Thursday, May 21, 2009
Head injuries should be taken seriously when kids play sports
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

The recent death of Natasha Richardson from a head injury reminded us that such injuries can be serious. Head injuries occur relatively frequently in sports. A recent study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy looked at head injuries in high school athletes. About 10% of all sports injuries are concussions from head injury. In the 15-24 age group, sports are second only to auto accidents as the cause of traumatic brain injury. The study revealed a number of interesting things. The first was related to the specific sports. It was not a surprise that football accounts for the highest number of head injuries. There are about 55,000 head injuries per year. However, a little more surprising was that boys and girls soccer were second and third. Each accounted for between 20,000 and 30,000 injuries annually. The second was the fact that 40% of athletes returned to action prematurely. This means that 4 out of every 10 are at risk for a more serious injury. There is a condition known as second impact syndrome. In this condition, the second injury adds to the first injury. The result can be fatal. There were two deaths from this in North Carolina last year in football players. Both had returned to play within two days of a concussion. The third fact is that 16% of football players return to play on the same day that they lose consciousness. There is no reason for this. A loss of consciousness of any sort means a non-professional player is out of the game for the rest of the day. That should be a non-negotiable point. We often treat our young athletes as little adults. They are not. Their growing bodies and brains need to be treated differently than professional athletes who are already fully grown. Parents and coaches need to think about the health of the players more than about the outcome of the game.

Look Good...Feel Better Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. Look Good...Feel Better, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The next program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, June 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required, and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 302-629-6611, ext. 2588.

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a General Cancer Support Group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The free monthly support group meets in the Second Floor Conference Room of the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The Wellness Community-Delaware is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. All facilitators of these groups are trained mental health professionals. For more information and to register, call 645-9150. Depression Support Group There will be a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call Life Matters Counseling and Consulting at 302-465-6612.

Stroke support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Thursday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m. at the hospital's second floor Cancer Care Center Conference Room. The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required and there is no charge to participate. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 302-629-6611, ext. 8626.

NMH offers diabetes education Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a four-session diabetes education program beginning June 3 and continuing June 10, 17 and 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the hospital. The cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. The goal is to give participants the self-management skills necessary to control their diabetes. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required. To register and to obtain additional information regarding the course, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 302-629-6611, ext. 2446.

Volunteers needed The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society needs volunteers to help with their spring fundraising event Twilight at Baywood Greens on Friday, May 29 in Long Neck. Volunteers are needed on the day of the event from 4 to 8 p.m. and may choose from a range of activities, including registering event participants, supporting participants at rest stops, distributing t-shirts, loading and unloading supplies, setting up refreshments, and cheerleading at the finish line. For more information, contact Jenna Wagner at 302-655-5610 or email