AFH Photo // Nguyen, Mary
"Oooohhhhh and he's down with a hard tackle! Let's look at the replay. You can see their helmets collide during the tackle and they're both on the floor looking dazed. Looks like one of them may have a concussion.”  
A concussion, a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, "is very hard to spot actually. We like to call it the invisible injury," said Cliff Robbins, Education and Research Programs Manager of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, an organization committed to protecting athletes and families from concussions through research, policy and education. 
As you might imagine with an injury that you cannot see, only one in six concussions is ever diagnosed, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. 
Robbins explains, "When you knock your head around, [the brain] can kind of jiggle and change shape a little bit, and that can cause damage to the brain tissue, and when the damage is great enough, it changes the way that our brain functions." 
During teenage years, the brain goes through a lot of development. "If you have a brain injury during those really important years, the consequences may take years to become apparent," Robbins stated. In other words, if you get "trucked" freshmen year during a game, you may not know you suffered a concussion until senior year or even later in life.  
According to the Boston Globe, a survey of 6,000 public school students in Massachusetts found that among high school athletes, 14 percent had experienced concussion-like symptoms such as memory problems, blurry vision, headaches, or vomiting after being hit in the head while playing sports. The survey also found that 50 percent of student athletes who experienced concussion like symptoms kept playing afterward.  
While significant research about concussions has been released, many athletes do not fear the consequences. Tyler Medeiros, a sophomore on the football team at Cristo Rey Boston High school, said, “Yes, I would still play after an injury. I can come back stronger and improve the mistake I made to get that injury.”  
Medeiros knows there is always the possibility of sustaining an injury but says, “I feel protected with my gear because the helmets must be very fitted, so that they stay on your head and don’t turn on your face. My girdle and shoulder pads are heavily padded and strapped on.”  
Depending on the severity of the injury, students can miss weeks - maybe even months - of school in order to recover. This lost time can set them back in their academics as they struggle to either keep up or catch up. If left untreated, concussions can affect long-term memory, learning, motor control and speech.  
While student athletes are told helmets are their best protection, some helmet manufacturers carry a warning label stating that helmets cannot fully protect you from brain injuries. “To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football,” reads the warning label on Shutt’s Sports brand helmets. These warnings may already be having an impact. ESPN has reported a decline in participation in youth football.  
“The medics rush to the field to check the players out. One of them is benched for the rest of the game until a doctor has a chance to fully diagnose him.”  
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AFH Photo // Nguyen, Adam
Your high school years are key in the physical, emotional and mental development of the human body. Participating in school sports is one way to ensure your exercise routine. That said, there are pros and cons for students who participate in school sports. While research has shown numerous benefits to being part of a sports team, students may also struggle with keeping their grades up.  
Research shows there are a lot of positive effects on students who play school sports. According to studies conducted by the University of Kansas, students who participate in sports tend to earn good grades -- good enough to apply to college.  Some benefits include increased concentration levels, higher self-esteem, and the ability to improvise when things do not go as planned. Star athletes have the chance to earn scholarships from colleges who want them to play them, which creates the opportunity for students to attend colleges they would not normally be able to afford.   
Rhodeley Orisma, a junior on the football team at New Mission High School, said, “Playing football boosts my self-esteem and helps me stay focused in class.” Orisma knows that he needs to maintain good grades to continue playing and potentially earn a scholarship to a football college.  
Darius Odon, a junior at New Mission who plays basketball, says being part of the basketball team makes him more social. “It helps me relate to students from other schools who also play basketball,” he said.  
New Mission girls’ basketball coach Mitchell Hercule says students who participate in sports are more confident and outgoing. “You are the same person on the court or on the field as in the classroom.’’ He feels that sports do not overshadow academics. In fact, he believes sports motivate students to get better grades.  
But a drawback to participating in high school sports can be difficulty balancing studying and playing time. Students may have insufficient time to study for tests and may have to miss class or assignments in order to catch up. Orisma said, “After practice, I have to make sure all my school work is done to keep up with class and get good grades. Sometimes it can be stressful because there is a criteria that a sport-engaged student cannot get below a C.”  Exhaustion can also impact school performance, as students put sports above their academics.  
Hercule also noted that sports can sometimes hurt a student’s self-esteem. “When they go for try outs and do not make it onto the team, they feel sad, thinking they cannot try again. It really affects them.’’
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Boomers and Millennials Are a World Apart
Clinton Nguyen
AFH Photo // Vo, Vanessa
From trolleys to Ubers and breakfast to take out, countless commodities have been replaced in modern memory similar to the war that has preceded them. The priorities of the post-World War II population adapted over time in response to the changing face of America and technology. There is no question that as teens of the new millennium we have very different experiences and priorities than those of our post-World War II predecessors. In examining these differences, we can learn a great deal about our generation and theirs. 
