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Concussions and Our Kids: America's Leading Expert on How to Protect Young Athletes and Keep Sports Safe [Hardcover]

Robert Cantu , Mark Hyman

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Book Description

Sept. 18 2012
“This is an important, cutting-edge work by the premier specialist in his field. If you watch sports, or if you have a young athlete in your family, you need to read this book.” —Dan Shaughnessy, author of The Curse of the Bambino

From Washington to Quebec, from offices at the NFL to the New York Times, from the NHL players’ union to the soccer fields of Anytown, U.S.A., people are talking about concussions. At the center of this crisis—and one of the key reasons for this increased awareness—is Dr. Robert Cantu, the country’s leading expert on athletic brain trauma and a pioneer in the study of the link between concussions and progressive brain disease in athletes.

Concussions and Our Kids is the first prescriptive book of its kind to address the issue of head trauma in sports and to offer guidelines for playing sports safely. Described as “the single most important issue in sports today,” concussions are widespread and devastating. Dr. Cantu has treated thousands of patients, from pro athletes to peewee players, and his groundbreaking research is changing how sports are played. Parents, coaches, and players can learn from this combination manifesto/manual, helping to reduce concussions now and prevent more brain trauma down the road.

“A well-researched, riveting story that every coach and parent of a young athlete should read.” —Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist and author of Best Seat in the House

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (Sept. 18 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547773943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547773940
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #314,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

ROBERT CANTU, M.D. is the Chief of Neurosurgery, Chairman Department of Surgery and Director Service of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital as well as the Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. He also serves as special advisor to the National Football League.



MARK HYMAN is a sports journalist and the author of Until It Hurts.

Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone who is involved with young athletes should read this Sept. 1 2012
By Dr Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a clinical research interest of mine from a military standpoint. So when I saw this book listed on Vine from Robert Cantu, MD and dealing with concussions, I immediately ordered it. This review is for a pre-publication advanced copy, so there may be editorial changes to the final first edition.

This book is not geared to the professional caregiver or scientist, but directly to parents and people who work with kids in athletics, both formally organized or not. The first few chapters deal with some background info on concussions and how they are defined and occur. Next come stories and commentary that distinguishes the traditional collision sports (e.g., football, boxing) from those sports that are considered non-collision. Basically, a concussion is serious however it occurs. I was amazed for example to learn that synchronized swimming has a problem with concussions because of swimmers hitting one another while doing turns and such. Soccer is another sport that causes concussions. I didn't really think about that before. Some of the others mentioned are tennis, cheerleading, baseball, wrestling, skateboarding, and more. While not written for professionals, there are lots of nuggets of useful information here for professionals who speak to the public regarding concussions / TBI. These nuggets of information are also here to educate kids, parents, coaches, trainers, etc.

The next two chapters go into more detail about the brain injury itself and the end result. These are not overly technical, and are perfectly suited for the intended reader.

Next come chapters on Myths, Moms and Dads, and After Concussions. The Myths chapter is nicely laid out with subheadings listing a myth and then the explanation behind it. The Moms and Dads chapter gets right to the questions that parents have about sports and their kids. After Concussions has many stories about specific outcomes for real kids. Most of the stories in the book come directly from Dr. Cantu's patients, and the names and faces of these kids are shown so you can see they are real people.

The last chapter is on Reform. I want to say that the author, Dr. Robert Cantu, has a very pragmatic, practical, and balanced view of kids and sports. He is pro-sports in all respects, but he is also seeing the need to establish standards for protection as well as how to prevent multiple injuries since the cumulative effects of injury are significant. I have great respect for Dr. Cantu's opinions and I think he has written an excellent book. It is easy to read and very informative based on our current state of scientific and medical knowledge.

