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Disinfecting Wipes and MRSA: What Your Athlete Needs To Know For The Locker Room

We live in a society almost pathologically fearful of bacterial. Disinfecting products like sanitary wipes and hand sanitizers with antibacterial properties are hugely popular. Yet, there has always been a concern among health professionals that these products are creating more of a problem than they solve. Two new studies confirm this suspicion and go a step further to demonstrate that the products people hope are keeping us free of scary bacteria such as MRSA may actually be contributing to its spread.

Two studies released this week reinforce two important take home messages:

1. They have to be used properly with one swipe per surface. Otherwise, bacterial like MRSA are actually spread to other surfaces.

2. When used diligently and properly, the use of disinfecting swipes does cut down on the spread of gastrointestinal viruses but not respiratory viruses and allows kids to miss less school.

Swipe Once, Then Toss

Our first take home message is compliments of the Welch School of Pharmacy. According to BBC News, researchers "found that MRSA survived on the wipe, and then contaminated everything it touched." It turns out that in too many hospitals, workers were cleaning multiple surfaces with an individual swipe. What should be happening is one swipe per surface.

Swiping Keeps Kids In School and Their Tummies Bug Free

Our second take home message is from this month's Pediatrics where researchers from Children's Hospital Boston and Stanford University School of Medicine discovered that the use of hand sanitizer and disinfecting swipes in an elementary school environment reduced the amount of missed school days from "stomach" viruses. With proper use of both products, Norovirus, the most common gastrointestinal virus that strikes in schools, was reduced on surfaces that were tested.

The Silver Bullet To Infection Control: All In Your Hands!

In the end, though, do you know what really keeps viruses like Norovirus and bacterial like MRSA from spreading? Good old fashioned hand washing with good old fashioned soap and water. So, what do your kids need to know about locker rooms? Swiping and hand washing after touching surfaces is their best defense. When in doubt, swipe or wash. If you get your kids to think that way, you'll help them drastically reduce the chance they'll bring home an unwanted germ.

If you want more MRSA tips, click here to see my recent MomsTEAM MRSA video or visit MomsTEAM's MRSA Center.




Average: 5 (1 vote)

Heart Screening In Kids Doesn't Require Fancy Tests...Just You and Your Doctor

When I saw this story today on the BBC News Health page, two simultaneous thoughts popped to mind: parents would be nervous and US pediatricians would once again have to defend our stance that EKGs are not needed as a routine part of youth sports health screening (a/k/a the pre-participation evaluation or PPE).

This issue, to screen or not to screen for heart disease with EKGs, is not new. This is one of the more deeply discussed and hotly debated topics in child health today. The topic gets discussed routinely but also when headlines rattle us, such as when 13 year old Justin McAfee, an Idaho baseball player, collapsed of a supposed heart attack this past spring while running the bases in a Little League baseball game.

When that story broke, I turned to one of the top pediatric cardiologists in the country, Dr. Reggie Washington from Sky Ridge Medical Center in Colorado, for answers. Dr. Washington told me:

  1. “True heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) are extremely rare in children."
  2. “The most common causes (of heart attack-like events) are not myocardial infarctions but some muscle issue with the heart”.
  3. “The American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics are opposed to routine global screening for heart disease in athletes”. Instead, Dr. Washington explained that screening is done if a patient has symptoms or if there is a family history of heart disease.

Different countries do practice medicine differently. We often learn a great deal from our International colleagues but that doesn't mean that we are always going to agree. We have to make sure the means justifies the ends whenever we recommend a test for a child, or an adult. So far, EKGs are not a good screening test when the physical examination and family history are both squeaky clean.

So, call your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child's heart health. A good review of your family history with a complete examination of your child will help your pediatrician decided if your child fits the criteria for a more thorough heart screening. And, just in case, have all adults and teens in your home learn CPR. We all have to be realistic that heart health sometimes changes despite our best preventive efforts. As we learned with Justin last last spring, it really is a life saver.

For more information on heart health in kids and why you should learn CPR, click here.


