Is Football Worth it?

That’s a good question. You may have asked it yourself after reading the September 29, 2014, Time Magazine cover story, “He Died Playing This Game: Is Football Worth it?”

The article described the tragic death of a 16 year-old boy who died after suffering a traumatic brain injury while playing football last year. The story also cited the recent NFL court filing in which it was predicted that nearly one third of former players will develop dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other debilitating neurologic disorders. Combine that with the violent criminal behavior exhibited by some professional athletes of late, and the NFL’s woeful response and you’re left with the same question. Is football worth it?

Good to Know! Musings in Emergency Medicine

Anyone who works in emergency medicine develops a host of secrets and quick fixes for common problems. I’ve spent 25 years in this field, so I’ve built up an arsenal in that time.

Allergic reactions are among the most common medical problems we experience. Sometimes we know the cause, like hives that can develop after using a new soap. Sometimes, we have no idea why we are having that runny nose or sudden rash.

Early Retirement: UT Football Star Retires Due to Concussions

The University of Texas football fans got some bad news last week. During a press conference, Coach Strong revealed that quarterback David Ash had made the decision to retire from football. The reason? Multiple concussions.

Ash has repeatedly suffered head injuries. The most recent was during the season opening game against North Texas. But his problems with head injuries began long before that. In fact, concussion kept him out of play for most of last year’s games. According to Coach Strong, Ash had recently consulted with the UT medical staff, and all concurred that retirement from football would be the best option.

Concussion – It’s All in Your Head

Did you know that last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), emergency rooms around the country treated more than 170,000 sports-related brain injuries, including concussions involving young players? And that number doesn’t count the ones who didn’t go to an emergency room.

Concussions are far too common. They are a serious brain injury. We’re learning more all the time about the consequences of ignoring them. Just last week it was reported that one in three retired NFL players is expected to develop long-term cognitive problems earlier than the general population. They’re talking about problems like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What’s the Inside Story on Shock-absorbing Helmets?

In a great article published last month in Forbes, Chris Smith took an in-depth look at the concussion helmet backstory. Specifically, Smith posed a question about whether better head protection could help solve the NFL’s concussion problem.

As all football fans are aware, head injuries in the NFL have prompted concern and criticism; also a law suit that ended up in a $765 million settlement on behalf of thousands of NFL players. The concussion crisis, as it’s now being called, has prompted a great deal of interest in the development, testing and manufacturing of football helmets designed to provide better protection for players.

8 Painless, Effortless Steps to Better Health

Sometimes it seems our doctors ask a lot of us. They want us to lose weight, stop smoking, stop over-eating, start exercising and remember to take our medications properly. We all know these things aren’t easy. If they were, we’d begin immediately and do all of the above and more. We’d vow to avoid all junk food and never eat out again. We’d quit smoking and jump on the treadmill.

Obviously, that’s not the case. Anyone familiar with the series of articles I write knows that I advocate getting a concussion baseline exam as a no-risk, easy way to dramatically improve care of a concussed patient. But I also advocate for some no-risk, easy, “no brainers” for moving toward a healthier lifestyle. They require very little of your time. But they have big benefits.

Use Your Head – Rethink Your Reasons for Not Getting a Flu Shot

Less than a year ago, we lost a family member. He died from the flu.

My wife’s cousin, Rafa, was a great guy. He had a huge passion for life. That passion extended from his family to classic cars, to his motorcycle club and his “iron butt” status. He always greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug. He was not much older than I am. And he was taken from us way too early.

Flu season is approaching. And as it does, I’m once again urging all my readers to get the flu shot. I do this every day at the clinic. But this season, I’m not only encouraging my patients to get one, I’m asking that they reconsider the reasons they use for not getting one.

As Football Starts – Get Smart About Concussions

Looking at a recap of the numbers for the NFL’s preseason football games, it’s not the touchdowns or the rushing yards that grab my attention. It’s the number of concussions. So far this PRESEASON – the number of concussions among NFL players stands at 61.

That number was reached Sunday during the Houston/Denver game, when Wes Welker suffered a concussion – his third concussion in 10 months. By this time last year, the number of concussions stood at 40.