Bumps and Bruises are Normal

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Infant Karenni Boy by joeymarasek/via Flickr

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve got a six-month-old son who doesn’t sleep very well. As part of my calming-him-down-in-the-middle-of-the-night routine, I walk around the house rocking him. A few nights ago, I lay down on the couch with him on my chest. He fell asleep and I didn’t want to wake him by standing up so I fell asleep too. Maybe an hour later I was jolted awake by a thump and crying and I realized that my baby had rolled off of me and had landed on the floor. I picked him up right away and he stopped crying after about 10 minutes. I called our doctor and the advice nurse asked me a bunch of questions and decided that there was no need to come in. That was reassuring and my son is his usual cheerful self. But I still feel like I’ve failed as a dad for being so careless in the first place. Do you think I’ve done any permanent damage to my child?

A: If your doctor didn’t have you come into the office and your son is behaving normally, chances are very slim that he’ll have any long-term effects. I can’t say the same about you. If you were to ask everyone you know who has children whether they’ve ever hand a similar experience, you’ll hear dozens of stories about falls, head-bumps, black eyes, stitches, and broken bones. Babies fall a lot and bumps and bruises are normal. So try to stop torturing yourself. You’re not a bad father—just a human one who’ll be a lot more careful in the future.

That said, I understand your residual fear. When my oldest daughter was about your son’s age, I walked through a doorway with her riding on my shoulders and she smacked her head on the top of the door frame. Our pediatrician reassured me that everything was okay. That didn’t quite do it for me, though. In fact, it wasn’t until she got an A on her AP calculus final that I finally stopped worrying that I’d caused brain damage.
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Preventing Sports-Related Head Injuries

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, 30 million children and teens participate in some type of organized sport or recreational activity, and each year there are more than 3.5 million injuries from sports participation. Almost a third of childhood injuries are sports-related, with sprains, strains, and traumatic brain injuries (most commonly called concussions) being the most common. In September 2013, CBS News reported that sports-related head injuries had increased by more than 90 percent since 2001.
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Stop the Invisible Injury–Parents and Coaches Share the Responsibility, Part 2

This is Part 2 of our 2-part series. In Part 1, we talked about the prevalence of concussions, the signs and symptoms, and the important role parents and coaches play in preventing and treating them.

 

Based on a foundation of competition and physical perseverance, it’s hard to withstand the “win at all costs” pressure that has come to exist in athletics.  CoachUp football coach and former Patriots offensive tackle, Max Lane, recognizes that pressure but also understands the life-long impact this injury can have on an athlete.  “Everybody wants to win.  Coaches have to let the players know that at the beginning of the season that the coach is fostering an atmosphere of safety first, even when that means safety over winning.  The coach has to communicate to the players that it’s okay for them to speak up if they’ve been hit in the head.” [Read more…]

Stop the Invisible Injury–Parents and Coaches Share the Responsibility, Part 1

Suffering from a concussion can occur in any sport, and at all levels of play, from little league to the major leagues.  In fact, the US Center for Disease Control estimates 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities each year.  Early education and a shift in the “tough it out” mentality is needed in order to reduce the frequency of concussions in young athletes, as well as, reduce the number of concussions that go undiagnosed.  Parents and coaches have to raise the bar and set the standard that the athlete’s health is first priority. [Read more…]

Concussions: Getting Your Head in the Game Isn’t Always Smart

ptsd

heading soccer ball can cause brain damageIf you’re a soccer fan, nothing can compare with the sight of a player “heading” the ball into the goal. Being able to do that takes years of practice—practice that aside from improving skills, may be causing brain damage–even if it doesn’t cause a concussion.  [Read more…]

Talking about Sex + Understanding Concussions

[amazon asin=0738215082&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Deborah Roffman, author of Talk to Me First.
Topic: Everything you need to know to become your kids’ “go-to” person about sex.
Issues: Teach kids to view sexually-saturated media critically; how to become an approachable, askable resource for your children; how to foster ongoing conversations about difficult topics; put meaningful context around the topic of sexuality in a world where most messages are misguided and uninformed.


[amazon asin=161168224X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, author of Ahead of the Game.
Topic: Understanding youth sports concussions.
Issues: What exactly is a concussion? When can a child who’s had a concussion get back on the field? How concussions negatively affect children’s GPA, school performance, and emotional behavior; helmets and mouthguards—even when properly fitted—can’t prevent concussion; why girls are more vulnerable to concussion that boys; why state concussion laws may not be enough to keep kids safe.