More Young People Suffering Concussions

About 100,000 children a year seek emergency treatment for concussions and that number is going up, according to a new report from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Mark Halstead and his colleagues found that the number of ER visits for children under 13 years old doubled and went up by 200 percent among older teens between 1997 and 2007.
The majority of injuries occur in organized team sports, especially football, basketball, soccer, and ice hockey, even though there has been a decline in the number of young people participating in those activities between 1997 and 2007.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidelines for parents and doctors about what to do when a young person suffers a concussion.
Symptoms usually go away within a week to ten days, but parents should seek help if the child experiences headaches, is unable to move an arm or leg, and/or vomits. Other symptoms may be lightheadedness, confusion, or loss of consciousness.

“No athlete should go back to play the same day they have a concussion,” according to the guidelines as published in the journal Pediatrics.

Professor Ann McKee, a neurologist from Boston University, believes that brain damage from sports like football and soccer can lead to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). According to her research, only one in 100,000 people get the disease, which means that among professional football players, only one or two should have been stricken since 1970. However, there are 14 people retired from the National Football League with Lou Gehrig’s disease since that time.

Detention Education Offers a Lifeline to Troubled Teens

Spokane County, Washington has been providing education to incarcerated youth for 35 years. During the last school year, nearly 2,500 kids received at least part of their education through programs designed to help kids who are either in jail or have home-monitoring restrictions.

In staff writer Jody Lawrence-Turner’s report on the programs in July 19’s edition of the Spokesman-Review, she quoted appreciative adolescents who seemed to recognize and value the opportunity they were being given. “This made me realize I don’t have to live like that,’ said one teen whose parents are both in prison.”

Those are reassuring words from a young person who’s already started down a criminal and self-destructive path. They are proof that “bad” kids can turn their lives around if we’re willing to invest the time and money necessary to help them do so.