Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe

Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe

By:  Robert Cantu, Mark Hyman

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See the movie "Concussion." But first read the classic book from the acclaimed concussion doctor who's changing how America thinks about safety in youth sports.  

 

From Washington to Quebec, from offices at the NFL to the New York Times, from the NHL players union to the soccer fields of Anytown, U.S.A., people are talking about concussions. Long believed by experts to be a silent epidemic, concussions are fast becoming the most dominating and important issue in all of sports. At the center of this crisis—and one of the key reasons for this increased awareness—is Dr. Robert Cantu, the country’s leading expert on athletic brain trauma and a pioneer in the study of the link between concussions and progressive brain disease in athletes. He has treated thousands of patients who have experienced brain trauma, from high-profile professional athletes to peewees, including young boys and girls who play soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, and other sports. And he is on the frontlines of groundbreaking research that is changing the way sports are played. 

 

Concussions and Our Kids is the first prescriptive book of its kind to address the issue of head trauma in sports and provide preventive solutions to protect athletes and give guidelines for the way sports can be played safely. Dr. Cantu and sports journalist Mark Hyman have crafted a book that is part manifesto, part manual, explaining to parents and coaches what head trauma is, why it has become a focus of national attention, and why some practices in youth sports must change. They also outline the measures we can take to protect our children. Readers will learn: 

 

• The signs and symptoms of a concussion 

• Three concussion tests parents can give at home 

• Concussions and what “rest” really means 

• How concussions improperly treated can develop into post-concussion syndrome 

• Why total brain trauma (not just the number of concussions) is a risk factor for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) 

• Why helmets are no guarantee of safety 

• Why concussions are prevalent in all sports, not just football and hockey 

And more 

 

Addressing what sportswriter Bill Simmons calls “the single most important issue in sports today,” this book is essential reading for parents, coaches, players, and all those interested in young athletes, their safety, and their future well-being. 

 

 

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547774039

  • ISBN-10: 0547774036

  • Pages: 256

  • Price: $6.99

  • Publication Date: 09/18/2012

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Robert Cantu
Author

Robert Cantu

ROBERT CANTU, M.D. is the Chief of Neurosurgery, Chairman Department of Surgery and Director Service of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital as well as the Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. He also serves as special advisor to the National Football League.
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Mark Hyman
Author

Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman, MD, is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, The Blood Sugar Solution, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, Ultrametabolism, The Ultramind Solution, The Ultrasimple Diet, and coauthor of The Daniel Plan and Ultraprevention.
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  • reviews

    "Throughout this reasoned yet cautionary text, the authors arm readers with critical information... Each sport receives the author's scrutiny as he calls for awareness, honest dialog, and meaningful change...his life-saving message should be mandatory reading for all those involved in kids' sports."

    --Publishers Weekly

     

    “Neurosurgeon Cantu offers parents, coaches and athletes an authoritative look at concussions...Cantu offers comprehensive research on post-concussion syndrome, second impact syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy....a sober look at a substantial health risk for young and mature athletes.”

    - Kirkus Reviews

     

    “Concussions have become the most important sports story of the decade, and there is no better person to read on the subject than Dr. Robert Cantu. This book comes along at a crucial time in our national conversation on the dangers of head injuries throughout American sports. It's a well-researched, riveting story that every coach and parent of a young athlete should read."

    - Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist, ABC News commentator, author of Best Seat in the House

     

    “This is an important, cutting edge work, by the premier specialist in his field. If you watch sports, or if you have a young athlete in your family, you need to read this book. It gives the expression, 'seeing stars' a whole new meaning.”

    - Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe columnist and author of The Curse of the Bambino and Senior Year

     

    “Much of the sports establishment wants players, and their parents, in the dark about concussions. This book shines the light.”

    - Gregg Easterbrook, football columnist, ESPN

     

    “Bob Cantu and Mark Hyman have been long-time leaders in America, widely disseminating common sense information on concussions in younger athletes; an issue so serious and newsworthy, that it’s warranted front page headlines in major media outlets. With this book, Bob and Mark will not sugarcoat anything; it’s a truly sobering reminder that even our children’s “playtime” can have serious medical and life consequences. If your children—or grandchildren—participate in sports, please read this book; you’ll agree with me afterwards that properly reflecting and acting upon its conclusions will give all these young athletes a better chance to become healthy and active adults.”

    - Bob Bigelow, Co-author, Just Let the Kids Play and former NBA First Round Draft Choice and Player

  • excerpts

    1

    What is a Concussion?

    “We need to do something now, this minute. Too many kids are at risk.”

    — Dr. Ann McKee (Time)

    “We still have this culture where it’s hard to convince people that a concussion is a very serious brain injury.”

    — Dawn Comstock, principal investigator, Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio State University (Time)

    IN THE LATE 1950S, I was a student at Cal-Berkeley and a member of Cal’s baseball team. We were playing Stanford one afternoon, and I came to bat. This was the dark ages before batters wore helmets with ear flaps. Our protection—if you can call it that—was a flimsy liner inside our felt caps.

