Author: Amelia Stern

Concussions: Prevention and recovery for soccer players

Dr. O'Brien concussions in soccer players thriving lead image
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

As kids and teens get ready for the start of a new school year, many will be lacing up their cleats in anticipation of the coming soccer season. Playing soccer brings together all the benefits of rigorous exercise, fun with friends and an unlimited abundance of orange slices. However, participation also comes with the risk of injury.

Concussions, a type of traumatic brain injury, are all too common in the soccer world. It’s clear that the protection mouth guards provide is far from sufficient for protecting your child from a concussion. So, if soccer’s protective equipment can’t keep players safe, what can?

Dr. Michael O’Brien, director of the Sports Concussion Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, helps athletes who have sustained concussions get back in the game and works with athletes to prevent sports injuries, including concussions. His advice to players, parents and coaches on what athletes can do to reduce the risks of concussions revolves around effective and clear communication.

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Battling aplastic anemia: Clinical trial gives hope to Eli and his family

Eli, who has aplastic anemia, smiles while getting a transfusion
PHOTOS: SAM OGDEN

When Eli came home from baseball practice this past April with bruises on his body, his mom Jessica, an internal medicine specialist, and his dad Bryan, a trauma surgeon, didn’t think anything of it. “We assumed his coach was just throwing hard pitches, because every time Eli got hit with the ball, his skin bruised,” says Jessica. But 10-year-old Eli didn’t let a few bruises stop him. He continued to play baseball and basketball, work hard in his fifth grade classroom and goof off with his two younger sisters, 6-year-old Anna and 3-year-old Sarah.

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Overcoming cleft lip and palate: Aiden finds his smiley sense of humor

  • Aiden's cleft lip and palate journey

As they anxiously awaited the results of an 18-week ultrasound, Bonnie and Adam knew something wasn’t right. “We have a 4-year-old, Michael, and I never remembered having to wait after an ultrasound,” says Bonnie. “The longer we waited, the more I started panicking.” Sure enough, their suspicions were confirmed. The technician told the new parents that their baby, Aiden, would most likely have a cleft lip and cleft palate.

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Miranda Day: More than a diagnosis

Miranda Day, who had scoliosis and a tethered spinal cord, poses with her surgeon, Dr. John Emans
Miranda Day and Dr. John Emans (PHOTOS: SEBASTIAN STANKIEWICZ/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL)

Miranda Day was born with a rare type of congenital scoliosis and a tethered spinal cord, a condition where the spine is split into two and entwined towards the tailbone. After her first surgery in her family’s home state of California, it became clear to doctors that it wouldn’t be her last. “Scoliosis isn’t life-threatening, but it can be a detriment to your well-being,” says Day. “My parents’ goal was to give me the best quality of life and not have any setbacks physically or otherwise.”

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