The act of a sit-down breakfast is a prime example. With the fast-paced teenage-millennial schedule, breakfast is a luxury very few high school students can afford. Upon waking up, our top priority is to get out the door and make it to whatever plans we have on time. We do not prioritize breakfast in this day and age the way our predecessors did.  
“Breakfast is something only those who have their lives together can afford to enjoy,” says Noelis Tovar, a junior at the John D. O’Bryant High School. “For the rest of us, we have to dash out the door in fear of being late for school.” 
The heightened use of technology has shifted teenagers’ priorities. While this helps make our lives faster and more convenient, we also stray away from former ways of doing things. For instance, many of us now commute by Uber for their fast, cheap, and convenient mode of transport. Not so long ago, Boston commuters’ options were limited to trolleys and trains, confined with specific schedules.

Take out is another changing aspect of the millennial lifestyle. This could be attributed to more women entering the workforce who have less time available for cooking meals at home. Coupled with the rise of food delivery apps such as Grubhub and Eat24, teenagers find ordering take out more convenient.  
“When I come home from school, my parents are typically not home so I just order take out so I don’t take the risk and burn down the house. Plus, I desire the quick access to food that it gives me,” says Natalie Tran, a junior from the O’Bryant.  
For baby boomers, this was not the case. Take out was rare and going out for a meal or ordering from a restaurant was reserved for  special occasions. “The only time we’d [order take out] was on my birthday,” says Ms. Eacmen, a baby boomer teacher at the O’Bryant, “because on our birthdays we could order whatever we wanted and we would love it.” 
It is interesting how something we see as a casual everyday convenience was once regarded as a meal reserved for special occasions.  
All this goes to show the fine lines that sunder our two generations because of the way technology has changed the way we live. Even though the two generations have the tendency to prioritize different aspects of life, both generations have much to learn from one another.  
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School discipline tactics, such as suspensions and expulsions fuels the school-to-prison pipeline. According to the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition dedicated to dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, “Every year, 3.3 million students in the United States are suspended from school, causing them to miss critical learning time, as well as opportunities to grow and succeed.” 
National data proves that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately suspended and more likely to be severely punished. This contributes to lower graduation rates.  
In response to these issues, the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) launched the Boston Student Rights app in 2015 to prevent unfair discipline. The app provides accurate, easily accessible information on student rights and responsibilities in Boston Public Schools - everything from cell phones and dress codes to discrimination policies. It even allows students to file reports when something goes wrong at school.  
It makes clear that in most cases schools must try alternative discipline or restorative justice before a suspension. It also lists examples of alternative punishments and restorative justice practices that can be used. There have been close to 10,000 visitors to the site since its launch and at least one student has used the app to successfully appeal an unfair suspension.  
If you have an Android device you can download the app from Google Play. You can access it from other devices by going to From there you can add it to your bookmarks or set it as your home page. BSAC is looking forward to more students finding out about the app and downloading it. The app is also available in Spanish and we are hoping to roll out additional languages. We are also planning to add additional information pertaining to LGBTQ and undocumented students. 
In some high schools, the administration may not be aware of the current policies and make students suffer consequences they don’t deserve to face.  This app is one way to prevent this from happening throughout BPS.  
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HPREP gives students a dose of knowledge
Aisha Mohamed
AFH Photo
His life was in danger. He was wheezing, panicking, and calling out for help. The students in the room tried to figure out what was wrong with him by checking his blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate and temperature. Finally, the students came to a diagnosis -- the dummy patient was having an asthma attack. He was saved by an inhaler.  
Checking symptoms and coming to a diagnosis is just one of the many things students learn through the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP) at Harvard Medical School.  
HPREP is a program that gives high school students across greater Boston a hands on experience in science and medical related careers. According to their website, HPREP’s mission is to recruit underserved and underrepresented high school students into science and medicine. They also aim to increase awareness of opportunities available in the health professions through mentorship, career panels, discussions, and research projects.  
Through participating in HPREP, students are “gaining the mentorship and friendship of a graduate or medical student who they can go to for advice about college, careers, and many other things during and after the program,” said Deepali Ravel, one of the three program co-directors.  
Sessions are held every Saturday from November through February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During sessions, participants gain hands on experience in topics such as DNA isolations, viruses and vaccines, and genetics, just to name a few. During career fairs, students have “the chance to meet health and science professionals from a wide range of areas,” said Ravel.  
69 students from across greater Boston participated in the 2016-2017 programming year. More than 350 alumni have complete the HPREP program over the last eight years it has been running. 
Due to strong interest in the program, the application process is competitive. However, that does not mean you need top grades to be accepted. It is all about whether you are really passionate about science and health careers and show “the motivation and ability to take full advantage of the curriculum and mentoring HPREP can offer,” according to Ravel. 
The online application window opens mid-September and closes at the beginning of October. Decisions are emailed at the end of October. It is highly encouraged to apply again the following year if you are not accepted the first time around.  
Not only is HPREP a great opportunity, but it also enriches student knowledge on what they plan to do in the future. To learn more about the program and the application process, please visit  
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