play to have fun and develop their skills.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader has called Prof. Abrams “one of the people who help serve as the conscience for anyone involved in youth sports,” and “a nationally known authority on youth sports.” He will receive the Excellence in Safety Award at USA Hockey’s Annual Congress at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs on June 7.