Ahead of the Game: The Parents’ Guide to Youth Sports Concussion

Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, foreword by U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. Dartmouth Univ., $19.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-61168-224-3

This short but powerful look at sports-related concussions in children and teens should be required reading for all parents whose children want to participate in contact sports like football and hockey. Moser, a neuropsychologist and director of the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey, as well as the official neuropsychologist for a number of professional teams, focuses on new research showing how chronic traumatic encephalopathy—CTE, sometimes known as “gridiron dementia”—is showing up “in athletes of increasingly younger ages.” She is not against sports, but she does want to increase awareness of what she calls “brain hygiene,” and her book is aimed at helping parents “understand, prevent, identify, and seek treatment for concussion in their kids. She is excellent at dispelling concussion myths, explaining how you do not have to hit your head to sustain a concussion, that children might not exhibit concussion symptoms until days after a hard hit or tackle, and how you can’t determine how serious a concussion is until after an athlete has recovered. She also sympathetically addresses the “growing cultural rift” between those who want to keep kids and adults safe and those who want to maintain the integrity of contact sports. “It’s up to parents to make sure that their children understand the risks of brain injury and know the signs and symptoms,” she argues. (Aug.)