       A pitch came inside and tight, and I didn’t react as quickly as I needed to. The ball caught me flush on the side of the head. The cap and the hard liner were just about worthless. The force of the blow stunned me, and I wobbled a bit as I made my way down the line to first base. This didn’t seem to bother anyone as much as the blood trickling from my ear. It wasn’t really coming from my ear—the force of the pitch had shattered the cap liner, which sliced into my scalp.

       The coaches didn’t know that, of course. They took one look at me and thought, “My God, Cantu has a skull fracture! Get him to the hospital!”

       In those days, it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone in either dugout that I might have had a concussion. Even at the hospital it wasn’t diagnosed. It’s only looking back with years of experience in this field that I can say—based on my symptoms, which included not knowing where I was for a while, lightheadedness, and a violent headache—that I certainly had a concussion.

       We’ve come a long way since those unenlightened times. Now head trauma in sports is a topic that leads nightly newscasts and is debated at every level of amateur and professional sports. I knew that concussions had become something of a national obsession when Jerry Seinfeld built an entire monologue around the question “Why did we invent the helmet?” Normally, there isn’t a lot of humor associated with head trauma of any kind, but Seinfeld’s take is amusing. First, he says, we invented sports, the main feature of which is slamming our heads into each other over and over. Then, “We chose not to avoid these activities but to make little plastic hats so we could continue our head-cracking lifestyles.”

    A Concussion Is . . .

    The word derives from the Latin concutere for “to shake violently.” Concussions are just that—a shaking of the brain inside the skull that changes the alertness of the injured person. That change can be relatively mild. (She is slightly dazed.) It can be profound. (She falls unconscious.) Both fall within the definition.

       According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost four million sports- and recreation-related concussions are recognized every year, with many times that number occurring but going unrecognized. For young people ages fifteen to twenty-four years, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury behind only motor vehicle crashes. According to research by the New York Times, at least fifty youth football players (high school or younger) from twenty different states have died or sustained serious head injuries on the field since 1997. One study estimates that the likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a recognized concussion is as high as 20 percent each season. In my office, there is a very discernible cycle in the number of concussion patients. In the fall (football season) and winter (ice hockey) the numbers go up, sometimes exceeding fifteen new young athletes with a concussion per week. In the spring and summer, they slide back down.

    How They Happen

    Concussions happen to all types of athletes—young and old, boys and girls, and in every conceivable sport. In a typical year, I see hundreds of children and adolescents in my office. We see more than athletes, of course. Some patients have suffered concussions in traffic accidents, mishaps around the house (they walked into a door), or a slip and fall in the grocery store.

       In a chapter later in this book, I offer observations about concussions in “non-collision” sports such as volleyball and tennis that parents—for good reason—do not think of as posing a great risk of concussion. However, there is risk in every sport. I would have to think a long time before naming one that has not sent a single patient to our office at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts.

       Many patients get well over two to three weeks, pretty much as expected. Other cases take unexpected turns. Mario was an eleven-year-old kid making one of those typical recoveries. After his concussion, he had a number of symptoms. We held him back from sports, gym, and physical activity. He was also under restrictions regarding his schoolwork. Just as he was about ready to resume normal activity, Mario hit his head on a bedpost and suffered another concussion. The process started all over again. I can’t count the number of stories like that. Unfortunately, they happen a lot.

       Concussions in sports occur when an athlete is slammed and makes sudden and forceful contact. That contact can be with the ground, court, or pool deck. It also can be with a batted ball, a thrown ball, a kicked ball, a goalpost (football), the boards (hockey), the scorer’s table (basketball), and of course another player. Dylan Mello, a high school soccer and ice hockey player from Rhode Island, suffered a severe concussion in a collision with a player who smashed him with the plaster cast on his arm.

       Concussions can and frequently do occur without any contact with the head. Rather, the player’s body receives a jolt that causes his shoulders and head to change speed or direction violently. It’s the whiplash effect. Inside the skull, the brain shifts in the cerebrospinal fluid and bangs against the inside of the skull. Even falling from five or six feet and landing upright, if it’s unexpected, and therefore jarring, can send a shock through the spine and shake the head with a force that may cause a concussion. Concussions that are the most damaging to the brain tend to be the ones that involve a direct blow to the head, however. When you’re struck in the head, the forces generated are about fifty times greater than being struck in another part of the body.

       With such a blow, the brain pushes forward until it crashes into the skull, reverses, and bumps against the back of the skull.

    Two Forces

    Concussions are caused by two types of accelerations. In this book we’ll refer to them not as accelerations but as forces. It’s a shorthand that might make an invisible and somewhat obtuse idea easier to think about. (There is a difference between the two, as noted in Newton’s law: force equals acceleration multiplied by mass.)

       The first of the two forces is linear. It’s akin to the straight-on force of a car smashing into a tree. At the moment of impact, the driver’s head snaps violently. The collisions cause injury, of course. That damage is worse than it would otherwise be because the inside of the skull is rough, not smooth. Contact between the brain tissue and the bony surface can be irritating, sometimes bruising or even tearing brain tissue.

     &...

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547774039

  • ISBN-10: 0547774036

  • Pages: 256

  • Price: $6.99

  • Publication Date: 09/18/2012

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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