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Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe Paperback – September 24, 2013
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CTE brain damage is the result of repetitive head hits sustained in football practices and games. It's the practices, in the "old years", where the players wore their helmets 5-days a week for several hours…maybe 4-5. New rules have changed that. My husband is diagnosed with "short term memory."
A short time ago, Taylor Twellman, whose story was outlined in the book, came to speak to my daughter's soccer club. It was extremely eye-opening for many of us there to hear him, and I'm grateful for his honesty. We need to take this subject matter seriously and become well-informed. After that talk, however, I still had questions about how concussions work and what we parents should do about it. This book has addressed them all. Thank you particularly for the directive to trust our instincts when we observe subtle changes in their mood, behavior, etc.
Update:this book was so invaluable I purchased a copy for the high school sports coach.
This book is a great read: the science, the physics, the anatomy, the healing and the policy issues. As a school board member, I bought copies for my colleagues. (The superintendant and AD were already on board). Armed with fundamental knowledge, fellow members could finally understand why it was so important that we limit the number of full-contact football practices at our high school and reduce the total load of subconcussive blows in a season (which did indeed dramatically lower our concussion cases). Sports officials should read it. They need support for their courage when they make a decision to send a brain-injured player to the sidelines (in the face of irrational coaches, screaming parents and roaring fans). It's also a very useful book for school administrators, teachers, and counselors. When the doctor says "rest is best," he or she also might add, "testing is not resting." Schools need to consider their proper roles, with ready-to-go age-appropriate model "academic emergency plans" for brain-injured students. Finally many kids, from middle school on, can read it for themselves. They will come away not only prepared to help themselves, but also teammates who need support and empathy to care for themselves properly after an injury.
On the other hand, this is not the book I would recommend first to parents or grandparents as their guide to dealing with their own students' concussions. If your child is involved in any sport, you must have a list of concussion symptoms on your refrigerator, ready to scan when the child isn't "himself." (Because even simple accidents can cause concussion: a rower might have a boat fall on her; a young swimmer can slip on the pool deck.) You must also have a guide which quickly prepares you for YOUR students' concussion. You need to be ready to properly support his or her recovery. So, you might look a bit further for a book that spends more time on signs, symptoms, suggestions for finding a local health professional knowledgeable in concussion (don't assume it's your local neurologist), and tips on a variety of helpful therapies for extended cases (like vestibular rehab for balance issues).