Triplicate Staff

SLI: Youth football should curb hits

It defies logic that there are now far more precautions taken to protect NFL players from head trauma than youth and high school football players, said several current or former NFL players speaking on behalf of a group advocating safer sports.

The Sports Legacy Group (SLI) visited the Super Bowl media center last week to announce it was launching a national campaign to encourage youth and high school football programs to drastically curb or eliminate contact practices during the offseason.

"This is low-hanging fruit. This is a great way to reduce the amount of hits," said former NFL fullback Kevin Turner, his speech slurred slightly because of his struggle with the neuro-muscular disease ALS. "It's also a great way to teach a team how to practice without pads, and if they can get that done, it will be so much better."

Genetic heart test is saving lives

Genetic testing is playing an increasingly important role in preventing sudden cardiac arrest and other heart conditions known to have a genetic component, says Dr. Richard Wu, director of the electrophysiology lab and heart rhythm clinic at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Doctors are still learning how to best interpret the results of genetic testing, but already they say the potential to save lives is great.

In the past, it's been said that the first symptom of sudden cardiac arrest is usually the last, because it so often results in death. Now, if one family member has a heart condition with a genetic component, others also can be tested, then treated pre-emptively, if necessary.

Prostate cancer treatment study

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows how important it is for men to carefully consider treatments for early-stage prostate cancer. Fifteen years after surgery or radiation treatment, nearly all of the older men in the study had some problems having sex.

About one-fifth had bladder or bowel trouble, researchers found.

The study doesn't compare these men - who were 70 to 89 at the end of the study - to others who did not treat their cancers or to older men without the disease. At least one study suggests that half that age group has sexual problems even when healthy.

The study isn't a rigorous test of surgery and radiation, but it is the longest follow-up of some men who chose those treatments.