Gather the family and get your game-face on; it's time for The Doctors' Body Bowl!
As youth and high school sports become more competitive, they have also become more dangerous.
ESPN analyst and former professional football running back Merril Hoge, author of Find a Way: Three Words that Changed My Life , is no stranger to the hard-hitting consequences of the sport, as he suffered two concussions in a five-week span.
"The big problem with what happened to me," Merril says, "is I was back on a football field too soon, without being properly evaluated."
A concussion is the most common head injury and occurs when an impact to the head causes the brain to hit the side of the skull, resulting in bruising of the brain. The damage sustained from a concussion is considered more dangerous in children, because their brains are still developing. Suffering multiple concussions can cause cognitive problems in both children and adults.
Common signs of a concussion are confusion and amnesia. If a victim cannot answer simple questions such as, "What is your name?" and "Do you know where you are?" he or she may have a concussion. If a person loses consciousness, is confused, lethargic or vomiting, take him or her to an emergency room immediately.
Warning Signs of a Concussion
• Nausea or vomiting
• Headache and dizziness
• Confusion and amnesia
• Loss of balance
• Ringing in ears
• Sensitivity to light and noise
Warning Signs of Head Trauma
• Abnormal pupil size
• Abnormal gaze
• Abnormal behavior — even if it's subtle
• Loss of consciousness
• Slurred or repetitive speech
Merril shows 11-year-old Zac, a youth football player, and his mother, Doreen, the essentials for staying safe on the field.
Cheerleading Safety Tips
1. Practice an emergency response plan with your squad:
• Make sure your child's coach is trained first aid and CPR trained.
• Always make sure there is a telephone nearby in case of an emergency.
• Assign roles:
• The coach should always stay with the athlete and apply medical attention as trained.
• Squad members should know their role, too. Someone should be assigned to call 911. Another person should be assigned to find the school nurse or trainer, etc.
• Practice these roles so your squad is prepared in case a real emergency does happen.
2. Perform on an appropriate surface
• Injuries caused by impact, like concussions and spinal injuries, can be minimized by practicing on shock-absorbing surfaces
• Wood gym floors, grass and Astroturf are not going to absorb impact as well as a gym mat.
3. Wear the appropriate shoes
• Normal running shoes or cross trainers do not provide the flexibility, durability and ankle support needed for tumbling and stunting.
• Replace your cheerleading shoes at LEAST once a year. Old shoes can lose their stability and shock absorption, causing stress to the feet and legs.
Learn the safe heights for a cheerleader to be tossed depending on the surface of the ground.
• ER physician Dr. Travis Stork returns to his undergraduate alma mater, Duke University, to find out how the basketball team's medical staff keeps the Blue Devils healthy and ready to play!
• Learn how to correctly treat a wound.
Super Snacking Tips
Eating pizza, dips and chicken wings — the calories can add up quickly when you snack while watching sporting events. New York Yankees star Jorge Posada and his wife, Laura, authors of Fit Home Team , show you how to make your favorite game-day snacks without the guilt!
Traditional Seven-Layer Dip: 290 calories, 30g fat
Skinny Dip: 100 calories, 11g fat
Small Pepperoni Pizza: 300 calories, 15g fat
Whole Wheat Touchdown Veggie Pizza: 150 calories, 10g fat
Traditional Buffalo Wings: 1,170 calories, 85g fat
Baked Buffalo Wings: 212 calories, 3g fat
• Does drinking beer really cause a beer belly?
Health Tips from the Pros
• NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony reveals how he gets ready for game day!
• Olympic gold medal-winning softball player Jennie Finch shares her tips for staying fit while pregnant.
• Halfpipe champion snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler explains how to stay healthy when hitting the slopes!
• World champion boxer Sugar Ray Leonard shares what foods give him stamina and endurance.
The Doctors asked men on Twitter if they would give up sex for one month if their favorite team could win the big game. Twenty-six percent responded yes!
Phyllis' husband, Morris, is among those die-hard football fans, and she is frustrated by being passed over for pigskin.
"I can't get his attention," Phyllis says. "When the game is on, all he's looking at is the game."
See how Phyllis takes matters into her own hands and joins in on the football fun!
• Do big games raise the risk of having a heart attack?