Gerard Gioia, PhD, is the Division Chief of Neuropsychology and the director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National. He treats people with brain injuries with dual areas of interest in disorders involving the executive functions and pediatric concussion/ mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). He shared in the Rise and Shine blog hat with all the current media attention given to concussions, it is hard not to be worried and question your child’s involvement in sports, especially contact sports. As a society, we want our children to be active, stay healthy and enjoy the positive benefits of team sports. While there is a risk in playing any sport, the benefits will likely far outweigh the risks if coached and played with concussion prevention in mind.

Once a child chooses the sport they want to play, parents must do their homework and ask the leagues and coaches questions about how they handle head safety.

Below are 10 questions I encourage parents to ask youth sports organizations to make sure they’re minimizing the risk of concussion in their players. Youth sports organizations should also prepare themselves to answer these questions.

  1. Does the league have a policy on how they handle concussions?
  2. Who is responsible for the sideline concussion recognition and response to suspected concussions during practice and games? Is there an assigned person?
  3. Does the league have access to healthcare professionals with knowledge and training in sport-related concussions?
  4. Are the coaches required to take a concussion education and training course?
  5. Are the coach’s tools (concussion signs and symptoms cards, clipboards, fact sheets, smartphone apps, etc.) readily available during practice and games to guide proper recognition and response of a suspected concussion? Children’s National has a free mobile application called “Concussion Recognition & Response” to assist coaches and parents in asking the right questions and doing the right thing if they suspect a concussion.
  6. Does the league provide and/or encourage concussion education for parents, and what is the policy for informing parents of suspected concussions?
  7. What is the policy regarding allowing a player to return to play? (Correct answer should be ONLY when a medical professional provides written clearance that the athlete is fully recovered.)
  8. Does the league teach coaches and players proper techniques, such as blocking and tackling in football, in ways that are “head safe,” by not putting the head in position to be struck?
  9. If it is a contact sport, are there limitations to the amount of contact? How often will your child practice live contact? Is that any different than past years?
  10. How amenable is the league, team, and/or coach to accepting feedback from parents about their child’s safety as it relates to head safety?

Asking these questions will provide the peace of mind of knowing your child is playing the sports they enjoy in the safest way possible to minimize risk of concussion.


Football Photo by Amina Filkins: https://www.pexels.com/photo/smiling-ethnic-boy-in-helmet-and-uniform-of-football-player-5559992/

Baseball photo from Pexels.

LGBTQ Guide to Staying Safe Online


Online safety

vpnMentor conducted a survey in which they asked 695 LGBTQ+ people worldwide about their experiences online as they relate to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The results – referenced throughout this article – illuminated the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are some of their key findings:+

  • 73% of all respondents in all categories of gender identity and sexual orientation have been personally attacked or harassed online.
  • 50% of all respondents in all categories of gender identity and sexual orientation have suffered sexual harassment online.
  • When it comes to sexual orientation, asexual people feel the least safe online, and gay men the safest.
  • When it comes to gender identity, transgender women feel the least safe online, and cisgender men the safest.
  • Transgender women are the most likely to be outed against their will online, while cisgender men are least likely.

+For complete results, see the appendix.

As experts in the field of cybersecurity, they see it as their mission to provide practical strategies for coping with adversity, bigotry, and abuse on the web, which is why they created this guide.

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Picture of alone sad little boy near window waiting for parents at home. Look at window.Katie Donnelly, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician at Children’s National, shared in the Rise and Shine blog that with the weather getting warmer, you might be tempted to open your windows and let some fresh air into your home. But did you know that every year, around 3,300 children are injured by falling from windows? As an emergency medicine physician with a passion for injury prevention, I have some tips for keeping your kids safe and preventing window falls.

Four things you can do to prevent window falls

Children are naturally curious and are inclined to look out windows where there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on. Unfortunately, screens are flexible and are not designed to prevent children from falling out of windows. Even a fall from a two-story window can result in serious injury. Here are some ways to prevent window falls:


  1. Talk to your kids about the dangers of window falls. Just like learning not to touch the stove when it’s hot and not to play with cleaning products, kids should be warned that window screens won’t protect them and that they can get hurt if they fall out a window.
  2. Install window guards and stops. Properly installed window guards can prevent unintentional window falls. For windows above the first floor, include an emergency release device in case of fire. Window stops are also a great choice. They allow fresh air and a cross breeze and still ensure windows can’t open wide enough for kids to fall out. These can even be installed with suction cups and can be easily taken with you if you move.
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‘Tis the season for safe driving

Edward-Elmhurst Health asks in its Healthy Driven Blog, “Have you ever gotten behind the wheel after having a few drinks?” Each time you do, whether you admit it or not, you put your life and other people’s lives at risk. You may think the worst can’t happen, but it can. And one of these days, it could happen to you or someone you love.

December marks National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. This is fitting, since year after year around the holidays, hundreds of people lose their lives in impaired driving crashes.

Yet, it’s not just the holidays but all year long that we need to be responsible behind the wheel.

Every day, 28 people in this country die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes — that’s one person every 53 minutes, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). About one-third of traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver. These are all preventable tragedies.

We all know the age-old saying: don’t drink and drive. But today, impaired driving means more. It includes distracted driving, such as texting while driving, and something else that’s often overlooked — drugged driving.

Illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter medications can be just as deadly on the road as alcohol. Recent research shows how prevalent drugged driving has become in the U.S. Both alcohol and drugs impair your ability to drive safely by affecting your judgment, concentration, perception, motor skills, and reaction time.