Kung Fu Panda: A Great Movie With Surprising Sports Lessons


Kung Fu Panda is one of the best family movies I’ve seen in a long while. It had something for everyone, even us grownups! Don’t let the PG rating scare you – nothing inappropriate for small kids at all, although I suppose this depends on how you define "appropriate". Let's just say, nothing made me think "small kids should'nt be here.

The movie leaves you feeling good but offers up some wonderful messages I couldn't help but pass on about youth sports.  But don’t worry, no spoilers are about to come. I’m sticking to facts already existing in well known summaries of the movie.

The Story:

The hero of the story is a lovable panda, Po, who dreams of Kung Fu greatness with “the Five” but fears he’ll end up like his dad and make noodles his whole life. His dad, by the way, is a goose! Doesn't seem to matter to Po....

The village is threatened by an evil Kung Fu warrior, Tai Lung, whose only mission in life is to get back at his master, Shifu, and get the great Dragon Scroll - said to contain great power and secrets. There is only one who can defeat Tai Lung, the Dragon Warrior, and  it turns  out to be Po, to everyone's surprise, including his! 

ShiFu found training Po difficult. All the methods he used to train “the Five”, his most famous and powerful students, were not working with Po. One day, however, he realized Po could be strong and agile when motived by food - Po's true love.  Before long, Po had become the Dragon Warrior. 

Po was given the Dragon Scroll but to everyone's surprise it was blank and like a mirror.  Po left, confused and now uncertain that he was the Dragon Warrior.  He came upon his father in the village to told him something interesting: secrets become powerful because of what people believe. All of a sudden Po understood. The power of the scroll was to reinforce the strength within the warrior. Po now had the strength of 1000 warriors as he went off to defeat Tai Lung, which he did, of course.

The thing you need to know about Tai Lung is that he was actually raised by ShiFu, just like a son. ShiFu became consumed by Tai Lung’s successes and kept pushing him and Tai Lung kept wanting more. Before long, a monster was created and ShiFu didn’t realize until it was too late. He told Tai Lung so in their final confrontation:  “I blame myself for what you’ve become”.   

The Moral and Youth Sports

What does this have to do with youth sports? Everything! We have a youth sports culture that takes pride in convincing kids there is a “dragon scroll”. And, we have coaches who think that the way to get that scroll is to have a "winning team". All too often, kids are excluded for not having "the right stuff" without even being given a chance. In reality, many of those kids are really like Po and all they need is a coach, like ShiFu, to help them realize their own sports destiny, whatever that is. The goal should always be to encourage each child to meet or exceed their personal best - that is each child's Dragon Scroll. How those successes come together on a team is honeslty less important in the end. If coaches do their jobs, each and every child will feel like a "dragon warrior" on the team - a star in their own way. And, each and every child will get to play. No more bench warmers. 

You may be dream of your child playing soccer, or lacrosse, or tennis…but those dreams are not what matter. What matters are our kids’ dreams and those are the dreams we need to get them to talk to us about so we can help find a way to empower them to make those dreams come true – for sports, for the arts, for life.


Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Research Behind Chest Protectors: Has it been worth the money spent yet?

Where sports are concerned, our inner need to protect our kids can sometimes be at odds with our desire to allow our kids to spread their wings.  While most sports are safe with proper equipment and coaching, there are always risks involved, especially with contact sports. The question is, how safe is some of the specialized equipment our kids are asked to use, such as chest protectors? 

Doctors and researchers have been particularly concerned about sports safety and have spent countless hours and research dollars try to develop new safety equipment for our young athletes. One are of particularly high interest has been in developing  reliable chest protector to protect against one of the most dangerous and sometimes fatal heart injuries seen on the field today, commotio cordis. Commotio cordis occurs as a result to a blow to the chest, most notably the sternum, during which time a sudden disruption in the way the heart beats results in sudden cardiac arrest in an otherwise normal young athlete.  Wearing chest protectors as well as automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) on the sidelines are all efforts intended to battle back against the rare moments commotio cordis occurs. 

You've likely seen one of the currently available chest protectors if your child plays a contact sport such as hockey, baseball, or lacrosse.  These chest protectors do provide some protection aginst blows to the chest, and most kids do survive their blow to the chest. However, a recent commentary in Pediatrics revealed that these protectors still only adequately protect 2/3 of athletes struck in the chest  and that 40% of blows to the chest are still resulting in fatalities.  So, while we can be reassured that more kids are surviving a blow to the chest, it's disappointing that the years of research time and millions of research dollars hasn't yielded a more favorable outcome. 

