Stories about: Ask the Expert

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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What parents should know about hypospadias

cartoon birds talking about hypospadias
ILLUSTRATION: PATRICK BIBBINS/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

It’s one of the most common birth defects, affecting an estimated 1 out of 200 boys. But most parents aren’t aware of hypospadias until their child is diagnosed with it. In this condition, the opening of a boy’s urethra (through which both urine and semen pass) is located on the underside of his penis rather than at the tip of it. In about 80 percent of boys with hypospadias, this opening is found near the end of the penis. Fifteen percent of those boys also have a condition called chordee, in which the penis curves downward to varying degrees. Hypospadias is usually diagnosed at birth, but severe cases are increasingly being diagnosed in utero with ultrasonography.

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Protect your kids from dog bites: Tips from the experts

Dog bite prevention
Winston and Cal taking a break from play time. Socializing can help reduce aggression in dogs.

Working in the Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Carolyn Rogers-Vizena treats many young patients with dog bites. “We see everything from small lacerations that can be repaired in the Emergency Department, to bone-crushing facial injuries that require multiple reconstructive operations,” she says.

No matter the severity, dog bites happen every day, and for the most part, they are avoidable. Local veterinarian Dr. Neil Storey teams up with Rogers-Vizena to answer parent’s questions to help their children enjoy man’s best friend in the safest and healthiest ways possible.

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Weight-loss surgery for teens and young adults: A good option?

Teen thinks about weight-loss surgery

Bariatric surgery, commonly known as weight-loss surgery, can be a safe and effective treatment for a teen or young adult whose obesity has persisted despite all medical efforts, and who has complications of obesity. Dr. Camilla Richmond, medical director of the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, answers common questions about weight-loss surgery at Boston Children’s.

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