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10/16/2012 5:00:00 PM
Book details what parents should know about concussions in children
Rosita Smith

BLYTHE - Football season is upon us and the airways are full of news about all our favorite players and the teams for which they play. But have you noticed?

There has been an uptick in reports about injuries, especially head injuries and the damage that a concussion can do to you.

The macho way of "playing through the pain" is losing favor and a new awareness of the trauma brought on by brain concussions is gaining hold.

Long a silent epidemic, concussions are fast becoming the most dominating and important issue in all of sports, whether it be the 5-year-old learning how to throw a football or a professional player making his thousandth hoop toss to clinch his team's winning score.

America's leading expert on how to protect young athletes and keep sports safe, Robert Cantu, M.D., has penned Concussions and Our Kids. This is a book that should be in every home that houses budding sport players and should be read by every parent before he/she consents to have their child play any kind of sport.

Trainers and coaches need this book on-hand to refer to when making injury decisions. Concussions are not to be taken lightly. Improper treatment or no treatment at all, can lead to serious consequences down the line.

A blow to the head causes the brain to spin around inside the head, either in a straight line or in circles. Dr. Cantu explains how the brain can be damaged by these forces and the changes that can occur.

Helmets can help protect the wearer from massive harm but they have to be used and they need chin straps to help them stay on.

They are not foolproof, that's why you need to be able to recognize the symptoms of a concussion: headache, nausea, vomiting, balance and/or visual problems, dizzy spells, sensitivity to light and noise.

Cognitive problems include poor concentration and memory, feeling mentally slow as if in a fog that will not lift. There may be sleep disturbance, either more or less than usual, or difficulty falling sleep. The patient may be nervous and irritable, or sad to the point of depression or suicide.

If you have a child whose head has been recently bumped and you see any of these symptoms you should immediately withdraw him/her from playing and get a head trauma evaluation.

Football and hockey come immediately to mind when you think of collision sports but there are many other non-collision sports that can cause concussions: boxing, wrestling, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, cheerleading, martial arts, skateboarding and tennis.

Dr.Cantu highlights a number of kids who suffered through concussion's after effects and the rebuilding of their life after concussions. All of them are uplifting. It proves that there is a life after concussions - you just have to make a few adjustments.

If you have kids in to sports, please read this book. It will make some hard decisions concerning participation easier to make because you will understand the effects of sports on your budding sportster and be able to choose a sport that is best suited to his/her talents and interests.

Concussions and Our Kids is now at the Palo Verde Valley Library in Blythe, on the new non-fiction shelf under 617.102 CANTU.

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