In fact, if you tease through the results given in that commentary closely, there hasn't been anything new to the market in a few years. Seems to me we need a new research and R&D approach in the chest protector development industry on all levels. The answer could be a new design or a new material. We won't know until someone looks at the situation with eyes wide open and a willingness to consider new ideas and options. So far, the same old, same old doesn't seem to be helping our kids the way we hope. 

Until that day arrives and someone develops a more reliable chest protector, we need to protect our athletes on the field in other ways. First, we need to be sure that the rules are followed appropriately. Illegal checks and roughhousing only increase a child’s chance of suffering a blow to the chest. Second, we need to make sure proper pads are worn at all times for all activities that put the chest at risk. The current chest protectors are better than nothing at the moment! Third, AEDs and CPR training is a must on the sideline. Many leagues now have EMTs and certified trainers on the sidelines. If your team doesn't, be sure someone has 911 programmed into a cell phone. When seconds count, you don't want to take any more time than the press of 1 button. Also, be sure that cell phone is charged!!

Keep in mind that your child's pre-participation evaluation or sports screening examination just captures a moment in time and doesn't truly take into account the stress your child's body is under while competing. Any new symptoms that develop after that evaluation need to be investigated by your pediatrician, especially ones that occur during exertion, such as getting winded or dizzy or feeling faint or queasy or having chest pain or developing a head ache. Better to have a symptom checked out and have it be nothing than to find that a major medical problem was brewing. 

Finally, our sports screening exam itself needs to get a check up each year. I'd like to see an annual evaluation of our sports screening practices against those in other countries just to be sure we are still doing what is in the best interests of the health and safety of our kids.  With new sports screening data constantly coming in from around the world, we have to always be willing to say there is another way or a better way to keep our kids safe while they compete in the sports they love and push their bodies to amazing extremes.  Other countries rely on US data all the time to guide their medical practices. It would be arrogant of us to not do the same. 

Keep in mind that medicine is an evolving science. What works for us today in keeping kids healthy on the sports field may not work tomorrow. But, we won’t ever know if we aren’t brave enough to ask some tough  questions and take another look  at sports health screening and chest protectors from as many angles and perspectives as we can. Our kids deserve at least that much from the research dollars being used in the name of their health and safety, don’t you think?

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Should sportsman(woman)ship be scored??

My 13 year old daughter’s overnight camp has an Olympic-like competition each summer called College League. Many overnight camps have similar competitions but may call it something different. Basically, the camp is divided into four teams and over the course of the summer session the teams compete against each other in a variety of challenges to become the ultimate champion of the summer. The challenges range from athletic to artistic, individual to team. Team spirit is a gigantic component of the scoring as is each team members ability to complete their daily activities on time and appropriately, including cleaning their bunk area and going to the camp nurse for their daily medications. Team members and teams who meet the challenge's expectations, or exceed them, get points. Team members and teams who drop a ball, get docked points. One of the areas teams loose the most points is in sportsmanship - being sore losers, not showing good will to each other or the other teams, not being gracious about what the challenge is and isn't about.  In the end, the entire camp pulls together in some really amazing ways and learns a great deal about team work because of this system.

As the Olympic games have gathered momentum this week, sportsmanship has been something I've been watching keenly. To me, an elite athlete is only a true Olympian if he or she is able to be gracious under fire and demonstrate good sportsmanship regardless of the outcome. I have to say, I haven't always been impressed. While most athletes have conducted themselves amazingly well, others haven't and that worries me. 

What was interesting to me is that the events where I would have expected tempers to fly, they didn't. For example, gymnastics has a new scoring system where judges can even request to see elements back in slow motion. This adds a delay to resulting each athlete's performance and adds a layer of stress not present at prior games. Still, all athletes on all teams conducted themselves with amazing composure. 

