Concussion and Your Children

For many years, I have wondered why more attention hasn’t been paid to the constant head-butting that goes on in football, and other sports that our children are playing.

I was recently able to watch the new movie Concussion starring Will Smith and was so happy to see that Hollywood is now bringing attention to this issue.

The movie was about the recognition by a courageous pathologist from Nigeria named Bennet Omalu,M.D., of a new brain disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The reason it took so long to recognize this disease is that it can only be diagnosed after death, by examining the brain under a microscope.

CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease that is found in some athletes with a history of repeated brain trauma. More than 50 former NFL players have been diagnosed with the disease after their death, so far.

With this disease, nothing is seen on an MRI or CAT scan of the brain while the person is alive. This is the reason that the NFL was able to argue for so long that there is no evidence of damage to its players’ brains.

In April 2015, a class action lawsuit brought by more than 5000 ex-NFL players reached a settlement. The agreement allowed up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma. Of note, over 200 former players opted out of settling the lawsuit so that they could sue the NFL on their own.

In November 2015, former players’ attorneys appealed the NFL’s $1 billion plan to address concussion-linked injuries in former players because the plan excluded the diagnosis of CTE, which is the signature brain disease of football, from being compensated!

In addition, the movie with Will Smith brings out the point that one condition for the settlement was that the NFL did not have to reveal to the public what it knew about brain related injuries, or when it knew it.

In a recent court hearing, there is a significant quote from the NFL head lawyer Paul Clement. He stated that:

“The science could determine that all that matters for CTE is the concussive hits you took before your 18th birthday.”

As a physician I think it very unlikely that CTE results exclusively from the head injuries occurring before the age of 18. This comment will have repercussions for the NFL, when thousands of mothers hear this remark and stop their children from playing football.

Most likely, it is the accumulation of the head injuries over the course of an individual’s life that leads to these tragic diagnoses.

I wrote this article largely to bring this issue to the attention of the mothers that get my email and read my blog, whose sons are playing football. Another quote from the end of the movie is that actuaries have calculated that anyone playing football has a 28% chance of ending up with some type of brain disorder including CTE.

I also ask the same question regarding “heading” the ball in soccer. Does that knock out IQ points in our kids?

There is a quote from the movie where the NFL rep says to Dr Amalu: “Do you understand the impact of what you are doing? If just 10% of the mothers in America decide that football is too dangerous for their sons to play, that is IT. It is the end of football.”

Are you in that 10%?

Please read some of the links I give you below to see what is happening with this issue.

Here is an excellent interview and discussion of the movie and on concussions from NPR:

Here is a video-albeit simple-of what happens to the brain with a concussion:


Meet the Real Dr. Bennet Omalu—with a great video interview of Dr Omalu 

How CTE Affects the Brain from PBS 

NFL Cringes at Clements comment

Playing Contact Sports in Youth May Raise Risk for Degenerative Brain Disease

Contact sports played by amateurs increase risk of degenerative disorder

Judge ApprovesNFL Concussion Lawsuit Settlement 

Former NFLer: ‘Your mind just goes crazy’

87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease

Doctor: NFL player who killed girlfriend, self likely had CTE

NFL concussion deal excludes central brain injury

NFL Concussion Litigation

For the average adult with brain injury, the unemployment rate two years after diagnosis is 60 percent

Photo credits

Sudbury Youth Soccer

Mayfield Clinic

Dr Amaulu and Will Smith

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Honey Works as Good as Cough Syrup: Four Beneficial Uses of Honey

honey flowersBeekeepers have been raising bees to produce honey since at least 700 BC. Back then, this sweet, natural sweetener was a rarity used in religious ceremonies and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Typically, the only people who could afford honey for eating were the very wealthy.

Nowadays, you can find honey in a variety of colors, flavors and textures (not to mention qualities) in just about every supermarket.

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Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and How to Re-Set Your Resolutions NOW For Success

How many times have you vowed to lose 20 pounds starting with the New Year or said that this was the year you were going to cut back on your drinking or quit smoking once and for all?

After celebrating on New Year’s Eve and using it as the last hurrah to overindulge, most people set out on a stringent quest of resolutions beginning the very next day. Then around the end of January, many fail to live up to their stated resolutions, give up and go back to their former lifestyle.

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Can You “Catch” Obesity? Experts Weigh in on the Theory That Obesity is Contagious

About one-third of U.S. adults, and 16 percent of children and teens, are currently obese, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while it’s known that obesity increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and even cancer, what’s not entirely known are all of the causes.

Experts agree that overeating and lack of exercise are two major contributors to excess weight. But recent research has suggested that something else may also be at play — a virus that’s as easy to catch as the common cold.

