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Knock out Concussions 

Editor:

In Grant Scott-Goforth's piece about concussion ("Putting Heads Together," Dec. 3), he quoted Beth Larson and Dustin Dutra as not being ready to make a direct connection between concussion concerns and declining enrollment in high school football. Here is one direct connection; my son won't play high school football because of the risk of brain injury.

Risk is not limited to concussions. The PBS Frontline story on football brain injury showed researchers found measurable declines in brain function in high school players who did not suffer concussions, compared to their non-football playing class mates. The day-to-day blows to the head caused decline.

Like Larson, I was once a fan of football. I was a successful high school ball player and found great release and joy in playing the game. There really is no sport like it, but I am no longer a fan of a sport where upwards of 96 percent of the brains of pro players are seriously damaged.

—Mark Wilcox, Mckinleyville


Editor:

I appreciated your recent cover story written by Grant Scott-Goforth on the North Coast Concussion Program. Beth Larson's work to raise awareness about the seriousness of concussions and her advocacy for a vulnerable population, kids, is important and laudable! Thank you, Beth!

I know from my work as a movement educator (I have been on the faculty in the dance program at Humboldt State University since 1998 and have a private practice in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education) that people recovering from TBI know challenges that most of us cannot imagine. The good news, along with the consciousness-raising, beautiful work that Larson and many others are doing, is that so much is being discovered about how the brain heals.

I have a colleague and friend who suffered a serious brain injury in his 20s, and afterward was confined to a wheelchair and feeding tube and told by doctors that he would not recover, so he sought a more optimistic approach. He found the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, whose somatic education modality is now recognized for its ability to improve posture, balance, coordination, relieve pain and chronic tension patterns, improve mental clarity and emotional well-being, and much more.

My colleague delved into Feldenkrais's movement therapy and with its help quite literally put himself back together. He went on to become a Feldenkrais practitioner, and now says he believes it is cruel to keep anyone with a brain injury alive and not make Feldenkrais's work available to them.

I highly recommend a recently published book by Norman Doidge, The Brain's Way of Healing, Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasicity. Two chapters in Doidge's book are devoted to discussing the life and work of Moshe Feldenkrais. Several talented Feldenkrais practitioners are established in our own community, find them at www.feldenkrais.com.

Jandy Bergmann, Blue Lake


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