Swimming, on the other hand, doesn't have a scoring system issue to contend with. Most swimming events are really old fashioned races. Most of the swimmers seemed to have basic courtesy skills and congratulated each other at the end of each race.  What worried me was the fall out after the relay when Team USA men's team not only won but set a new world record and without Phelps.  That should impress everyone! Instead, one French swimmer was quoted saying he "wasn't impressed" and his team still "intended to squash" Team USA. That one moment tainted the games for me. And, I was stunned there wasn't an official response from the Olympic committee.

If that swimmer wins an event, is it a true win? Not in my mind.  Something needs to change in the Olympic culture just as it needs to change in the MLB, youth sports, and, actually, every sports culture today. Sportsmanship just isn't respected enough and the message given to our kids is the wrong one.

For our kids to learn how to be competitive in a healthy and respectful way, we need to insist that all athletes demonstrate the highest degree of sportsmanship. Just like Manny Ramiriz can't be allowed to slack off when being paid 20 million bucks, Olympians can't be allowed to lip off to each other. They may not have a gigantic salary at stake but many do have big  time sponsorships, as well as their event scores and a position on the podium!  The time has come for all athletes in all sports at all levels must be held accountable for conducting themselves in a positive and gracious manner towards their teammates, athletic rivals and fans.  Anything less needs to have repercussions. 

What's the real lesson here for our kids? Winning isn't the entire story in sports. Teach your kids that, and you'll instill in them the one of the essential values the need to embrace as an athlete. BTW, someone needs to show that French swimmer the Ellen video!  

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Ellen Reminds Us of The Good In Sports

A couple week's ago, I caught an episode of Ellen with my daughter that had an unusually inspiring story involving college softball players.  One of the players, Sara Tucholsky, tore her ACL after hitting a home run and fell to the ground in incredible pain. By league rules, her teammates could not touch her until the inning was over or she would be out. The opposing team’s firstbase player asked the umpire if she and another of her teammates could carry her around the bases instead so the run could count – he was puzzled but allowed it!  So, Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried Sara around all the bases. The run was allowed and Sara's team won the game.  By the way, this was Sara's first home run ever!!

Here’s the segment complete with a clip of the famous carry around the bases. I love the cheering and clapping as the girls ‘round third base – by both sides!! And, the UTube clips of the same story (also worth viewing).

The comments on The Ellen Show website speak volumes of so much of what is good and not good in sports today: 

  • “Things can get very competitive and people can get down right nasty. I am a firm believer that sports should and can be fun as well as competitive, if you don't have fun the competition will turn you sour.”
  • “It's an incredible thing to see that in today’s world of "it's all about me" philosophies that even rivals in competitive sports can take the time to show such amazing compassion.”
  • “As the old saying goes..."It's not who wins or looses, it's how you play the game." Too bad more people don't understand that.”
  • “This just goes to show that not all universities focus on sports and winning. Sportsmanship is more important than any win.”
  • “Professional athletes take note. This is what sportsmanship is!!!!!!!!!!!”

A picture really does speak louder than words. Show this video to your kids. Make sure your kids’ coaches see this video. Any coach who thinks this video doesn’t represent the core of what youth sports must be has no business coaching our kids. This example may be on the collegiate level but represents the values we need to instill in all sports on all levels. These players’ parents and coaches are to be congratulated for getting it right. Those girls wouldn’t have had the value system to have come up with that idea on the spot if they had not been raised in some sort of child-centered, positive, team focused sports environment.

What’s beyond amazing is the fact that winning and losing were not part of anyone’s thinking. The game was about playing the game and doing what was right when it mattered. The outcome was not what was important. If that was the ultimate objective, Mallory and Liz wouldn’t have dared attempt to be so self-less. But, they were. They only thought of helping Sara, a girl they didn’t know, be able to credit the run she had earned. Fair is fair regardless of what team you are on.

The girls were sent to a spa by Ellen as a reward for this amazing demonstration of sport-womanship. Sara won player of the year and Mallory and Liz own an ESPY.  In the clip, I was impressed by the modesty of these players which makes all these rewards even more deserved. They didn’t go out to win anything – they just went out to play softball the best they could with the highest degree of ethics possible.

