Kevin Turner Is in ‘Dire’ Situation

Kevin Turner, who has been a catalyst for change in how the public views the consequences of concussions on the football field, is near the end of his battle with the incurable disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

A Washington Post story this week described Turner’s predicament as follows:

“Turner’s mind is sound — his humor, personality, charm all still there. But the disease has devastated the facade. When his nurse removes his shirt, Turner’s bones are outlined against his skin, the once-powerful muscles of an NFL fullback surrendered to atrophy. He receives oxygen through a port in his neck and nutrition through a tube to his stomach.”

His friend, Craig Sanderson, told the paper: “Honestly, had he not chosen to go on a ventilator he probably wouldn’t be here right now. He’d be gone. That’s what we were preparing for really. It was that dire a situation.”

For the story and very powerful video that accompanies it, go here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/kevin-turner-leading-plaintiff-in-nfl-concussions-lawsuit-battles-als/2014/12/15/b4c369ac-8137-11e4-b936-f3afab0155a7_story.html

 

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ABLE Act Passes Senate, Will Become Law and Help Those Kids Who Suffer Long-Term Effects of Concussions

Those who suffer debilitating concussions or brain injuries on the playing field will get some relief after the United States Senate passed the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act earlier this week.

ABLE will make it easier for Americans with disabilities to save for their long-term care. The legislation, which has been described as, “the broadest legislation to help the disabled in nearly a quarter-century,” would allow families with children who have disabilities to open up 529-style tax-free savings accounts for them to build wealth and financial independence.

“Americans with disabilities deserve every opportunity to build a brighter future and the financial stability to ensure independence and self-determination,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), who was an original co-sponsor of the bill. “For too long, families of children with disabilities have faced the choice between federal benefits to help care for their child and saving for their child’s future. When the President signs the ABLE Act into law, families will be able to ensure their children will grow up with the means to provide for themselves while also meeting their current needs. They will no longer need to choose between their family’s present and their child’s future. The fight for the ABLE Act is one I’ve been proud to be a part of. I know many families in Delaware who will benefit from this law, and am proud to have played a small role in something that can make a huge difference in their lives.”

 

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Athletic Trainer’s Book Ice ‘n’ Go Focuses on Keeping Perspective in Youth Sports

“The NFL has chosen to build its brand on the broken heads of kids,” writes columnist Sally Jenkins in her recent Washington Post article “NFL must pay for its handling of concussion issues — or Congress should intervene.”

Jenny Moshak could not agree more.

Moshak, who for 25 years was athletic trainer for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols basketball team under the legendary Pat Summitt, has been sounding the alarm for years about youth sports and keeping it all in perspective. Her book, Ice ‘n’ Go, is in large part a plea to parents, coaches, and organized sports programs to remember that youth sports is about using exercise as a part of healthy living and developing social and problem-solving skills, not training 7-year-olds to become professional athletes. The price, Jenny says, is just too high.

“The philosophy of ‘the earlier, the better’ suggests that if a child starts young enough, she or he will have a better chance at the pro’s,” said Moshak. “This concept is a myth. There is zero evidence to support that it’s true. Some high school football teams have shut down their entire season due to injuries. And the problem is not just football. For every Tiger Woods or Mia Hamm, there are thousands of kids whose careers ended very early because of physical injuries, emotional issues, or burnout. Our kids are paying a very high price for the failure to make them safer when they’re playing sports. We must keep sounding the alarm until the people making the decisions sit up, listen, and do something about this.”

“The lessons in [Ice ‘n’ Go] are valuable for parents of young athletes along with coaches of elite athletes.” —Tara VanDerveer, Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach

Moshak retired from the University of Tennessee in 2013 and is currently on assignment in Russia providing athletic support for the UMMC Ekaterinburg Women’s Basketball Club, whose roster includes Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, Kristi Toliver and Deanna Nolan. Jenny, with Chicago native Debby Schriver, is the co-author of Ice ‘n’ Go: Score in Sports and Life (University of Tennessee Press; $29.95).

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