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(BPT) - You’re spending your nights standing on the sidelines, cheering your daughter as she dribbles a soccer ball across the field. Or maybe you’re cheering on your quarterback son as he yells “hut” at a football scrimmage. The school year - and its associated sports - is an exciting time. But with that excitement comes the risk of traumatic injuries - including concussions.
Concussions are generating a lot of attention these days as an increasing amount of research highlights the difficulties in treating them.
To this end, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has developed Sports Concussion Guidelines - available in both English and Spanish - to help coaches, schools, parents and athletes better understand concussions, and when an injured athlete should be allowed to return to play. The guidelines cover the following:
Players: Concussions can happen in any sport and at any time during the season. A concussion can occur when the head hits, or is hit by, a solid surface. It can also happen when the head’s motion is stopped suddenly, even if it doesn’t strike, or is struck by, a solid surface. If you witness changes in the behavior or personality of a player on your team, or if you see them giving a blank stare, acting disoriented, suffering from memory loss or even vomiting, ask the player if he/she was involved in a collision. Alert your coach if you witness or are involved in any violent contact while on the field.
Parents: Educate yourselves about the signs of a concussion, as you know your child best when he/she might be exhibiting unusual behaviors. Download the AAN’s concussion reference sheet for parents, coaches and players at AAN.com/concussion, and share with your young athlete your concerns about him/her playing with a head injury. While cheering for your child in practice and in games, keep an eye on the play for any potential head collisions and report anything significant that may have been missed.
Coaches: Have a conversation with your players early in the season about the dangers of concussions, and communicate clearly that they can happen in any sport at any time. The AAN offers a Concussion Quick Check mobile app to help coaches, parents, and athletic trainers quickly identify if a player is exhibiting signs of a concussion. Additionally, listen to your players if they are talking about someone having taken a hard hit. Enforce the rule that players should not be allowed to return to play following a head injury until they are evaluated and cleared by a physician.
Physicians: Concussions are also generating more attention in the medical field. Physicians are ethically obligated to safeguard the current and future physical and mental health of the student athletes they treat, whether the student has a concussion or not. This includes providing parents and athletes with information about concussion risk factors, symptoms and discussing the potential for long term brain health effects from repeated blows.
“Brain disease threatens to steal from us what makes us human,” says retired NFL player Ben Utecht, who suffered five known concussions during his football career and is now the spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and its foundation, the American Brain Foundation. “I will fight relentlessly to see that through research we can in fact find the origins of healing through the cures that are waiting to be discovered.”
(BPT) - One of the ways people with diabetes can help manage their disease is balancing food with physical activity, according to the American Diabetes Association (Association). By maintaining a balanced diet with regular exercise, you have the ingredients needed to help live a quality life.
There are many ways you can approach a balanced lifestyle and incorporate regular exercise. Here are five tips from the Association to help you get started:
1. Create a healthy plate – It’s easy to put together healthy meals when you use the diabetes plate method. Start with drawing an imaginary line down the middle of the plate. On one side, cut the section in half again. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables like green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and carrots. In one of the smaller sections, put grains and starchy foods, and put protein foods in the last section. Add a serving of fruit, a serving of dairy, or both as your meal plan allows. To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea or coffee.
2. Healthy snacks – When it comes to snacking, think beyond chips and cookies. There are better choices that will give you a nutrition boost and keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal. Some good ideas are small portions of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and low-fat dairy.
3. Exercise and blood glucose – With diabetes, safely exercising while maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is important. The Association recommends you have a plan on how to treat hypoglycemia, especially if you have type 1 diabetes. Having a fast-acting carbohydrate like glucose tabs or glucose gel available during your exercise routine can help you to quickly treat hypoglycemia. Test your blood glucose levels (if prescribed) to see how different types of exercise affect you.
4. Aerobic exercises – Aerobic exercise is important for everyone. For good health, it is recommended that you aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week. Examples of aerobic exercises include brisk walking, biking, dancing, rowing, playing tennis, swimming and climbing stairs. These kinds of exercises help lower blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. Aerobic exercise also makes your heart and bones strong, lowers stress and can improve blood circulation.
5. Strength training is also important – Aim to do some type of strength training at least two times per week. Lifting weights or using weight machines, resistance bands and calisthenics are all great options. Strength training helps lower your blood glucose and builds stronger muscles and bones.
For those with diabetes who are interested in getting active, and their friends and family who want to support them, the Association has 108 Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes signature fundraising walks happening across the country. These walks have raised more than $20 million a year to support the Association’s mission to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
Walking this year are Mitch and Carly Lenett, a father-daughter team of Red Striders. Red Striders are walkers living with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes. They are a reminder of why this walk exists.
“As a person who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 45 years, and a father to Carly, who is also living with type 1, walking side by side with other Red Striders is an empowering experience,” Mitch says.
Though the pair has raised thousands of dollars for their local Step Out walk, the family wanted to raise even more for the Association, so Carly combined her love of swimming with fundraising. In the last two years, she has raised more than $20,000 in pledges just for swimming laps. In 2013, at 8 years old, she swam 110 laps, more than 1.5 miles, with Olympic silver medalist Kristy Kowal by her side all the way.
“Carly is such an inspiration, not just to me as a father, but as a fellow person with type 1 diabetes,” Mitch says. “She is a true demonstration that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you.”
Carly is now in training for her 3-mile swim with Kowal on Sept. 20. Her goal is to raise $15,000.
For more information about the Step Out walks or to register for a walk in your community, visit www.diabetes.org/stepout or call (888) DIABETES (888-342-2383).