I do have a couple of suggestions for improvement however. One is that I think an Index might be useful for someone wanting to come back later and look up a specific detail. The second suggestion is to address more of the inner city kids and how they might be more vulnerable to concussions than kids in the suburbs. I'm speaking hear about vulnerability to not getting good post-concussion care due to lack of knowledge, access to medical care, and perhaps cultural and economic barriers. I think hearing from some pro-athletes about what they experienced as teens and what they know now as professional athletes might be interesting. I would imagine the NFL could find a few athletes who would share some stories. But these are just personal suggestions. I think this book is excellent in any case.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Invaluable Resource for Parents and Coaches Aug. 4 2012
By D. Buxman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As a parent of a high school football player, I've seen my share of bad decisions that could have potentially catastrophic results. Dr. Cantu's book is an excellent source of information that will help parents and coaches separate fact from myth in dealing with concussions. Although it contains information about the medical aspects of head injuries, it is quite readable and interesting. It includes case studies, along with checklists that can be used to ascertain whether or not a concussion has occurred. Dr. Cantu also provides thoughtful analysis of changes that should be made in youth athletics to provide more protection. He also debunks many of the myths about head injuries and offers money saving advice for those inclined to buy the latest and greatest helmets, mouthpieces and chinstraps in hopes of protecting their child. While this book deals with a very serious subject, it doesn't come off as overly preachy or dogmatic. Dr. Cantu recommends that children under 14 abstain from tackle football, but he doesn't approach it as a hard and fast rule, but rather he acknowledges that every child is different and suggests that the decision be based on muscular development and other individual considerations. I plan on buying copies of this book for my son's coaches.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book. Valuable lessons inside. Aug. 30 2012
By Bernard Farrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Dr. Cantu for writing this book! It's an easy conversational read, yet comprehensive in its coverage of head safety issues in sports. As the parent of a high school soccer playing daughter, I am very aware of the risk of concussion in this particular sport. She's already had one. Readable information on the subject is hard to come by, and you've answered so many of my questions in this book that I will recommend it every time this subject comes up conversation with the other parents. I will pass it around to my friends.

A short time ago, Taylor Twellman, whose story was outlined in the book, came to speak to my daughter's soccer club. It was extremely eye-opening for many of us there to hear him, and I'm grateful for his honesty. We need to take this subject matter seriously and become well-informed. After that talk, however, I still had questions about how concussions work and what we parents should do about it. This book has addressed them all. Thank you particularly for the directive to trust our instincts when we observe subtle changes in their mood, behavior, etc.

Update:this book was so invaluable I purchased a copy for the high school sports coach.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for parents and athletes Aug. 19 2012
By Mark in Idaho - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Dr Cantu has finally put his extensive knowledge to print. As one who has lived with Post Concussion Syndrome for over 40 years, this book is long overdue. Every parent who has a child playing any sports needs to read this book. Any family doctor who has not attended a concussion diagnosis and management CE course should also read it. Dr Cantu's recommendation of no collision sports or heading the soccer ball until after 14 years old is dead on.

It is full of examples of athletes and their parents who have done things right and even those who did things wrong. It is definitely not overly technical. It is also not over alarming or protective. I feel it could or even should cause a greater concern about the long term risks of multiple concussions. It does not dwell on the risk of long term symptoms from multiple concussions. It is lacking some of the early research into concussions, especially from heading the ball in soccer. It also fails to elaborate on Sub-Concussive Impacts that have been studied extensively at UNC-Chapel Hill. But, it is a great start. If parents and athletes will read it, it will save athletes from misery and even death.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to play in the NFL or NHL or even hit your head directly to get a concussion and kids brains are more vulnerable. Oct. 4 2012
By A. Brinskele - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book is filled with very important and current information all about concussions with particular focus on kids. It describes what they are and the many ways they can occur and how kids brains are not fully developed in some ways and therefore they are more vulnerable.
I had no idea you could get a concussion from a strong impact to the body that jars the neck and head but does not impact it. It was nice to to hear that the NFL is actually doing things to protect their players more now than ever after impacts that can cause concussions. I also had no idea how important mouth guards are to keeping you safer from concussions. After you read this you may feel it is at least as important as a helmet! Robert Cantu M. D. is a specialist in this field and he makes it clear too that there is no sport that has never sent him a patient. In other words, it can happen in any and every sport or even just by bumping heads with another person! Fascinating read , really informative!

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