A sober look at a substantial health risk for young and mature athletes.

CONCUSSIONS AND OUR KIDS

AMERICA'S LEADING EXPERT ON HOW TO PROTECT YOUNG ATHLETES AND KEEP SPORTS SAFE

With the assistance of sports journalist Hyman (Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids, 2009, etc.), neurosurgeon Cantu offers parents, coaches and athletes an authoritative look at concussions.

Beginning with an analysis of what constitutes a concussion—"a shaking of the brain inside the skull that changes the alertness of the injured person"—the author, co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, pinpoints symptoms specific to this type of injury and offers readers therapeutic remedies for the situation. Collision sports such as football, hockey and boxing are known for causing concussions among players, but Cantu points out that many other types of sports and activities also cause this health issue. Synchronized swimming, wrestling, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball, cheerleading, martial arts, skateboarding and tennis are all culprits. Since "children are among the most vulnerable to injury because they have weak necks and immature musculature, and their brains are still developing," Cantu feels it is imperative that athletes, parents and coaches are trained to identify the symptoms of a concussion and know the best methods of treatment. He recommends baseline testing of cognitive skills before a child even begins to play a sport; in the event an injury occurs, there is a reference point to use in analyzing the extent of the injury. Cantu offers comprehensive research on post-concussion syndrome, second impact syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, brain injuries that are more extensive and longer lasting and require far more rehabilitation than a single concussive incident. Not playing sports is not the answer, however; Cantu stresses the importance of education.

A sober look at a substantial health risk for young and mature athletes.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-77394-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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