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Top Stories of the Year 2010

4. Consequences of Concussions continued...

With bowl games both college and Super drawing near, attention is focused on the growing awareness that concussions can mean serious brain damage for professional and college football players.

But it's not just a problem for big-time athletes, a series of 2010 reports shows.

In January, Canadian researchers found that about a third of kids diagnosed as having a "concussion" actually suffered traumatic brain injury. They warned that parents should not be reassured if they're told their child "just suffered a concussion."

Concussions in youth sports seem to be getting more common. The number of children treated for sports-related concussions has doubled in the last decade.

And even if a head impact doesn't result in the diagnosis of concussion, there could be trouble. A small but scary study found that high school football players who endure multiple impacts to the head may suffer brain damage -- even if they were wearing approved football helmets. Another found that repeated head traumas may raise the risk of symptoms seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s causing  many parents to  think twice about letting their kids play football, not willing to take the risk.

The pros are trying to put rules in place to stem the tide of injuries, but until the mentality becomes commonplace for all ages, football will be under tough scrutiny.

5. Understanding Health Care Reform

2010 will go down in history as the year Congress finally reformed the U.S. health care system. It was a historic event -- and a historic struggle.

Everyone agreed the U.S. health care system was broken. But it seems no two Americans entirely agreed about how to fix it.

As President Obama's plan wound its way through Congress, it seemed the health care reform bill changed every day. Would we get a Europe-style government program? Would health care remain in the hands of the insurance industry?

Throughout the struggle, WebMD kept Americans informed on the plans put forward by key players and how the reform bill changed during the process.

But when the bill became law, what did we have? And more importantly, what did it mean?

Americans challenged to interpret the new health care reform law -- and the multiple time points at which it gradually takes effect -- wanted to get answers about how health care reform would affect them.

In September, when a number of key provisions in the new law were to take effect, WebMD asked the web community to send in their questions -- and then we sat down with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to answer those concerns. Readers can continue to learn more about health insurance and how health care reform will affect them through the Health Insurance Navigator blog.

Reviewed on November 17, 2010

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