Monday, June 11, 2012


NFL lawsuit revisits concussion discussion

Concussions are once again in the news — a massive lawsuit has been filed by former players against the National Football League, alleging the NFL has purposely withheld evidence of the long-term effects of head trauma and concussions.

It remains to be seen whether this is true. But there is no doubt about the negative impacts concussions can have one someone’s health.

Specifically, young athletes are very much at risk. And with summer football practices looming, now is the time to learn about the symptoms of concussion and what to do if you suspect a head injury.

Fortunately, awareness has increased in the youth sports realm. In many cases coaches are required to receive training on concussions, and parents are more aware than ever because of all the publicity in recent years.

Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head. It is important to note that even a minor bump can cause a serious injury, and many times symptoms do not emerge until days or even weeks after the injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are a coach or a parent, watch for these signs:

•  An appearance that the victim if dazed or stunned
•  Confusion
•  Forgetfulness
•  Clumsy
•  Slow to answer questions
•  Loss of consciousness
•  Behavior or personality changes
•  Can’t recall events prior to or after incident.

Symptoms that athletes may report or exhibit include:

•  Headache or “pressure” in the head
•  Nausea, vomiting
•  Balance problems, dizziness
•  Blurry or double vision
•  Light sensitivity
•  Sluggishness
•  Concentration issues
•  Memory problems
•  Confusion.

The bottom line is concussions are serious, and if a young athlete shows any signs or symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Gillian Mosier, RN, is the Trauma Program Manager at The William W. Backus Hospital. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Mosier or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

Monday, June 04, 2012


Hurricane season is here, so be prepared

Even before hurricane season officially began June 1, we already had two named storms, including Tropical Storm Beryl, which barreled up the east coast and passed to the southeast of Connecticut.

Last year, of course, we were hit by Hurricane Irene, the first significant hurricane in eastern Connecticut in quite some time.

These are not-so-subtle reminders that “be prepared” is not just a great motto for the Boy Scouts — it’s important for everyone.

So, before the next natural disaster hits, review and act on these tips that I have compiled from a variety of sources:

•  Devise a plan. Take time before the storm hits to discuss what to do with your family and neighbors, including finding a safe place, escape routes, important phone numbers, what to do with your pets and check insurance coverage.
•  Secure your home. Bring in any objects that can be blown around, close windows and doors, shut off propane tanks and, if the storm is imminent, turn refrigerators and freezers up so food will stay fresh longer if you lose power.
•  Make a kit. Make sure you have the supplies you need, such as water, food, first aid kit, prescription drugs, full vehicle fuel tanks, toiletries, flashlights, batteries, radio, fully charged cell phones, clothing, sleeping supplies, clothing, cash, keys, copies of important documents, tools, maps, camera for photos of damage and specialty items for children, the elderly and pets.

Living in New England, we learn time and again that we can be the target of many natural disasters — hurricanes, blizzards, floods, tornadoes, violent thunderstorms and even earthquakes. Being prepared helps to limit the damage or improve quality of life, and can even mean the difference between life and death.

Andrew Ellis is the Associate Administrator of Facilities and Operations at The William W. Backus Hospital. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal healthcare provider. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Mr. Ellis or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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