Author: Graig Delacruz

Healthy Living: Concussions in Youth Sports

A concussion is a brain injury; the only known cure for brain injury is prevention. While helmets can protect against skull fractures and more serious brain injuries, they cannot prevent a concussion; therefore, it is vitally important to be well-informed about how to prevent a concussion.

Experts agree that the best ways to prevent concussion are to play by the rules and teaching young athletes to respect the rules of their sport is part of good coaching.

Photo by Keith Johnston

Most concussions resolve with rest within a week to ten days; however, about 10% of concussions take longer to heal and some may have long-term consequences. Many concussions go unreported; an accurate concussion history for an individual typically is not available and experts warn that there is a risk of serious injury when multiple concussions are sustained over time. The risk of second impact syndrome is real and a matter of life and death or long-term severe disability. For all of these reasons it is extremely important that everyone involved in youth sports and recreation understands how to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion, and knows what to do if a concussion is suspected both on the field and off.

There are a variety of ways to become informed and up-to-date on current concussion issues. When the New Jersey Concussion Law was passed in December 2010 it mandated that each year every student athlete and their parents/guardians receive a fact sheet. The fact sheets must be signed and returned by students and parents/guardians or the student is not permitted to participate in school sports.

Photo by John Torcasio

Return to play

Subsequent to written medical clearance stating that the student-athlete is asymptomatic at rest the Model Policy states that the graduated return-to-play protocol is initiated and supervised by a certified athletic trainer or school/team physician or, if not available, a regular physician or licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion. If symptoms re-occur during any step in the graduated return-to-play process the student athlete will return to the previous level on the following day.

Graduated return-to-play Protocol:

  1. Complete one full day of normal cognitive activities without any re-emergence of symptoms. If no symptoms appear move to step 2 the following day.
  2. Light aerobic exercise. If no symptoms appear move to step 3 on the following day.
  3. Sport specific exercise – no head impact activities. If no symptoms appear move to step 4 on the following day.
  4. Non-contact training drills: progressive resistance training. If no symptoms appear move to step 5 on the following day.
  5. Full-contact practice and participation in normal training activities. In the Model Policy step 5 is initiated FOLLOWING MEDICAL CLEARANCE (This can be a verbal consultation with the student’s physician). If no symptoms appear move to step 6 on the following day.
  6. Return to play involving normal exertion or game activity.

Cognitive activities encompass any activity where thought is involved. They include, but are not limited to: attending a full day of school, studying, watching practice, interacting with peers.

The student should continue to proceed to the next level if asymptomatic at the current level. Generally, each step should take 24 hours so that an athlete would take approximately 1 week to complete the protocol when symptoms do not re-occur. If any symptoms re-occur during the protocol, the student returns to the previous step after an additional 24 hours of rest and progresses accordingly.

Healthy Living – Ways to keep your skin safe in the sun

God gave you just one skin and it must last you a lifetime. It is the largest organ of the body and it protects you from the external environment. Your skin deserves to be cared for and needs protection from the sun and it’s harmful rays.

Many believe that getting a base tan before going on a vacation to a warm sunny climate, like Florida, will protect them from getting a sunburn and prevent sun damage to their skin. This is a myth. “A tan is not protective. If you have a tan, you have injured your skin – you have sun damage,” according to Jeffery Peterson,MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Washington University School of Medicine.

Photo by Tomas Salas

In fact, a tan is actually a sign of skin damage and is your body’s way of trying to protect it’s skin from more harmful UV rays. This is not very effective because certain UV rays get through the tan and damage deep layers of your skin every time your skin is exposed to the sun. Even after the tan fades the damage remains below the skin’s surface, where the UV radiation has penetrated and begun to permanently alter your DNA. Each time you are in the sun and getting tan the effects of the UV radiation build and over time accumulate to increase your risk of getting skin cancer. It also makes your skin look old before it’s time, causing wrinkling, age spots, scaly patches, and uneven skin tone.

Indoor tanning is not safe either, even though claims are made that it is harmless and actually healthy. Indoor tanning devices all emit ultraviolet (UV) light. A tan develops as a response to that UV radiation exposure. It causes damage to the DNA that may lead to skin cancer. The more exposure that occurs the higher the risk of skin cancer on down the line.

UV radiation seems to cause all three kinds of common skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. There are three mechanisms in it’s inducing of skin cancer: First, UV light directly damages one’s DNA leading to mutations; second, it produces activated oxygen molecules that can damage DNA and other cellular structures; and third, it leads to localized immunosuppression that blocks one’s own natural anti-cancer defenses.

The Skin Cancer Foundation has recommended the SPF sunscreen products as an effective aid in the prevention of UVA and UVB sunburn and the premature aging of skin. Many a dermatologist (skin doctor) will tell you that if you are outdoors at all without sun protection on that you are risking looking old before your time with dried winkled skin and age spots. Not only that, but you are at risk for developing skin cancer including malignant melanoma, a deadly cancer whose incidence is increasing faster in the 20-35 age group than any other cancer. So be sure to protect yourself and keep your skin looking young and smooth by the daily use of sun protection products.

