From the Editor: For the Love of Basketball (and Other Sports)

The latest from the 302 Health front.

There are a few adjectives I think people would often use to describe me: competitive, driven and sometimes aggressive. I think all of those characteristics blossomed at a young age, thanks to my early entrance into the world of sports.

I started playing basketball at the age of 7—that’s when my family joined the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. I was also a member of a local soccer league, but I don’t think my parents expected me to be the next Hope Solo. 

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From my first practice at the Boys & Girls Club to my final game during my senior year of high school, I experienced plenty of injuries, arguments with my parents and quarrels with my coaches. My dad was a football player in college so he pushed me to practice until my legs felt like Jell-O. And I will never forget the pain I felt when one of my opponents scratched my cornea as we both battled for a rebound.

No matter the challenges, I still loved the game. But I don’t think I was ever reminded of one simple rule: Have fun. Writer Michael Bradley tackles the challenges kids face during their athletic careers, including concussions, their parents’ involvement and even their diet.  

Families are so busy and overscheduled these days, that finding time to eat healthfully is a constant struggle. And obesity rates—even among young children—are still a concern. According to a report by Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization focused on preventing disease, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, nearly 17 percent of children (ages 2 to 19) and more than 8 percent of young children (ages 2 to 5) are obese. Time is always of the essence, so moms and dads want nutritious options even when dining out. Writer Pam George discovers local restaurants that serve healthy and delicious entrées, sides and desserts for kids.

But for some, kids come with four legs, not two. I’m talking about our furry companions (I have three) who offer unconditional love, licks and laughter. Niko, a Maltese, was Heidi L.E. Jones’ first pet. When Niko became terminally ill, Jones loved him enough to know when to let him go. But while she was able to accept his passing in her head, her heart was not so quick to heal. Marilyn Odesser-Torpey uncovers ways to make the pain of losing your furry friend less palpable, like support groups and volunteer efforts. Learn more in “How to Cope with the Loss of a Pet.

—Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

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