Friday, August 16, 2013

Guy Friday-- Football and Concussions

Full Impact Weyn, Suzanne. Full Impact.
1 May 2013, Lerner

Norval is on a high school football team where many of the players' only chance to go to college is to get a football scholarship. Scouts come to many of the games, and Norval and his friend Aidan hope to impress them. When Aidan starts to act hostile and unfocused on and off the field, the coach asks Norval and another player to watch Aidan and report anything "off" that they see about his behavior. When Aidan suffers several more falls, his behavior becomes more alarming. Norval thinks he is being disloyal by telling the coach, but when Aidan's health is clearly imperiled, he reluctantly speaks up. When Aidan is hospitalized and requires months of recuperation, Norval tries to keep up his visiting his friend, even when Aidan doesn't want him to.
Strengths: I like this hi/lo series for it's interesting problems and quick pace. This is a good book for any of my football obsessed boys to read. It gives good information about signs of a concussion.
Weaknesses: I wish there had been more resources at the end of this about dealing with concussions, even though a lot is covered in the story. 

Second ImpactKlass, David and Klass, Perri. Second Impact
6 August 2013, Farrar Strauss and Giroux.
E-ARC from

Jerry is a football player who has made some bad decisions. Carla is a soccer player who has messed up her ACL and needs surgery. The two alternate blog posts for the newspaper and cover a variety of sports-related topics.  Jerry also sustains serious head injuries several times, and becomes a bit concerned about his future when Carla starts researching head injuries. Carla and Jerry become closer, take a stab at being investigative reporters, improve their writing and consider where their various activities will take them for college.
Strengths: This had more information about sports injuries than anything I have ever read. There was enough football to make this interesting to die-hard sports fan, and the inclusion of Carla will make this one that girls may pick up, too. Klass has a good (and long!) background of writing sports books (Danger Zone (1998) and Wrestling with Honor (1989) are still popular in my library) so it's good to see another book from him.
Weaknesses: The format of blog posts really got in the way of the story for me. For one thing, the posts were WAY too long to be successful for actual blog posts, and the included "comments" seemed contrived. That's my perspective as a blogger; I think my students would just be confused, since they don't read blogs at all. Makes me wonder when the Klasses started writing this book. If it were up-to-the-minute, it would be a novel in Instagram. Still, will probably buy this, since football books are so hard to find. This has a great cover.

Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-Or-Break Moment

McClafferty, Carla Killough. Fourth Down and Inches:Concussions and Football's Make-Or-Break Moment
1 September 2013
E ARC from

There has been a lot of discussion in the news about the effects of football related concussions on the brain, especially regarding younger children playing the sport, and this was an excellent treatment of the history of injuries in the sport, with an emphasis on head injuries. Covering deaths and injuries starting in 1905, when 29 young men died playing the sport, it discusses the changes that were made by coaches, and even Theodore Roosevelt, to make the sport safer. It then proceeds to cover a variety of young men who were injured, and examines the different types of injuries and ailments that lead to mental problems and even death among athletes who suffer them. Vintage photos add a lot to an engrossing story that is a great accompaniment to Klass’ Second Impact or Gordon Korman’s Pop.
Strengths: The author does a very good job at putting faces to these injuries in a way that will make football players think about how much damage they might be doing to themselves. I thought that the studies that were done with special helmets that measured the number of impacts players’ brains received during a season was interesting. Definitely will purchase this.
Weaknesses: A chapter on preventing injuries might be helpful, but otherwise, this is a very complete book.

1 comment:

  1. Liked FULL IMPACT and think it will have an audience because of the hi/low aspect.

    Just started reading SECOND IMPACT. So far I'm not bothered by the long blog posts. I'm just letting it flow like a story and I'm thinking of several readers who will like it.