Monthly Archives: March 2012

Orlando Demolition Injures One

Downtown Orlando has officially said goodbye to one of their signature buildings that decorated the area for more than twenty years. The Amway Arena, which primarily housed the NBA’s Orlando Magic, was scheduled for demolition after its doors were closed on September 30, 2010. For those non-basketball fans out there, the Arena was also known for playing home to the Solar Bears from the International Hockey League, the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League and the annual performance of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. But during its official demolition last Sunday morning, a man who was standing nearly two blocks away was hit in the leg by a piece of falling steel. The injury was minor, but the accident was odd. Most demolitions are self-contained with viewers standing nearby to watch.

So why was the Amway Arena torn down at all?

Due to the growing popularity of the Orlando Magic during the 1990s, the facility quickly proved unsustainable. Renovations were urged within just five years of its 1989 construction. Since the facility was publically financed, government officials couldn’t stomach the idea of immediately renovating a brand new building, but with twenty years of frustrations welling up, the City of Orlando was finally willing to throw in the hat. A new Amway Center was dedicated on October 1, 2010, allowing the city to officially consider what to do with the old property.

A decision to demolish the Amway Arena came quickly, but not without its apprehensions. The original building cost more than $100 million of public revenue, making its ultimate implosion a tough pill to swallow. But an implosion was and is among the most respectable, controlled ways to bring down a work of massive construction. Why a man two blocks away was hit with flying steel is tough to explain. The city just hopes that his hospital bill doesn’t add any more to the losses already sacrificed.

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NFL Hammer Comes Down on Payton, Coaches

So by now you’ve heard the news. Sean Payton, Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints, was suspended for an entire season; the result of an NFL punishment for indirectly endorsing a system of bounties for any defensive players who can intentionally injure a human target of their opponent. But Payton wasn’t the only one who took the fall. Former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams was indefinitely banned from working (let alone coaching) in the NFL, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is out for eight games, and linebackers coach, Joe Vitt, will lose six games. More than 20 players on the Saints’ roster are also on the chopping block, but the decisions have yet to be made.

Basically, New Orleans football is looking anything but saintly.

At the time when Bounty-gate turned viral and everyone was talking about the controversy, NFL fans, for the most part, were very turned off by the idea that any team would be so unsportsmanlike as to wish their opponent serious, perhaps even career-ending injuries. However, when the hammer came down on Sean Payton, many fans went into cardiac arrest; believing that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had gone too far in his metering of punishment to the guilty parties. Was Payton in the wrong for not putting an end to this bounty on his team? Absolutely. But a year of suspension? No one seems happy.

Goodell appears to have chosen a road of Machiavellian leadership, in which his mantra asks whether it is better for the king to be loved or hated. The king who tries to sustain the long-term love of his people will never completely achieve such ends. However, the king who accepts that he will be hated, well, his people learn to accept the severity of his discipline. And right now, NFL Owners are all desperately trying to ensure that they don’t face the next wave of Goodell’s hammer. If the consequences of Bounty-Gate end up lowering the number of serious injuries in the NFL over the next year, then we’ll all agree that the king was wise.

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Knicks: Don’t Worry About Jeremy Lin

Panic swept the NBA on Saturday when Jeremy Lin went to the bench with what was reported to be a ‘sore knee’. Doctors simply clarified that it was nothing more than a nagging soreness that comes with overuse. Fans may have forgotten, but Lin wasn’t in the starting lineup until last month, when he led the New York Knicks on an exciting win streak and established what many were calling Linsanity. So whether we like to hear it or not, Lin is bound to have occasional soreness, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a season.

Sore knees that result from overuse are characterized by obnoxious pain around the edges of a knee joint, but there has been no twist or fall that contributed to the pain. Physicians offer several suggestions for healing that sore knee (or knees, if you’ve been running). Among those recommendations are rest, ice, ibuprofen, and strengthening exercises. Examples of strengthening exercises might include a mini-squat (a slow bend of the knees while the back is resting on a wall) or the clam (45 degree bends of the knee while lying on your side).

In order to be proactive about these risks and confront them before they hamper your activities (like they did for Jeremy Lin on Saturday), many will suggest 4-6 weeks of conditioning exercises, proper shoes, and cool downs. Please consider that even the most elite athletes are still human. Your success depends on learning from both their strengths and their weaknesses.

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AJSM: Snowboarding More Dangerous Than Skiing

The American Journal of Sports Medicine put out a report in early 2012 stating that, statistically, the risks are much higher with snowboarding than skiiing. Perhaps this seems an obvious conclusion, since one sport puts the pressure on a single board while the other provides a natural balance to the use of both legs. However, the numbers really add weight to the argument.

