5 x 8: Brain injuries and the love of the game


There’s no reason to believe kids in Canada approach sports any different than in the U.S., so a study reported by the CBC is a wake-up call. Twenty percent of kids ages 7-12 have brain injuries from sports, according to neurosurgeons involved in the study. It focused on more than 8,000 students in Ontario and is billed as one of the largest ongoing studies on the subject.

“It needs to be a wake-up call to say, look, young people are sustaining brain injuries at a very high rate,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital. “If we want to protect future generations, because our brain really defines how we are … not just as an individual, we need to do something collectively as a society to address this problem.”

Of the 464 students reporting a traumatic brain injury in the past 12 months, sports injuries accounted for more than half of the cases, 56 per cent, particularly for boys. Concussions that didn’t lead to loss of consciousness or a hospital stay weren’t included.

“We need to increase our efforts around sport so that kids get the benefit of sports but don’t suffer these negative consequences,” Cusimano said. “We know that we still have a significant problem with hits to the head, hits from behind and fighting,” in youth hockey.

Students reporting poor grades were around four times more likely to say they’d had a brain injury.


If you are in the zone affected by the weekend storms — and even if you’re not — you are enjoying the last days of the drone-free world of journalism. It’s a wonder that some TV, radio, or newspaper outfit hasn’t outfitted reporters with their own little drones around here already.

“I’m a little worried that a lot of the entities are trying to nip this in the bud before they realize what they’re going to give up,” Scott Pham, director and founder of the Missouri Drone Journalism Program tells Local Media Insider.

Currently, journalists are using drones for projects like this…

But Pham sees bigger fish to fry with drones:

Leaders of the drone journalism movement envision a time when news organizations may also use drones them to uncover investigative pieces they may normally not see, such as illegal environmental damage that takes place on corporate-owned or accessed property.

What’s the problem? For one thing, the journalism project found, there’s no enough training on how to fly the things. They are, after all, aircraft and is it really a good idea for a journalist to be given the keys to something that actual pilots have to spend hours (and tons of money) to properly fly? And can journalists, who often can’t remember simple rules of sentence structure and spelling, be trusted to remember the FAA rules. A friend of mine, a very experienced pilot, flies an unmanned RC vehicle, finds it quite a challenge to control, and notes that the whirring propellers can inflict a lot of damage on a person.

But it’s going to happen soon. And as it does, we’ll have to put up with a lot of drone-generated stories that boil down to, “look at us; we’ve got a drone,” before we take the next big step to using one for actual quality journalism.

Journalists in other countries are ahead of ours, however. Check out this work from the protests in Turkey, for example.

(H/T: Chris Worthington)


As if there was a sports team playing a late game on the coast,people awoke this morning wondering what finally happened to Texas lawmaker Wendy Davis’ plan to filibuster an abortion bill in that state. She was trying to run out the clock on the legislative session.

Let’s go to the scoreboard… or the Texas Tribune:

Conservative lawmakers tried every tool in the Senate rulebook to derail the filibuster. A “three strikes, you’re out” precedent in the Senate grants lawmakers two warnings about staying germane to the bill topic. On the third strike, a simple majority of the Senate can vote to end debate and the senator must yield the floor.

Ultimately, Davis received the three strikes: two were on the germaneness of the discussion and one was related to Davis receiving assistance from another senator to put on a back brace. Democrats attempted to appeal the third strike — one on germaneness — and used parliamentary inquiries to stall debate for another two hours, which ultimately opened the door for the uproar in the gallery that prevented the Senate from voting on SB 5 until after midnight.

As midnight approached, nearly 6,000 tweets per minute were being posted about the filibuster, CNN reports. A YouTube live stream had almost 200,000 viewers.


Hockey players grow beards during the playoffs so Park Ridge, Illinois fan Frank Miller did the same thing– with his lawn. He refused to mow it until after the playoffs.

That caused a ruckus among the neighbors and bureaucrats down at City Hall, so yesterday the cops and a contractor arrived to cut his lawn, the Chicago Tribune reports today:

Miller, 44, had planned to have people donate money to cut his playoff lawn, with proceeds going to support a childhood friend battling a rare and debilitating disease. Despite the city’s successful efforts to trim, Miller and his wife said they would continue their planned fundraiser.

“They may have cut our lawn, but not our spirit,” Kimberly Miller said in an email. “Our fundraiser must go on.”

Inspired by the “playoff beard” tradition in hockey, where players and fans refuse to shave in the hopes of propelling their team to Stanley Cup glory, Miller said he would not cut his grass until his beloved Blackhawks lift the Cup.

City officials say his playoff lawn violated a municipal ordinance designed to prevent overgrown lawns from becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the West Nile virus. After warning Miller to cut his grass, the city dispatched a private contractor late last month to take care of the job.


With the rookie draft scheduled for tomorrow, the Cleveland Cavaliers took a shot at trading for Kevin Love of the Timberwolves, ESPN reports. They didn’t get him, obviously, but it has officially kicked off “should Kevin Love be traded?” season in Minnesota.

The blog, A Wolf Among Wolves, pauses to think about this:

Kevin Love is going to opt out in 2015. How does that make you feel?

Are you panicked because of this? Are you worried that we’re not good enough? Are you afraid that Kevin Love is going to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015? When David Kahn was still around and making decisions or partial decisions for this team, I felt nervous about Love leaving. I still figured the Wolves have the upper hand and could ultimately carve out their own destiny with this situation, but having Kahn just spoiled the livestock.

But with him gone and Flip clearly working on building an amicable and close relationship with Love, I don’t feel worried about it anymore. I don’t think the Wolves have to even entertain the thought of trading him for the next year and a half. Sure, there’s the idea that you get out ahead of it now and try to maximize your return (sorry, Cleveland, but that ain’t it) like the Utah Jazz did with Deron Williams. But I kind of have this crazy thought about the whole Kevin Love-2015 situation.

More sports: Let’s Separate The Schoolin’ From The Sports : NPR.

Bonus I: Election Forecasts – FiveThirtyEight Blog.

Bonus II: The Volokh Conspiracy » Making Sense of Shelby County.

Bonus III: I think somewhere I have a category called “reporters standing in water to tell you about a flood.” After this KARE 11 shot yesterday, I think I need a new category.



Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The Daily Circuit will examine the Prop 8 and DOMA cases as the opinions are released by the Supreme Court. Our guests will provide a legal analysis and then look ahead to the politics of what’s next for advocates and/or opponents.

Second hour: Racial disparities in elite careers.

Third hour: As the media landscape evolves, the way people listen to public radio is changing, and the way the audience gets content from public radio is changing as well. Delivering content on a variety of platforms is now the name of the game. We’ll speak with the CEOs of MPR and NPR about how public radio can meet the changing needs of the audience now and in the future.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): President Obama’s Georgetown University speech (given Tuesday) on climate change and what he wants to do about it.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Rochester City Council recently voted to share its sales tax revenue with 17 small towns in southeastern Minnesota. This allocation comes after Rochester voters last fall approved an extension of the local sales tax. In all, the city will distribute $5 million to help support economic development projects in towns like Byron, Chatfield, Dodge Center, and Pine Island, among others. Officials in these small towns say their communities rely heavily on Rochester for much of their survival. And now that Mayo plans to expand even further, we head out to some of these town to see how Rochester’s growth will continue to impact them. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier will have the story.

NPR and MPR will be providing extensive coverage of today’s expected decision (s) on same-sex marriage.