Concussions and Teenagers

Concussions and Teenagers

Schools are back in session and high school students are either trying out or getting ready for try outs for their sport. Parents are learning that “basic” Concussions in teenagers are more common than people think and can create more problems that people think. A concussion can cause physical impairment such as not being able to walk or emotional issues such as a teenager suddenly having anger problems or depression.

Many teenagers develop Post Concussion Syndrome after a concussion. Teenagers can have violent mood swings, difficulties concentrating and with memory. This can cause problems at school and with family and friends. I have seen teenagers who get so depressed by these changes that they become suicidal. Post Concussion Syndrome can last a year and often physicians do not warn parents or teenagers about this syndrome. This makes matters worse because they feel like they are crazy because they don’t understand why they have the symptoms.

We have been hearing more and more about concussion in professional sports in recent years. We have also seen professional athletes walk away from their careers because they are not willing to risk the after effects of multiple concussions. A fact that some in professional sports do not want to be publicized. Will Smith stared in a movie regarding a professional football player and how his life significantly changed after several concussions. The National Football League tried to stop this movie from being made and shown, but they lost.

However, we do have examples. Mohammad Ali is the most notable example of how multiple concussions can change a person and leave them disabled. Also a news anchor for ABC News documented how his life changed after receiving a traumatic brain injury while covering the war in Afghanistan.

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries also occur in teenagers. Teen athletes such as football players routinely suffer concussions. Many of these athletes suffer permanent brain damage such as difficulty remembering things or emotional issues such as mood swings. Also a number of high school athletes do die from concussions every year.

High school athletes are not the only teenagers at risk for concussions. Teens in general are at risk because teens are willing to engage in risky behavior such as jumping off something or racing cars. Many teens feel they are safe. They hear about these issues but think it would never happen to them. However we never know who it will happen to. Therefore, parents you need to educate and monitor your teenager’s behavior. If you have a teen athlete, you may need to make the decision to stop them from playing a sport if they have suffered a couple concussions. This is not easy but you must think of their lives after high school.

I have included a link to a YouTube video where a physician describes the basic information about what happens to a brain during a concussion and the process of recovery from a concussion. This is a must see for any parent

In addition to this video I have included a fact sheet from the CDC regarding information about concussions for you to review

I have also included this link from the CDC which helps parents, coaches and schools

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 19 years experience working with teenagers and their families. For more information on Dr. Rubino or his work please visit his website at or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy.

A Father’s Pain

Read this story by a father who lost his daughter in a school shooting
Friends, my daughter Veronika used to surprise me with lunch at work so we could eat together. How many high school kids want to spend more time with their parents?
Since May 23, 2014, the day my 19-year-old daughter was shot and killed in the mass shooting in Isla Vista, there hasn’t been a day when I wouldn’t give anything to eat lunch with her again. To hear about her last math test, her next cross-country meet – to hear her laugh.
I know nothing I do now will change the fact that my daughter’s life was taken by a man who should never have had a gun on that day he murdered six innocent people. Nothing will make my daughter show up outside my office door again. 
So instead I’ve been focused on passing the Safety for All initiative’s lifesaving gun violence prevention measure, Prop. 63, so no other parent has to wonder what kind of amazing things their child would’ve done or how they would’ve grown up, if given the time.
I’m asking you now – because I cannot do this alone – to help Safety for All hit its most important deadline so far, make sure we pass Prop. 63 and bring commonsense gun violence prevention to California. The NRA will never let us get another chance like this, and I refuse to look back knowing we fell short.
Please give whatever you can to help us hit this goal, pass Prop. 63 in November and make sure no other parent has to experience the grief I’ll carry with me forever.
We cannot just keep watching the NRA tighten its grip on Congress, and politicians do nothing while families like mine are ripped apart.
We’ve got to educate our fellow Californians about Safety for All and pass Prop. 63 this November, and it’s not going to happen without you.
I need you right now: Donate $5 or more to Safety for All to pass Prop. 63 and stop gun violence in California.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Bob Weiss

© 2016 | Safety for All, Yes on Prop. 63, a Newsom Ballot Measure Committee. Paid for by Safety for All, Yes on Prop. 63, Newsom Ballot Measure Committee. Major funding by California Democratic Party and Newsom for California Lieutenant Governor 2014.


An Important Note From Alive and Free

An Important Note From Alive and Free

Parents pay attention to your options and have your teenager listen to this program

How can we make police and community relations better? We’ll dive into this topic on Street Soldiers Radio this Sunday night during a LIVE town hall discussion including the following panelists:
Allwyn Brown, Chief of Police Richmond
Capt. Ersie Joyner, Oakland PD
Jennifer Tejada, Chief of Police Emeryville
Toney Chaplin, Interim Chief of Police San Francisco
Over 40 youth and staff members from local organizations East Oakland Youth Development Center, Mo’ Magic, Ryse Center and Bay Area Peacekeepers
I hope you can tune in! Here are the ways you can listen this Sunday night:
Tune in to 106.1 on your radio from 8-10pm
Download the iHeart Radio app and listen from your smartphone
Livestream from your computer from 8-10pm
Listen anytime next week on iTunes Podcast
Dr. Marshall

Dr. Joseph E. Marshall Jr. | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Understanding the Issues Associated with Bullying

