Thursday, July 05, 2007
Should young kids play soccer?

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

Soccer becomes more and more popular every year. The more a sport becomes popular, the more frequent we see injuries from it. Soccer is no exception. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System looked at these injuries. They looked at emergency room data from 1990 to 2003. During this period there were 1.6 million children seen in ER's with soccer injuries. Most of them (59%) were boys. The current rate is about one ER visit for every 500 male participants per year. That rate has been steady since 2000. Thus if a child plays for 10 years, there is about a 1 in 50 chance that he/she will go to the ER during that period of time. Girls show a rising rate. While the number of injuries in boys has stayed about the same, girls' injuries continue to rise. That is likely due to a doubling of girls playing soccer since 1990. The most common injury is to the wrist and hand. It accounts for about 20% of the injuries. Ankle injuries make up 18%. Knee injuries make up 11%. The most common diagnosis is sprain or strain. It accounts for 36% of the injuries. Contusion or abrasion is second at 24%. Fractures make up 23% of the injuries. Boys are more likely to have face injuries. They are more likely to have head or neck injuries. They are more likely to have lacerations. They are more likely to be hospitalized for injuries. Girls are more likely to have ankle and knee injuries. Most injuries (87%) occur in children ages 10 to 18. However, younger children (ages 2-4) are more likely to have head and neck injuries. They are also more likely to be hospitalized. Most of the hospitalizations are for head injury. This leads to the question as to whether children that young have the skills necessary to protect against injury. That is true for both physical and mental skills. There really is not urgency for very young children to play a game that they do not really understand. It may make sense to wait until they older. That will protect them from the possibility of head injury. The good news is that the overall injury rate for soccer is lower than it is for other contact sports. It is like any other sport. It is important for parents to know about the potential problems so that they can take appropriate steps to minimize them for their children.

Blood Bank to use new program
Blood Bank of Delmarva has launched a new plasmapheresis program, which will yield a significant increase in its critical plasma supply. Plasmapheresis is an automated system which collects just plasma, the liquid portion of whole blood. Plasma is used to help treat a variety of diseases and conditions, like hemophilia, severe burns, shock, and exposure to rabies. All eligible AB (the universal plasma type) male donors are being asked to donate using this new process. Statistically only three percent of the population is AB positive; less than one percent (or one in every 167 people) is AB negative. "Because type AB blood is so rare, universal plasma is often in short supply," said Carrie Aiken, Blood Bank spokesperson. "With plasmapheresis, donors are able to help up to four patients with just one plasma donation." Annually, about three million units of plasma are transfused in the United States to patients in need. Throughout Delmarva, 350 donors are needed every day to meet the demands of local hospitals. To schedule an appointment to give blood, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit

Aging issue
Americans pride themselves on being free to go places and do things. But for millions with disabilities, that freedom is hampered by inaccessibility. The Sussex County Advisory Committee for the Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities invites residents concerned about accessibility issues to attend the committee's next meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, July 16. William Payne will present a DVD highlighting accessibility issues right here in Sussex County. Mr. Payne, of Lewes, is a caregiver who has studied and been involved with accessibility issues since 1994. Committee members will use the time to better understand problems that pedestrians with disabilities face when trying to navigate their communities. An open discussion about the issue will follow the presentation. Mr. Van Milligan, Sussex County Chief of Building Code Inspectors, also will discuss current enforcement measures by the Building Code office, and explain whether enforcement of provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act rests with county, state or federal governments. The meeting is open to the public. The Sussex County Advisory Committee for the Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities is an 11-member panel established by the Sussex County Council to be an advocate for programs and policies that benefit older and disabled residents. The committee meets on the third Monday of January, March, May, July, September and November. Meetings are held at the Sussex County Administrative Offices West Complex on North DuPont Highway in Georgetown. The committee encourages service providers, older citizens and individuals with disabilities to attend this open forum to provide support, assistance and advice so members can better understand the issues and needs of the community.

Teen HOPE Survivor Competition
The Bayhealth Wellness Center at Woodbridge Senior High School named Victoria Pucci winner of the Teen HOPE Survivor Competition. Teen HOPE (Helping Other Teens Prevent Pregnancy and Encourage Good Health) is a program designed to reduce behaviors that may result in consequences such as teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), substance abuse and violent behaviors. In addition, the program is also intended to assist students in developing their self-esteem, establishing healthy behaviors and building their decision making skills. Approximately 80 students in grades 7-12 took part in the program at Woodbridge Senior High School in Bridgeville, Del. A Survivor Competition was put together by the Bayhealth Wellness Center at Woodbridge, in which 45 students took part. During the year-long competition students were asked to meet a number of objectives which included:
  • Take part in a community project
  • Design a piece for the Teen HOPE quilt that demonstrates healthy choices
  • Give a cafeteria presentation to fellow students
  • Maintain a C or better grade average
  • Remain on good behavior at school
The students were disqualified one by one and three were left standing for the final competition. The finalists were Victoria Pucci, an18-year-old senior; 17-year-old senior Shanice Durham and 16-year-old junior Lashonda Stanley. In the end, Miss Pucci came out on top. As winner of the Survivor Competition, she received a $250 mall gift certificate. Teen HOPE coordinator Terry Filbelkorn stated, "This program provides students with information that can help in responsible decision making. It also gives the students something to work for and teaches them how to reach their goals." Students that took part in the Survivor Program were very enthusiastic about Teen HOPE and agreed that they now feel like role models to their fellow students. Bayhealth Medical Center's mission is to improve the health status of all members of the Bayhealth community. Southern Delaware's largest healthcare system, Bayhealth is comprised of Kent General and Milford Memorial Hospitals, Middletown Medical Center and numerous satellite facilities. Bayhealth is a technologically advanced not-for-profit health care system employing over 2,900 with a medical staff of 375 physicians. In the 2006 fiscal year, Bayhealth recorded 65,776 emergency department visits, 18,431 patients admitted to beds and 2,336 births. Last year, as part of its mission, Bayhealth provided more than $23.6 million in unreimbursed care to patients.