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Letters to the editor

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Don't take the dog out of the park

I would like to respond to Herb Weiss's letter to the editor on July 15 ("Updated animal ordinance needed now"). As part of the dog rights "brigade", I am proud to represent those domesticated animals who cannot speak for themselves. But to characterize us as ill-mannered and militant with commando-style tactics is outrageous.

We do object to the proposed animal ordinance banning leashed dogs from Mead Gardens and Kraft Azalea. These are neighborhood parks used by families and their leashed dogs. It is hard to imagine that much harm can come to wildlife or exotic plants from a leashed dog.

As far as prohibiting dog-centered events from taking place anywhere near Central Park, that is just silly. As my friend Patricia Schenck Robertson said in a letter to our commissioners, "I want to tell you that I believe dogs on leash add a positive and desirable component to downtown Winter Park. Just last week, I drove with a visiting out-of-town guest through downtown. We slowed as we admired the cheerful gathering of dogs and their owners for what I assume was a Doggie Door event. My guest was charmed and I was delighted at the vibrancy of a downtown that hosts a myriad of events for all of our citizens. Please consider the value of quirkiness to charm … our pets and our tolerance of such gatherings is appropriate as we consider Winter Park a lovely and gracious community where residents enjoy our village center with friends, family, colleagues … and pets".

It is my hope that the commissioners will allow our leashed dogs to continue to enjoy all our parks with the exception of Central Park.

—Pat Fishback

Winter Park

Summer sport training for your young star

Summertime means long days and plenty of time to play outdoors. Many coaches also take advantage of this time to get their teams ready for the fall season. With some 30 million school-aged children taking part in organized sports, injuries are inevitable. With proper preparation by kids, coaches and parents, a large number of sports-related injuries can be avoided. Here are some tips that will help prevent some of the most common types of injuries:

-Pre-screening: All kids should have a physical before beginning any sport. Pre-screenings can clear kids to play and can identify any condition that could put a child at risk for injury.

-No playing through pain: Kids may think they're helping the team, but they are only hurting themselves. If a child complains of a chronic ache or pain, see a doctor right away. Additionally, if your child suffers any type of head injury, look for signs of a concussion — headache, confusion, dizziness, forgetfulness, nausea, or change in behavior—and seek medical attention immediately.

-Returning to play means taking proper precautions to ensure re-injury does not occur. Depending on the injury this could mean taping the affected area, new protective gear, wearing a brace, or involve a formal physical therapy/rehab plan.

-Know the rules and encourage safe play. Get to know your child's coaches to see what their philosophy is on safety and injury prevention. Make sure your child's coaches include proper warm-up and cool down exercises with every practice.

-Don't push: Sports should be fun and teach kids life lessons about teamwork, problem solving, and good sportsmanship. Pushing your child to excel and win-at-all-costs can cause emotional stress, overuse injuries and burnout.

For more tips and detailed information about getting back in the game, visit KidsHealth.org.

— Kevin Neal, M.D.

Orthopedic surgeon in the Department of Orthopedics at Nemours