Superfood at Health Tips Articles

Superfoods And Where To Find Them

There’s a new buzzword in the health industry: superfoods. These delicious dietary powerhouses are being praised for their disease prevention abilities as well as their fat-fighting and weight-loss benefits – These babies pack a powerful, nutritious punch. 

My Superfoods book to the left is published at Amazon. You will learn how to rejuvenate your skin, lose stubborn belly fat, detox your body, and energise your whole system from the superfoods I have featured in the book.

What makes superfoods unique is their high concentrations of nutrients in comparison to their calorie content.

Generally speaking, superfoods are foods that, ounce-for-ounce, contain more essential nutrients-per-calorie than their counterparts.

While this may be no surprise to many, those of us who grew up in the 1970s & 1980s are beginning to realize that our poor health is due to the food that we ate as kids, teens & young adults.

The “fast-food generation” is seeing more obesity (and obesity-related disease) than our ancestors ever have.

Now, it’s coming to our attention that we need to make some serious changes. Luckily, science is there for us and has provided proof that by simply “getting back to nature” we will kill obesity & help stave-off disease.

Many are beginning to chant the mantra: “If God didn’t make it, I’m not gonna eat it!” When you start adapting superfoods into your daily diet you will soon start noticing the difference.


Given a little thought, this makes real sense. The more highly processed a food is, the further away from Nature it becomes. These “crap foods” are just not what our bodies are designed to eat.

We, in the West, are beginning to move away from the pre-made, pre-packaged junk that we’ve been cramming down our guts and heading straight for the superfoods. Get more bite for your buck.

 The topic of Superfoods has garnered a lot of attention lately in the popular press. More and more people, like yourself are becoming aware of superfoods and are looking for advice on how to incorporate them into their lives as simply and effectively as possible.

 But many people are still a little confused on what exactly is a superfood and how does food qualify to be placed in the exalted ranks of superfood. First of all let me reassure you that there is nothing mysterious or exotic about superfoods.

No, you do not have to trek through the darkest jungles of Peru to find them. In fact you probably walk past a hundred superfoods every time you shop at your local market.

 What are superfoods? And how can they help me?

What are Superfoods and where do I find them?

We are going to do our best to outline what are super foods and their benefits here.  However, more information on Super Foods can be found in our superfoods book on Amazon kindle.  We like this because it is available for download immediately and is much more comprehensive than what we talk about in this article.

Food is the basic building blocks that our bodies run on – it is the fuel for every task in our body at a macro and micro level.  The type of fuel that you consume will affect your health and your day-to-day lifestyle and there are some that are much more beneficial than others. 

Dark chocolate believe it or not is a superfood
Dark chocolate believe it or not is a superfood

Many pains, discomforts, and illnesses that you have learned to live with are due to NOT having the right nutrients or not having enough nutrients for your body to function optimally.  The body is able to manufacture many substances and chemicals but it has to have basic proteins, vitamins, minerals, etc. or else those functions are decreased or even temporarily ceased in some cases.

Conversely, there are definite benefits to eating Super Foods which include more energy, better digestion, better resistance to sickness and disease, better memory, and more.  Because most of these super foods are found naturally, they are quite delicious and refreshing to eat compared to empty calories of manufactured food.  Many of the super foods are available within most grocery stores and in the produce and meat aisles. You will be surprised to know you probably pass over a hundred superfoods every time you do the shopping. Stay away from the interior isles which usually have the manufactured and chemically modified foods.

Let’s face it, when we were created, nature was sufficient to provide all of the nutrients that we need including the vital minerals and vitamins.  The more natural foods we consume, the better off our lives and bodies will be.  Consuming natural and healthy super food will enable us to live healthier and more enjoyable lives.

Let me tell you from personal experience that I have been eating super foods for a few years, and like all humans sometimes I succumb to eating things I shouldn’t such as Pepsi and potato chips.  Within a few hours, I begin feeling tired, worn out, and unmotivated.  Another pleasant side effect that I have noticed of eating healthy super foods is that my hunger is suppressed for longer periods.

Now I’m not saying that I never feel hungry, but it takes quite a long time after a superfood based meal until I begin to feel like I “need” more food.  Often, the next mealtime comes and I realize that I haven’t felt hungry because my body has been happily humming along at a steady digestion and consumption pace.

If feeling better were not enough of a reason to look at a super food diet, consider the long-term effects that healthy eating has on your body (or maybe I should say lack of long-term effects).  Disease, cancer, cancer, and fatigue are symptoms of poor diet so take this opportunity to consider how much better you could feel and perform if you implement a healthy diet.

The Super Foods book that we are referring to is not perfect and may not heal every disease, but it is a great place to begin or a great continuation of doing your best to have a healthy life.

Top 10 superfoods according Harward & Katherine D. McManus are:

  • Berries
  • Fish
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Yogurt
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Tomatoes