For example, snowboarders are more likely to injure their wrists than any other part of the body. This only makes logical sense. If both legs are positioned together on a board and a fall begins at increasingly high speeds, the athlete is going to brace that fall with the most instinctual body part available: the wrist. On the other hand, skiers are more likely to injure their ACL (knee). And again, this only makes sense. Dr. Terrell Joseph of Vail-Summit Orthopaedics in Vail, Colorado, described it like this:

“When you rotate and torque your knee at the same time, the force is transferred through the ski and the binding, through the stiff boot. The next mobile joint is the knee, thus subject to injury. Meniscal tears are common when this happens; ‘sitting in the back seat’ in combination with the rotary torque causes the ACL to pop, which the patient often hears as the ligament tears.”

But as all athletes learn, there is no sport that enjoys complete and total escape from the risks of injury. What this study conveys is not whether athletes today can or should change their preferences, but what the athletes of tomorrow might decide to pursue on the slopes. Risks are inherent with every sport, but research helps to guide our decisions about how to play in the most healthy way possible.

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Unfortunate Luck of the Irish Road Worker

The timing couldn’t have been worse. While many around the world celebrated St. Patrick’s Day this past weekend, Ireland received a bit ‘o bad news. Apparently, the Belfast Telegraph was reporting that one in five road workers who commit to projects along the roads of Northern Ireland have either known or been someone injured by passing motorists. Those numbers are staggering, especially when it turns out that many injuries actually come from individuals who literally hurl things out of their vehicles at these workers. That’s right. Of those injured, four out of ten say that they were hit by a deliberate missile from a passenger going much too fast to catch or punish.

Studies of this problem began after a series of problems began in Northern Ireland where drivers had decided, on multiple occasions, to speed through road work stop signs. Where we might imagine a few insults being hurled, apparently the Irish felt their words weren’t enough to convey disgust. Now that objects are becoming missiles from a fast moving vehicle, the danger for road workers has reached an all time high.

Rosie Leech, an inspector with the Police Services of Northern Ireland (PSNI), has become very firm on this issue over the last several weeks:

“Breaking temporary speed limits though roadworks, particularly where contractors are working, is incredibly dangerous and will not be tolerated. Please follow all directions and instructions at road works. It could save your life as well as someone else’s.”

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The New Mile High Manning

The NFL offseason has proved to be almost as fascinating as the season itself. During a crazy bid of free agency, players are moving all over the franchise map. For a little while there, fans were talking about the potential ‘dream team’ in San Francisco, where Randy Moss (star receiver from New England and Minnesota) and Mario Manningham (star receiver from last year’s Super Bowl with the New York ‘football’ Giants) both signed. What made these two acquisitions most tantalizing was that Peyton Manning, whose neck injury cost him a season and a contract with Indianapolis, was also hunting for a new team and San Francisco was in his top three. But there will be no dream team on the Bay. Instead, on Monday morning, Manning decided to move his family into the Mile High city of Denver, Colorado where he will don a Broncos jersey this August.

The picture was quite a sight. John Elway, former Denver quarterback and two time Super Bowl winner (arguably the only quarterback in NFL history to retire at the peak of his career), shaking hands with future hall-of-famer and one time Super Bowl winner, Peyton Manning, whose brother happens to have as many rings as Elway. Denver fans may have felt strongly about Tim Tebow, but at the end of the day, fans want their team to win a championship and Tebow just hadn’t proven that he was consistently capable of being a star quarterback.

Unfortunately, the acquisition of Manning has its risks as well. Some are calling Peyton ‘damaged goods’. And the truth is, he has physical baggage that comes with a mile high price. Prior to the beginning of last season, Manning had to undergo neck surgery, a decision that cost him the season and eventually led to a parting of ways between he and his beloved Colts. If, for any reason, the offensive line lets him down in Denver, Manning could be out for good. Can he still throw like a hall-of-famer? That’s whay Elway says. But we just don’t know how his body will hold up when those hits keep coming.

We’ll have to wait and find out where Tebow ends up before we’ll know who gets the last laugh.

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Every Six Minutes, a Child is Injured on the Stairs

According to a new study from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child is injured on the stairs every six minutes. This should strike an immediate concern for parents whose homes are already being baby-proofed for such risks. Apparently, even those stair gates that we put so much confidence in are simply not enough. They reduce the risk of children toppling down the stairs, but putting them up and walking away isn’t enough.

Certain members of the home have been known to remove these gates because of an inconvenience, opening up a vulnerable path that the protective parent might be unaware. In other cases, some toddlers and even older babies grow strong enough to knock these gates down by the sheer weight of their hand or the slip of their bodies. Imagine a toddler who accidentally falls backwards into a stair gate. Will the gate hold their weight? Probably not.