One mom’s comment sums of this situation the best:

 “I'm tired of seeing professional athletes that later are busted for drinking, drugs and other inapproprate actions. These are the role models I want my kids to look up to!”

I couldn’t agree more! Thanks, Ellen, for reminding us of what still is right in sports – and what we must make sure is present and accounted for in all sports leagues for kids of all ages...including the pros. 


Average: 5 (1 vote)

This Just In: Our Kids Are Really Not That Fit!

If you ask parents if their kids are fit, most will say “yes”. If you ask kids if they are fit, most think they are. A new study out tomorrow in JAMA rocks those perceptions to the core with quite a reality check. (JAMA. 2008;300[3]:295-305.)

The recommended amount of activity to stay healthy and avoid things like obesity  is 60 minutes a day for kids.  This doesn’t have to occur all at once but over the course of the entire day. Recess counts. Gym counts. Running outside after school – counts. How many kids are meeting this mark? That is just what  researchers out of UC San Diego wanted to know, and the results  shock you.

The researchers followed 1000 kids ages 9-15 who wore a special belt called a accelerometer to monitor their physical activity levels 1 week a year at ages 9, 11, 12, and 15.  Most kids met the guidelines at ages 9 and 11 - good news so far. However, by age 15, less than 1/3 were getting the recommended amount of exercise!  Girls started to dip in their activity around age 13 years of age and boys around age 14.7.

Despite a few limitations with the study, which all studies have, the results are a big wake up call for all of us that  our kids' future healths are at huge risk! If you take a moment to look around your community, you'll know what I mean. It is like a switch gets tossed between tweendom and teendom and sets a ball in motion that doesn't bode well for what these kids will be like as adults. As stated in the study's conclusion:  

“This decrease [in physical activity] augurs poorly for levels of physical activity in U.S. adults and potentially for health over the course of a lifetime. Consequently, there is a need for program and policy action as early as possible at the family, community, school, health care, and governmental levels to address the problem of decreasing physical activity with increasing age.”

Programs are a great idea but those will take time to develop and implement. While that process is ongoing, there is a great deal you can do to improve your family's physical activity amount and, consequently, future health: 

1. Get everyone moving more each and every day. Make it a family affair. In my family, we take a walk together at some point around dinner time. Start small and build from there. Small changes over time tend to be the ones with the biggest long term benefits - and the ones that create the best life-long habits. 

2. Hunt for activities your kids can have fun with as kids but that will carry over into adult life. These tend to be the more individual sports. Team sports are fantastic but most kids won't carry those over beyond childhood.

3. Carve out time for free play as often as possible. Old fashioned outdoor fun with no game plan will let you kids burn off steam daily as well as fill an important developmental and emotional need.

Finally, this study puts the recent debate of Statin drug use in kids in a very different light.  As I wrote recently, I'm ambivalent about the use of Statins in kids. The risk/benefit analysis seems shaky to me, as well as to many of my pediatric colleagues. It is hard to recommend a pill for a child in that setting. But, now that we know kids are not moving enough, we can't count on that to keep cholesterol in check either.  Talk about a catch-22! It may very well be that until we get kids more active, Statins are our only alternative for some kids - emphasis on some!  

So, with the Statin recommendation lurking in the wings and this new JAMA study opening our eyes on how much kids are really moving as they become teenagers, what now? Do as they do in the Madagascar movie, just move it! 

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Preventing ACL Injuries In Kids: Really a Matter of Child's Play

Do you remember Dr. Spock's motto, "Live long and prosper"? Great words to live by and a dream all parents have for their kids. However, today's kids may not get to adulthood without some sort of long-term problem created by the sports they love. A recent article in the The Boston Globe with some of the country's leading pediatric orthopedists drives that point home.

Aptly titled "Torn ACLs, other big Injuries hit little athletes," the article is a healthy mix of stories about real kids injured in sports with current statistics and recommendations to help potentially improve the future. The first paragraph is a sobering reminder of the type of overuse injuries are kids are facing these days in sports: a stress fracture of the lower back in a teen gynmast, a torn ACL in a pre-teen soccer player, a stress fracture in a runner's leg, a teen basketball player with a torn meniscus.

