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    Top Stories of the Year 2010

    3. Return of Whooping Cough continued...

    Experts said that unvaccinated children were partly to blame for the epidemic, along with adults who had waning immunity because they never got a booster shot. Later in the year, the CDC's vaccine advisory panel broadened its recommendation for Americans of all ages to get booster shots with the Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccine.

    Could you recognize the "whoop" of whooping cough? Check out WebMD's audio guide to coughs. And for everything you need to know about this killer disease, WebMD provides a Q&A with the CDC's pertussis expert.

    4. Consequences of Concussions

    Football is a game of violence. The players are our gladiators, and for decades, we celebrated the players that could take a hit and just “shake it off.” Our children were schooled in the sport’s toughness.

    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.

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