The study warns parents to follow through with the very things that they tell their children to avoid. For example, do not leave foreign objects on or near the staircase. Tripping on a small Hot Wheels car might lead to an unnecessary visit at the nearest emergency room. If your home has a staircase, try to limit the number of times that you go up and down the stairs carrying your children. Even adults have a tendency to slip over two left feet. No need to turn a silly moment into a serious accident.

Overall, just be aware of the research. Gates are a good start. Additional precautions are even better.

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The Cost of Childhood Farming Injuries

While farming may be largely forgotten in the outskirts of an American Dream, farmers are still very much alive and well across the nation. And no farm would be complete without the family unit; a cohesive collection of babies, toddlers, moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas and young teens all playing a small or large part in the success of the farm. Unfortunately, this also comes with a share of frightening dangers that are largely ignored. According to Pediatrics, nearly 30,000 farming and ranching children are injured in the United States each year at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion.

Perhaps, we might argue, these are the inevitable realities of young people driving tractors, herding cattle, and stretching barbed-wire fences. Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of the reported injuries were said to be ‘work related’. In other words, most of the problems stem from simply having children on a farm where dangerous machines are much more accessible than they are on, say, a New York City loft.

The researchers warn parents of farm children to be slightly more cautious about pushing their children to use machinery and tools that they aren’t quite physically or psychologically ready to handle. Yes, farms create a sense of work ethic and responsibility that is almost unmatched in other areas of life. However, the dangers warrant some added precautions for parents who might otherwise urge their children to take on tasks that they probably should wait one or two more years to begin.

Many injuries can be preventable if care is taken to heed the warnings of research. This isn’t to suggest that drastic changes are required from the farming and ranching community. Just a growing awareness of the dangers and costs that come from pushing children too quickly.

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A Bounty-Full Controversy in the NFL

Believe it or not, with every major controversy earning a -gate suffix, the newest hit on the NFL (pun intended) is being called ‘Bountygate’. Many are now looking for more than six degrees of separation from Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, the single most hated man in professional football right now. Why? Because word has it that Williams either introduced or endorsed a ‘bounty’ to any of his defensive players, both in New Orleans and Washington, who could literally injure their opponent. Among the potential victims of this original plot include Brett Favre and Peyton Manning; neither of whom are currently active in the NFL.

But don’t injuries come with the territory of playing football? Legal expert, Matt Mitten, who directs the National Sports Law Institute, takes on that argument.

“As a general rule, those who participate in sports assume the inherent risk of injury therein. You break your arm? Suffer concussion? Broken leg? But what most courts have held is you do not assume the risk of an intentional or recklessly caused injury… I would see something as a bounty, where you’re intending to injure someone so he’s knocked out of the game… there is potential liability to those who suffer injury.”

Oddly, there is precedent for criminal charges to be filed if a court deems the weight of an injury serious enough as a result of intentionally destructive harm given by someone else. But more than likely, serious fines will be levied on the New Orleans Saints, the Washington Redskins, and any other team where this nonsense was encouraged. Even the usually squeaky-clean and well-spoken Sean Payton, head coach in New Orleans, is said to have simply turned his head on the issue, rather than stopping it cold; including the year they went to the Super Bowl and brought home the Lombardi Trophy. As for Gregg Williams, it’s unlikely he’ll be coaching anywhere professionally in 2012.

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Kobe Beats the Heat Despite Neck Injury

When Kobe wants to play, Kobe wants to play. At least, that’s what Sunday’s 93-83 victory over the Miami Heat suggests. At least one third of those points came from the Los Angeles Lakers’ star, Kobe Bryant, in spite of a recent concussion and lingering neck injury. Coach Mike Brown was almost beside himself with surprise as well; acknowledging that Bryant will fight through anything to get on the court.

According to Bryant, we shouldn’t let the scoreboard fool us.

“In terms of injuries, this has been the one that I’ve really had to adjust my lifestyle to.” A normally agile and active man in life as well as sports, Bryant has resigned himself to a lights-out, no-talking rest for his body. On top of the time he takes on his own to recover, he missed all of practice last week to undergo neck treatments. And when he isn’t following doctor’s orders or resting, Bryant pushes himself through rigorous exercises that include bicycling and neurological tests. In other words, when Kobe wants to play, he doesn’t play around (ahem).

The truth is, recovering from a neck injury is serious business. Professional athletes recognize that they are paid to be active in their sport, not sitting on the sideline. For the rest of us, stars like Kobe Bryant just teach us that it’s possible to achieve a full recovery if we have the right tools and the right support.

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