This list of injuries is not the result of selection bias by looking into the waiting room of a specialist's office. These are truly the type of injuries kids are suffering in sports today - and most start out being seen in pediatric offices just like mine. And, as the article acurately states, the number of kids injured like this due to sports is most certainly on the rise. In fact, 3.5 million kids were seen for sports related injuries in the last year alone. It used to be I'd see a handful of bad injuries for every sports season. Now I can count on seeing at least a few a shift. No longer can I assume an injuried child has "just a sprain" or "just a bruise". While some kids luck out with these minor injuries, many more do not and end up needing to be referred rather quickly to an orthopedist.

What always amazes me in the wake of a bad injury is when I'm asked when the kids can return to play. Honestly, that should be furthest from your mind as a parent. Kids who injure themselves this severely must be allowed to heal correctly and that does take time. Just think about the DL list for the pros. I blogged about this recently, in fact.

Even more concerning than the rate of rise of youth sports injuries is the type of injuries we are seeing. Many of these injuries are injuries we never used to see in kids that are occurring because kids' bodies are being pushed more intensely and at younger ages than ever before. This has simply got to stop! As Dr. Dr. E. Lyle Cain, an Orthopedist from Birmingham, AL, told The Globe, "Youth athletes are not the same as small adults." And some injuries "can cause permanent damage that affect their future growth."

We have to remember that everything our kids do in their childhoods impacts their future lives. Youth sports should be helping our kids become more fit and healthy and instead it is having the exact opposite effect.

The good news is we can stop this madness! How? Simple: change the pace of our kids' youth sports lives by trying to meet these goals:

  1. We have to stop pushing our kids so hard, so young.

  2. We have to let their injuries heal when they occur. 

  3. We have to give them more variety in their sports and fitness program year ‘round. 

  4. We have to let kids have time for recreational sports in the form of form of free play.

The last point is perhaps the most important for our kids' overall health and the point youth sports experts have been advising for a while now. Dr. Kocher told The Globe that increasing the amount of basic outdoor fun has another very important benefit for our kids: it is protective for ACL injuries: "A lot of the stuff kids used to do in free play was ACL prevention," he says. "Now they don't get that, and they jump into high-level soccer.""

Talk about cool - and not requiring a carpool or fancy sports equipment!!

Sports and fitness are important to overall health and development but have to be incorporated into childhood the right way. At the moment, the injury rate and types of injuries are telling us that the mix is all wrong. So, let's regroup and try a different path. Free time with more play path is honestly the only path our kids have not been allowed to be on much and the one we have to let them travel on more while they are still kids. Their health and well being, today, tomorrow and in the future count on you being able to find them that time.



What Color Is Your Inner Red Sox Fan?

pink red sox hatWhat color is your inner fan? Today mine is pink. Although, some days it is green or mustard yellow - or black if I'm wearing one of the Sox championship hats! As I type this post, I’m wearing my almost new Red Sox very pink t-shirt that my kids gave me for Mother’s Day, part of MLB’s Breast Cancer Awareness line. Does any of this nonteam color wearing make me somehow a "lesser fan", as some have argued recently? No way! In fact, I'd argue the exact opposite. I may not have all the player stats committed to memory but I know what’s going on with my home town boys just like the  "real color"  wearing fans. I just opt to have variety in my  fan-womanship.

We all know the sports culture has a very out of control side but I have to admit the recent Boston Globe article Why Is This Pink Hat So Hated?( June 26, 2008) caught even me off guard. I couldn’t help wonder if the pink hat haters thought for a moment about what message they were sending to their kids about what it means to be a fan. And, I couldn’t help but wonder if these adult fans were some of the problem parents we often see on youth sports sidelines. Sports do seem to tap into the irrational in many adults. Check out this quote from the article by one pink hat hating dad:

"Pink is not a part of the Red Sox palette….And while we're at it, ban the green ones and the camouflage ones, too. Those aren't the team's colors."

This man goes so far to not even allow his two young daughters to wear pink hats and has banned them from his home. Yet, he fails to realize a very important fact: these hats, like the entire rainbow of Red Sox hats, didn't emerge out of thin air. I didn't create them nor did any of my pink hat wearing  fellow fans. These are all Red Sox and MLB approved!  Even the  Red Sox wear "non team" colors on occasion to show support for  important causes. They recently wore green to support the Boston Celtics championship win and they  wore pink and used pink  bats on Mother's Day.

