Bay Area Teen Turns Brain Injury into a Movement to Protect Other Girls From a Similar Tragedy
For immediate release: 8-11-19
San Francisco East Bay, CA
On March 17th, 2017, Freshman Sophia Kofoed, was playing lacrosse for her Junior Varsity high school team. She was having the game of her life when she experienced three consecutive impacts to her head within seconds. While the diagnosis at the time was a “possible concussion,” her decline over the subsequent 24 hours was terrifying. Due to what turned out to be a serious brain injury, Sophia, a straight-A student and high-performing athlete, dropped out of high school, spent months in a dark room, and endured a painstaking recovery that has taken nearly two years.
“For a long time I did not think I would ever be myself again,” says Kofoed, “I could not have imagined how a brain injury changes the essence of who you are.”
Now on the other side of her recovery, Sophia has focused on helping others. In the sport of lacrosse, boys are required to wear helmets but girls just wear goggles. And two recently completed scientific research studies , one 9 year study by a University of Colorado scientist and another published in July 2019 by an NYU scientist, have come out with empirical evidence showing that helmets/headgear would prevent a large number of concussions sustained in girls lacrosse.
“I love lacrosse and don’t think it is more dangerous than other fast-paced sports. But, if I can prevent one girl from going through what I have gone through, then this will be worth it,” says Sophia Kofoed.
As part of her work, Kofoed joined her father, other girls who have had similar injuries, and other leaders in launching the www.brainsafetyalliance.com to help educate people about this issue and get ASTM certified headgear mandated in California and nationwide in girls lacrosse.
“Because girls don’t want to be different, they don’t wear headgear voluntarily, and unless they have experienced it first hand as I have as a parent, most parents cannot imagine the potential impact of a brain injury. The entire personality of your child changes and in some cases, recovery will never be complete. You can’t just put a cast on the brain like you can with a broken bone,” explains Brad Kofoed, Sophia’s father.
“Research shows that over 34% of concussions (7 in 20) will be prevented and the severity of other impacts lessened if all girls wear helmets/headgear,” says Sophia. “So my goal is to see the league that I played in, Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association (NCJLA), join the state of Florida and the New York School district and mandate headgear before the 2020 season. Additionally, we have requested that US Lacrosse change their rules and position and mandate headgear for girls nationwide.”
Four of the 54 local California NCJLA clubs have joined the movement and are demonstrating leadership in helping advocate for this league rule change including Sacramento Lacrosse Association, Walnut Creek Warriors Lacrosse, Pleasanton Pride Lacrosse and Santa Cruz County Warriors Lacrosse.
About Brain Safety Alliance:
Brain Safety Alliance is a group of researchers, non-profit organizers, coaches, former lacrosse players, and parents who have come together out of the mutual concern and in some cases, the tragedy of a child’s brain injury. We are advocating for a headgear mandate to improve the safety of girls who are passionate about lacrosse and support the future growth of the game. We also support other safety measures. Read the FAQ’s to learn more:
Coach Brad Kofoed
Text or call: 925-457-0747
Brain Safety Alliance