New and young drivers are the most at-risk for impaired driving-related crashes, as car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter involve an underage drinking driver. Learn signs your teen may be abusing alcohol. Read more

What Is Doxxing & How To Protect Yourself From An Attack

While “doxxing” has been around since the 1990s, in recent years, doxxing attacks have become increasingly common, with celebrities and laypeople alike falling victim.

This article, by Pixel Privacy, goes into detail about what doxxing is and its real-life consequences. In addition, it explains how you can protect yourself from doxxing attacks.

What Exactly Is Doxxing?

“Doxxing” is when someone finds personal information about someone else, usually an internet user, and publishes it online for the world to see. That’s why it’s called “doxxing” – referring to “documents,” shortened to “doc” and then changed to “dox.”

The information that’s published can include the real name, home address, email address, telephone number, photos, and other personal information of the victim, leading to attacks that can move from the online world to the physical one.

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50 Shocking Drunk Driving Statistics

Drunk driving concept image with a hand holding some car keys and a glass of beer isolated over a white background.Reviews.com shared that with an increasing focus on the problem of drunk driving, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities have been decreasing steadily. However, 28 people are still killed every day in the U.S. due to drinking and driving. We still lose 10,000 of our fellow citizens every year from drunk driving.

A drunk driving incident impacts many people in very serious ways. Of course, the worst-case scenario leaves families devastated by the death or severe injury of a loved one. These consequences are irreversible. Other people are also impacted, especially if a family member is sentenced to jail time, and the incident inevitably adds to financial stresses.

Even if the situation does not result in severe injury, a drunk driving conviction can be costly as fines and attorneys’ fees escalate. Long term, the cost of insurance increases dramatically, and even the best carriers will impose higher premiums and other restrictions on coverage.

50 shocking drunk driving statistics

Accidents and arrests

  1. In 2016, more than one million drivers were arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence of narcotics. (CDC)
  1. In 2019, 31% of drivers involved in single-vehicle crashes with fatalities were alcohol-impaired. (NHTSA)
  1. 13% of drivers involved in multiple-vehicle fatal crashes in 2019 were intoxicated. (NHTSA)
  1. Alcohol involvement in fatal accidents is most prominent after dark. In 2019, 49% of fatally injured drivers had blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., while 18% of fatally injured drivers had a similar BAC during the daytime. (IIHS)

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First Aid Kits and Emergency Aid

College of DuPage Nursing Student Robert Sullivan shared that with the return to school and the start of fall sports, now is the perfect time to review a current first aid kit or to make one. Very often, the first people on the scene are bystanders and not the First Responders. Having and maintaining a first aid kit and becoming trained in first aid, will equip one to be more than a bystander but a responder. There are many items that will be helpful if the situation for response occurs, starting with what is applicable for a family of four according to the American Red Cross (American Red Cross, 2021). These items include:

  • A first aid guide
  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 emergency blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pairs of non-latex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets
  • 1 3-inch gauze roll (roller) bandage
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 3 x 3-inch sterile gauze pads
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • A thermometer (non-mercury/non-glass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers

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What every parent should know about childhood concussions

Uzma Muneer, D.O., whose specialty is Pediatrics, shared in the Edwards-Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that most children are constantly moving. But with that energy comes the risk of injury. It’s important for any parent to know how to recognize, respond to and minimize the risk of childhood concussions. A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the head is struck or suddenly jarred. As many as 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions happen each year in this country, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About half of these injuries go undiagnosed and untreated, increasing the risk for more severe brain injury.

Concussions aren’t limited to sports. A concussion may result from something as simple as your child falling off a bike and hitting his/her head on the sidewalk.

Here are 8 things you should know to help prevent childhood concussions or minimize their impact:

  • Make sure your child wears the right protective gear for their activity. For example, a proper-fitting helmet when biking or sledding is a must. Ensure your child follows the rules for safety on the playground and in his/her sport.
  • Get to know your child’s coaches and trainers. Confirm that all who work with the team are informed on laws and guidelines for kids returning to play after a head injury.
  • Find out if your child’s school does pre-season baseline neurological tests for its athletes. These are measures of balance and brain functions, such as memory and focus, and can help in evaluating the impact of any subsequent head injury.
  • Urge your child to speak up about possible concussion symptoms, which may include: headaches, light-headedness, amnesia, nausea, blurry vision, dizziness, depression, sensitivity to light and noise, confusion, and difficulty processing information. If your child experiences loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, seizures, one pupil larger than the other, or symptoms that worsen over time, seek emergency medical care.

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Have A Happy, Healthy, & Safe 4th o July!

Meat Temperature Chart And Food Safety

outdoor grillingBBQ Grill Academy shared that knowing the proper meat temperatures to cook or grill your foods is extremely important. Undercooked or raw foods can be hazardous and cause diseases.

Sometimes meats are not cooked to safe temperatures; for example, steak medium-rare is cooked to 130F to 135F degrees, but according to foodandsafety.gov, beef, lamb, and pork should be cooked to a temperature of at least 145F degrees. The USDA also has minimum cooking temperature recommendations and lists the minimum safe temperature for steaks at 145F degrees.

These recommendations should be followed as harmful bacteria cannot be seen or tasted but can cause serious diseases. Knowing the right temperatures to cook your meats is essential, and guessing when your food is done or undercooking your meats can be risky. Cooking meat whether is pork, chicken or turkey should be done with consideration of the USDA recommendations.

t would be best if you never guessed the meat’s temperature or when it is done. Follow the USDA minimum meat temperature recommendations and use a temperature gauge to check the meat’s temperature. You do not need anything fancy; a simple temperature gauge like the one below will do the job.

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