Different strokes for different folks is what I feel, and what sociologist Michael Ian Borer told the Globe in the article: “All fans are different, so it makes sense that not everyone worships in the same way." 

Our kids learn to become fans from us. How we act in any sports venues is the foundation of our kids' fan behavior. This isn’t as much about hat wearing as it is about sportsmanship and, perhaps, stereotypes. What we should be focusing on is ensuring the family fun and appropriateness at all sports venues for our kids. For professional spectator sports, there are much bigger fish to fry than wardrobe! How about adults becoming intoxicated in front of kids or smoking in the seats even though the parks are nonsmoking? How about the swearing and rowdy behavior occurring right in front of our kids who are there to see their MLB heroes? We don’t take our kids to Red Sox vs. Yankees games any more because of adult behavior out of control. We just don’t want them to witness this stuff and the last time we took them to see "the rivalry of the century", a drunken man basically fell on my daughter. We left the next inning.

What we wear on our heads is not what matters. What matters is the judgment of the brain that the hat is covering!

Today my inner fan is pink, tomorrow it may be green and hard to predict beyond that. I just go by the inner fan flow. By the way, any guesses what I'll be wearing on my head next time I'm at Fenway Park with my family? You got it - pink! 


Average: 4 (1 vote)

Know What Your Kids Are Drinking And Be Careful What You Ban

This is a good thing, really. But, I do worry that some drinks have gotten a bad rap due to our quest for health.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that the vending machine industry is now stepping up to pull non diet sodas from their machines in public and private schools over the next 3 years. These measures plus State measures in place in 22 States will dramatically cut calories for many of our kids. So, as I started out saying, all good.

But, even better for me was the news in the same report that sports drinks will still be available in high school. Diet drinks will be there, too, but it is the sports drinks I want to see available. Surprising? Not at all when you consider the facts.

I'll touch on the soda issue very briefly because what I really want to talk about is sports drinks. The bottom line on soda for me is I can't really think of a good reason why young kids need to have soda. So, don't give it to them. For tweens, limit soda to once in a while and special occasions but steer them to the diet varieties to limit calories. They are going to be having soda when on their own with their friends so better to help them develop a taste for the diet version than the regular. And, we all know teens drink soda so diet is all that should be available and it is appropriate for them to have more choices even at school as they are almost adults.

As for sports drinks, I have no problem with them being banned for regular use - this is appropriate. Sports drinks were not designed to be utilized as a regular use drink and replace water and milk for our kids. Plus, like soda, sports drinks are empty calories when used as as regular drink.

However, if used as designed, as a rehydration solution, sports drinks do have a significant role for our young athletes, and one that is supported by science. Our young athletes work hard - they sweat and their bodies utilize a great deal of energy when they exercise and play team sports in school. This is true regardless of the outside temperature but even more true if the season is warm. When our kids' bodies work like this, and especially when the temps outside are warm, our kids sweat a great deal loosing sugars and salts as well as water. So, just drinking water along as is the practice now on many sideline won't cut it. Kids do need sports drinks to maintain their balance when all is said and done.

So, I worry that a flat of ban of sports drinks as "bad" is hurting our young athletes and I've seen many a middle school and high school athlete in my office very dehydrated after a game because all that was available on the sidelines was water. I encourage serious young athletes to preload with a sports drink and postload with one as well if all that is available during a game or practice is water to avoid becoming dehydrated and that seems to work well. In fact, I tell parents of all kids participating in youth sports to keep sports drinks at home and I review signs of dehydration to keep an eye on. While the goal is to avoid dehydration, better to treat as soon as you recognize than to miss altogether. If you are not sure what the signs of dehydration are in young athletes, click here.

This is really a long winded way of saying that not all drinks are bad if used at the right ages - and at the right times. And, perhaps it's time us parents acted as better role models at home and just stopped allowing our kids to drink certain drinks. Just a thought.


(Post republished from Dr. Gwenn Is In

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