Understanding the Issues Associated with Bullying

It is back to school time and many kids are really excited about their new teacher and being able to see and play with their friends on a daily basis. However, some kids are not as excited and even worried about returning to school. Many of these kids were bullied last year and they are afraid of being bullied again this year.
Often when a child is being bullied they do not say anything to their parents until the bullying is really bad. They are afraid, especially boys, that you will see them as weak. They are also afraid that you will be disappointed in them for not defending themselves. Parents you have not said anything or done anything to create this feeling in your child. It is how our society is today. Children, especially boys, receive messages from television, music, video games about being strong and defending yourself. This is what the documentary “The Mask You Live In”, is trying to address, but that is a different topic.
It is very important to take bullying very seriously these days. It is no longer just one kid calling another kid names. The bullying today occurs at school and may include threats of being killed and it goes beyond school. Now bullies can continue their bullying via text messages, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. So the bullying becomes non-stop. It can really make someone feel worthless and that they be better off dead. We have an example of this from the 13 year old boy who recently committed suicide because he could not tolerate the bullying. He is not the first child to commit suicide due to bullying. Other kids are turning to drugs and alcohol and we are seeing a number of accidental overdosages resulting in death. We assume they were accidents, they could be suicides staged to look like accidents.
Bullying is not just an elementary school issue. It occurs in High School and College too. Remember a few years back a college student committed suicide because his roommate secretly filmed him in his dorm room with another guy having sex. When the tape was posted, the boy was so ashamed because he had not made it publicly known that he was gay. He did not know what to do and ended up committing suicide.
As the rates for bullying, suicide and drug use increase with kids in middle school and now beginning in Elementary school, we must take this issue seriously. I saw it has entered Elementary schools because the third leading cause of death for 10 year old children is suicide according to the CDC statistics.
What should a parent do? One thing is parents should watch for the following warning signs that your child is a victim of a bully:
Avoiding activities they used to enjoy

Loss of friends or avoiding social situations

Problems sleeping

Complaining of stomachaches or headaches

Loss of appetite

Declining grades

Missing or damaged clothing or belongings

Self-destructive behaviors like running away from home
If you notice any of these or just have a sense something is wrong then talk to your child. However, when you talk to your child reassure them they did nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong with them and you are not upset or disappointed with them. Try to develop a game plan of how you are going to deal with it together and ask how you can be supportive. Also ask your child to promise you if they feel really sad like they want to hurt themselves that they will talk to you before they do anything. You may think this is ridiculous, but I use a no suicide contract with many children that I work with and they honor it. The contract lets them you know that you care about them.
The other thing you can do as a parent is go to your child’s school the first day of classes or a few days before and ask what is the school’s policy on bullying. You can also ask how the school watches for bullying, how is the policy enforced and what is being done to prevent bullying. You may ask the school or volunteer to contact a group such as Challenge Day. This is an international organization that addresses bullying and they are located in Concord. I have seen their work and it is fantastic and kids love it.
Another thing you can do as a parent is start talking to your child about bullying before school starts. This gives you a chance to let them know it’s not their fault and to develop a plan of action if it does occur. You should also discuss drugs and alcohol at the same time. I work with kids all day long and at times I am still shocked at how young kids are when they are starting to get involved with drugs and alcohol.
Keeping an open line of communication with your child is very important if you want them to come to you. Research still indicates that children are more likely to turn to their friends when they have a problem. This is good that they have this emotional support, but their friends don’t have the answers or solutions that they need. Remember it is best to speak to your child when you are in a calm environment and no one else, such as brothers or sisters, are around. Also remember the word HALT. It stands for:



If you sense your child is experiencing any of these feelings it is not a good time to talk. When you talk with your child you want it to be productive and for your child to feel like they are not being judged. Therefore, sometimes it is better to put off a conversation so you don’t end up in an argument. This is more likely to close the line of communication with your child.
I have mentioned several times that being bullied is not their fault. What I have seen from working with children who are bullies, abusive men and reviewing the research is that bullies really have very low self-esteem. In fact many times they lack a sense of themselves. The only way the feel important or alive is by putting someone else down. They do this because they are afraid the other kids might be able to figure out how lousy they feel about themselves. It is often said the best defense is a good offense. By acting like the big guy on campus that other people will see them as the big guy and they are able to keep their secret. Kids usually do this because it was done to them too.
Therefore, we need to remember the bully is usually a kid who has been abused too and is crying out for help. If we are going to stop the problem of bullying we need programs to help the bullies too. They are only repeating what they have been taught.
Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in working with children and teenagers. He has over 19 years experience working with children and teens especially those who are victims of trauma. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website at or his Facebook page at

Bullying and Suicide

Bullying and Suicide

I have had many teenagers and children talk about being bullied at school. I have seen them cry and talk about how bad their lives are because of the bullying. Sometimes they even talk about killing themselves. This is really hard to hear a child at 10 years old saying their life is so bad due to the bullying that they want to kill themselves.

I offer to help and often the kids say there is no point – no one will help. The sad thing is many times the children are right. I tell the parents who contact the school, but the school does nothing. Often the school doesn’t take it seriously or they claim both children are at fault. Other times they talk to the bully which makes the bully mad and the bullying increases. The problem is the school never follows up on what happens after they spoke to the bully. They assume the problem is solved.

If the parents go back to the school the school often claims they have done all they can do. We encourage the child to tell the teacher, the yard duty or the principal about the bullying. An adult is supposed to help. However, many times the child claims he is ignored and no one listens to him.

What can happen at this point? The child becomes so depressed they think of suicide. They feel death is better than the teasing they have to endure daily. We need to remember that suicide is the third leading cause of death for children. So when a child talks about suicide, they often are serious. This is why we must act to stop bullying.

Read a suicide note from a 13 year old boy who could no longer tolerate the bullying he was experiencing. Read it and learn what bullying can do to a person & why it must be stopped. The life you save might be the life of your own child, you never know.

Dr. Michael Rubino specializes in treating children and teenagers. He has over 19 years experience and is considered an expert in treating suicidal children and teens. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work and private practice visit his website at or his Facebook page