Is There an Obesity Virus?

Studies suggest that an adenovirus called AD-36 may be involved in some cases of obesity. There are more than 50 types of adenoviruses that cause illnesses such as the common cold and gastroenteritis. Typically, the illnesses are not serious and resolve on their own.

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How to Prepare for Thanksgiving Without as Much Stress

While most people visualize their Thanksgiving Day as a warm and loving time surrounded by family, cozy aromas of turkey and stuffing cooking in the oven and feelings of gratitude, it can also induce stress brought on by high expectations, hectic preparation for the big day, family spats and nagging worries of overeating. It’s things like this that build up and many times take the joy out of what could be a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday.

The key is to be prepared in advance before the holiday to create your ideal Thanksgiving, one without stress and chaos.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner there are 10 things on your checklist to make it as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

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The Scoop on Poop! What’s Bad, What’s Good and What’s Too Embarrassing to Mention (But You Probably Should)?

poopEven though we all do it, pooping is one topic that most people would rather NOT discuss — even with their doctor. Yet, your bowel habits — from the frequency to the shape and color of your poop — can give you invaluable clues about what’s going on inside your body. You may find it crude, embarrassing or just plain gross, but the truth is that from a health standpoint your poop is not something to be ignored.

Dr. Oz on Poop: “S Shaped” is Best

You may have seen Dr. Mehmet Oz’s appearance on the Oprah show several years back during which he talked all about poop. According to Dr. Oz, your bowel movements should be “S shaped” and hit your toilet with a “swoosh” sound. Pellet-like poop that plops into the water is a sign of constipation.

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A Nasal Cleansing a Day May Keep the Doctor Away

What happens when you don’t feel well… Nasal Congestion; Sinus Headaches; Sinus-drip… When you begin to feel sick… what do you do and what can you do… without taking drugs… what natural remedy historically has been used by as many as a billion people every day?

Simple Inexpensive Painless Nasal Cleansing (without toxic Drugs), known as “Neti”, has been a common easy to use wellness practice for many centuries.

This is an ancient healing system from India, done effectively by billions of people for thousands of years.  This simple, easy and soothing technique is actually one of the six purification techniques done by many prior to doing yoga and many do daily religiously.

This ancient treatment can reduce the exchange of sinus fluids and viruses in addition to personal benefits of sinus congestion relief.

Nasal cleansing, also known as nasal irrigation, involves using a neti pot to pour a lukewarm saline solution (pure water mixed with natural salt) inside one side of your nostril while tilting your head sideways so the water runs out of your other nostril.

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LASIK Surgery: What are the Risks vs. the Benefits?

wearing contact lenses

Every year, 1.3 million Americans undergo LASIK surgery to correct their vision, and most have good results. In fact, only 2 percent to 3 percent of LASIK (which stands for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) patients have complications, according to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

But while the opportunity to see clearly without glasses or contacts is a tempting one, is it worth the potential risks that do exist? This is the question that everyone considering LASIK surgery must face.

How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK surgery permanently changes the shape of your cornea, which is the clear covering in front of your eye. The surgery works like this:

  • A special knife is used to cut a flap in your cornea, which is folded back to reveal the middlesection, or stroma, of the cornea.
  • Pulses from a laser are used to vaporize a portion of the stroma.
  • The flap is replaced.

The idea is that once the shape of your cornea is changed, it will be able to bend, or refract, light rays to focus on your retina, rather than at a point beyond, or short of, it, helping you to see better. Generally speaking, LASIK may help someone who has nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism.

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Toddler Safety: Eight Important but Overlooked Ways to Keep a Baby Safe in Your Home

toddler safety

Accidents are the leading cause of death among toddlers, so keeping your home baby-proof is an essential part of being a parent, grandparent or anyone who has babies and toddlers who visit their home.

While most people are aware of the major risks, such as keeping toxic chemicals and medicines out of the reach of children, there are many other, less known ways that children can get hurt.

If children are ever in your home, here are the top things you can do to make sure that they stay out of harm’s way.

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10 Ways to Make Your Marriage Last–Even Get Stronger–During a Recession And a Great Recovery!

Money is at the root of many marital arguments, even in a normal economy. But right now especially, as high unemployment rates sustain and savings accounts are dwindling, the heightened financial stress is taking an extra toll on many relationships.

In fact, according to a Harris Interactive poll, 38 percent of men and women said that money was the number-one cause of marital conflict … and that was in 2006 — before the economy really got bad. The bottom line is when finances get tight, an issue many couples are dealing with right now, it puts extra stress on your marriage. But that doesn’t mean your happiness or intimacy has to suffer. With the tips that follow you can be sure your marriage will survive these tough times, and may even come out stronger.

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