For Wayzata High School junior Stephanie Garvis, striving for excellence is a common theme. Garvis, who started playing hockey at a young age, switched to goalie at the age of 10 and fully committed to the position during her first year as a 12U player.
She set her sights high, dedicated herself to being the best she could be and the results are starting to show. She has qualified for the CCM High Performance Girls 16 & 17 Spring Festivals the past two years and earned a chance to wear the navy and gold of the Trojans girls varsity team as a sophomore.
Meanwhile, Garvis has shown the same type of dedication off the ice by pursuing the Girl Scout Gold Award. The Gold Award is the highest achievement bestowed upon Girl Scouts, which she’s been a part of since second grade. It requires girls to identify an issue in their community, research it, develop a team and a plan to combat the issue, and then take action.
With her passion for hockey driving her motivation, Garvis began searching for a project that would have a positive impact on the hockey community, and it didn’t take long for her to narrow in on concussions.
“I don’t think people realize the seriousness of a brain injury,” said Garvis. “I think it’s really important to educate the community about how to address concussions.”
After investigating concussions and giving a presentation to coaches and managers of the Wayzata Youth Hockey Association (WYHA), Garvis and her dad developed the idea of creating a bag tag that would put the most important signs and symptoms of concussions in the hands of all players and coaches.
Most concussions in youth sports occur without a medical professional nearby. In some cases, such as skating outdoors, riding bikes or other kids’ activities, there aren’t even adults around when kids incur concussions. Therefore, it’s critical that both coaches and players are able recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions so they can be identified immediately. The bag tags provide a cost-effective way to deliver a simple and highly visible reminder on concussions to all participants.
“It’s really important that each individual player knows how to identify a concussion to get them the help they need as soon as possible,” said Garvis. “It’s about getting help so you can get back into the game as soon as possible.”
Plus, Garvis notes, “Once they know the information, it sticks with them for the rest of their life.”
With the support of WYHA, Garvis outfitted every youth hockey player and coach in the association with one of her bag tags last season.
This fall Garvis is striving to take her efforts to a new level once again. She developed a website that enables parents, coaches or volunteers from other hockey associations and even other sports to easily create personalized concussion awareness bag tags based on her original design.
To see how the concussion bag tags can help keep kids in your community safe, click here.