Thank you to those who voted on last week’s poll. Only four people actually did so, but out of those I discovered that half were caregivers of someone who has dementia, with the other two being a professional and a student. Hopefully, more people will answer this week’s question. I’m hoping to discover what kind of articles you would prefer to see here on this site. It is possible to give multiple answers. Again, if you have anything to add in the “Other” category, please use the Comments function. This poll will run for one week.
Well, once again I have let a good deal of time lapse between my visits here, and once again I do apologize. I hope I can be forgiven, though, due to the recent death of my dear husband after a long illness, and other issues. Even today, I’m travelling between states to deal with my husband’s effects and close up the house, (Hey, this hotel has good biscuits and gravy, but I can’t recommend their fried eggs.) I have to give a big thumbs up here to someone whose blog I follow religiously, Kate Swaffer, with regards to her diligence and regular posting even with all she has going on. Is there something they put in your water down there in Australia, Kate?
Anyway, even though I haven’t been posting here, this site has been on my mind frequently. As you might be able to discern from my last few posts, I have been looking for ideas as to how to improve it and try to garner even more readers than already visit it. (It was rather awe-inspiring for me to read that someone from Singapore visited my site yesterday, though.) I’ve got some ideas in my head, and hopefully you’ll be seeing some of them put into placee seen. Some of these include expansions of some of my writings in the form of eBooks, materials for professionals, webinars (once I master the ue of PowerPoint), and so on.
Another decision I have made is to ask you, my readers, for help. This could be in the form of a guest post. If you think you have something good to say, either from an informational or an editorial standpoint, feel free to send it to me privately at email@example.com. I do reserve the right to approve what you’ve written, but I promise not to change it — except for possible edits due to spelling or grammar. So, if you think you have something worth-while to say, but don’t want to have to bother with maintaining a site like this, or if you’d like to try your hand at writing and see how you like it, or if you have a long-standing site of your own that you would like to draw more attention to, feel free to give me a holler.
I could also use someone to help me navigate the social media highway. Ihave to confess it’s had me flummoxed for a while now. I did recently venture out into Twitter on a limited basis, and I seem to recall joining StumbleUpon, but I never seem to find the time to visit my Facebook page, and Pinterest has me totally helpless. (And this from someone who met her husband on-line.) If someone could help me decipher this mess, either with a one-time tutorial, or even a long-standing contributing relationship, I would be eternally grateful. Again, either contact me through the comments function or at the above–mentioned address.
Well, it seems breakfast is over. Time to get to work.
Those of you who visit this site regularly will have noticed that one of my pet topics is concussions and brain injury in athletes (especially our youngsters). I’m glad to see that this subject is getting a lot of attention from others as well, including research into how we can prevent such things from happening. And the large number of professional football players who recently brought suit against the NFL only serves to illustrate how wide-spread the development of dementia in these and other athletes has become.
But, at least football players wear helmets that provide some degree of protection against concussions. (On second thought, after seeing the large number of former players mentioned in the recent lawsuit, I have to wonder just how much protection these helmets actually offer.) Participants in many other sports frequently place themselves at just as much risk of serious head injury, but typically wear no protection at all. The current attention given to soccer and the World Cup illustrates this very well.
In baseball, the batter does wear a modicum of protection on his head, and the catcher is dressed as if he was involved in a medieval jousting match. But the other players are left to their own resources. Now, of those in the in-field and outfield, it could easily be said that the player should be able to see the ball coming in time to get out of its way. But what of the pitcher? He will hurl a hard object at 90 mph or better at the batter, from 50 to 60 feet away, only to have the batter hit it with a force that sends it spinning at an even faster rate of speed — sometimes right at the head of the pitcher.
I’ve inserted some footage of a baseball pitcher being struck in the head by a batted ball, just to illustrate how dangerous this can be. A word of warning here — this might be hard to watch for some people, so if you choose not to view it I will understand completely. Even though this man walked out of the stadium on his own steam, I learned that he later had to have brain surgery, and has since suffered at least one seizure related to this incident.
Well, apparently our cries have been heard, and research has been on-going to develop a safe and practical helmet for baseball players — particularly for pitchers. Major League Baseball announced recently that it has plans on the table for six different helmets. Actually, the ones that I saw were nothing more than a regular baseball cap, with extra padding over the head. Most of the players interviewed stated that they would not wear such a helmet, if the choice was voluntary — even players who had been hit in the head. They viewed the danger of getting hit as an occupational hazard that they were willing to accept.
Some of us may have forgotten (or never knew) about the furor that accompanied the ruling that batters were to wear helmets, in 1971. And I’ve also heard about the problems involved in getting football players to wear helmets, many more years ago than that. I wonder, though, why a baseball player will gladly put on a helmet when he picks up a bat, and yet refuses to do so. Is it merely because his paycheck depends on it?
Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s medical director, has a few ideas as to why pitchers are reluctant to wear helmets. For one thing, players at bat are trained to keep t heir heads as still as possible, in order to hit the ball. This keeps the helmet from wobbling around. But the very gyrations that a picture goes through would make it difficult to throw with the accuracy, and at the velocity, to which they are accustomed. Not to mention what the addition of several pounds of weight would do to a player’s biomechanics.
Dr. Barry Jordan, director of brain injury rehab at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, N.Y., has an idea as to why the number of this type of injury has increased in recent years. He points out that today’s pitchers use a different style and posture when they throw, to add force and velocity to their pitches. So, whereas pitchers used to end their throwing cycle in a basic fielding position, ready to catch the ball if it was hit toward them, these modern pitchers are nowhere near in a position where they are ready to field a ball. And he quite logically argues that it would most likely be difficult to talk these pitchers into sacrificing a little speed and accuracy, for the sake of safety. Most of them would probably just as soon take their chances.
So, what’s it going to take to get MLB to produce helmets, and to entice players to wear them? Unfortunately, more than one source has said that someone’s going to have to die. I certainly hope that’s not the case. I think it would be incredibly tragic for the young people of our country to have to watch one of their heroes die on live TV. Gosh, I hope that doesn’t happen. But lately, something did happen that makes me think we may be on the verge of a turn-around in attitudes.
On June 22, Alex Torres of the San Diego Padres took his turn on the mound wearing one of the new helmets. I read that he had taken over the mound, last year, when another pitcher had been struck in the head by a batted ball. He also stated that he himself had a “close call” during spring training this year. He reasoned that the cap was free, and why not give it a try? I’ve seen a lot of comments from other players about how they wouldn’t consider wearing something like that — even players who have been the victim of line drives to the head. (Boggles my mind how the man who was involved in the clip presented above would refuse to wear something that might prevent him from further injury.) But others have said that it doesn’t look as bad as they thought it might. And, it is a first step. Who knows what might be developed down the road?
Here is a clip of Torres on the mound, wearing the helmet. There is some interesting conversation between the commentators about it, that is worth listening to.
Bravo, Alex. I hope you have a lot of people following in your footsteps.
Glen Campbell’s wife Kim announced Thursday that she has moved him into a long-term care facility. She stated that his Alzheimer’s Disease has progressed to the stage where he needs full-time professional care. Sadly, though, it seems that his children have made it clear that they are not totally in agreement with this decision.
I was impressed when I initially read about Mr. Campbell’s disclosure that he had AD, more so when I read about how his family and others worked so hard to enable him to continue to perform and record as long as he was able. Especially touching was the way his daughter, who also played in his back-up band, assisted him on stage during his last tour. (There used to be a clip of this elsewhere on my site. I’ll try to look it up and post the link here.) I have been fortunate enough to know other musicians who, if given the right kind of assistance, have been able to access procedural memory and perform long after some might not have thought it possible. To me, this just illustrates the idea that some memories remain, if we can only find a way to access them.
I do hope that the Campbell family resolves its disagreements and is able to work together to make their husband and father’s remaining days as fulfilled as possible. (And that they don’t follow in the footsteps of Casey Kasem’s family.) And I wish Mr. Campbell as peaceful an end to this life as is possible, and pray that he is welcomed into the arms of a loving God when the time comes.
I have started a Yahoo Group for the purpose of being able to discuss various topics related to dementia. Hopefully, this will encourage a little more participation from readers than with the Comments function here. Topics can related to things I post here, or questions or other matters raised by you — my readers. There is also a way for you to contact me privately, if you wish.
It is my impression that you do not need a Yahoo ID to participate. I know it used to be possible to join using your eMain address. (If this has changed, please let me know.) Membership is restricted, meaning that I will have to approve your request to join. This is to keep out spammers; Yahoo Groups used to be notorious about attracting spam. I will also be moderating members’ first few posts, until I get to know you. Of course, if you’re an active commenter here, I’ll approve your posts right away.
The new group can be found here.
I’m in the process of creating a Yahoo Group associated with this site. This will provide a place for people to pose questions, or suggest topics for discussion, with a little more flexibility than what is provided through the Comments section of this site. I believe there will also be a way to send a message directly to me, if desired.
Keep an eye out here, and I’ll post when the group is up and running. If anyone has suggestions for how they would like to see it set up, please leave a comment here and I’ll take it under consideration.
Okay, so I freely admit that I’m more than a bit behind the times. In these days when social media sites abound, I’m still standing on the sidelines with a somewhat perplexed look on my face. It’s true that I did meet my husband through an on-line discussion forum (long before the days of eHarmony), and I used to be active in the chat rooms, but that was fifteen years ago and the state of the art has progressed by leaps and bounds since then.