DURBAN – As things stand as the Currie Cup heads into its final round this weekend, the Sharks could end up hosting a semi-final if they beat the Blue Bulls and other results go their away, or if they lose in Pretoria, they could lose out altogether.
Indeed, there are some interesting games this week the Free State Cheetahs host Western Province; Griquas have a big game against the Golden Lions; and the Sharks versus Bulls game at Loftus has everything to play for.
“The Bulls are going to be snorting a bit,” Sharks coach Sean Everitt said with understatement. “They are a proud union and they don’t want relegation. They are tied with the Pumas at the bottom. They will want to stand up and play for their supporters.
They won’t be happy with their campaign, and this just shows how tough this one-round Currie Cup is that a team of the quality of the Bulls is second from bottom.”
The Sharks are likely to once more be without flyhalf Curwin Bosch, but Everitt is unperturbed given how well debutant Henry “Boeta” Chamberlain played against the Lions.
Chamberlain’s drop-goal was ultimately the difference in the 30-28 win for the visitors on Sunday.
“I think Boeta is a bit of an unknown factor in this Currie Cup,” Everitt said. “I have been fortunate to have worked with him through the age groups at the Sharks and he has done that drop-goal thing a number of times. In fact, he did it for the Under-19s in the final last year against the Bulls.
“I knew that if he was on top of his game we would have a great debut in prospect, even filling the full big boots of Curwin Bosch. He did that admirably, and he is just going to grow and get better He is only turning 20! This experience he got against the Lions will boost him.”
Cape Town – Western Cape transport and public works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said he had concerns regarding the readiness of the Road Traffic Infringement Authority (RTIA) to implement the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act.
This was after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the bill into law, which would come into effect when it appears in the Government Gazette.
Madikizela said the lack of readiness of RTIA was apparent when the Aarto Act was piloted in Johannesburg and Tshwane. “I understand that a proclamation still has to be signed by the president before it is implemented in the Western Cape,” he said.
“If the RTIA and municipalities are not ready to implement the Aarto Act, it is more likely to lead to a break-down of law on our roads,” Madikizela said, adding that the idea of creating a central Appeals Tribunal to deal with all appeals relating to fines was “ludicrous and unworkable”.
The City of Cape Town alone issued more than 2 million fines in 2016. “If a small proportion of fines issued around the country are taken on appeal, it would paralyse the system, and provide lawless road-users with a means to escape accountability.”
The bill is aimed at putting a stop to the carnage on South Africa’s roads through initiatives such as blocking people who fail to pay their traffic fines from obtaining vehicle licences.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the Aarto Bill would introduce a points demerit system to punish repeat offenders.
The demerit system allows drivers to accumulate a maximum of 12 points awarded for various offences, before their licences are suspended. Continued infringements could result in licences being cancelled.
“Upon rolling it out countrywide, we will be able to adequately address the carnage on our roads. We are burying far too many people as a result of crashes. In 2018 alone, 12921 people lost their lives in road collisions.
Outa portfolio manager on transport Rudie Heyneke said they had opposed the bill from the start and were now planning a constitutional challenge to it.
“The focus should be on road safety, not on an administratively complicated system aimed at collecting revenue,” Heyneke said.
PRETORIA – Springbok reject Marco van Staden has dusted himself off after he was released from national duty and hopes to contribute for the Blue Bulls in their match against the Sharks on Saturday.
Van Staden was among the players who were involved in the expanded Bo squad that featured in the Rugby Championship and the weekend’s farewell Test against Argentina at Loftus.
But the burly flank’s chances of making the Rugby World Cup squad were dashed when he was released to the Bulls for their final regular-season Currie Cup match.
“I am disappointed, but I believe everything happens for a reason and to be here at the Bulls is always a privilege,” Van Staden said. “Playing this weekend will be nice, I know we are dependent on others to make the semis, so if not we hope to finish the season on a high.”
The Bulls have a slight mathematical chance of reaching the semi-finals, but more importantly, they need to win to stay avoid to place in the relegation-promotion playoff.
The Pumas are currently in last place with only a superior points-difference separating the Bulls and the Mpumalanga-based team on the standings.
“We are going all out, and if we do that, then everything will fall into place,” Van Staden said. “The breakdown is important in every game, and we have our plans set for the week.”
The Bulls have been battling to find their mojo in this year’s Currie Cup, with only two victories to show for their efforts.
They seemed to have found a spark in their last match away to the Golden Lions where they claimed a 31-26 win despite a numerical disadvantage due to ill-discipline.
“The guys who played in that game showed a lot of heart to win the contest with 14 and 13 men at one point,” Van Staden said. “It instilled some belief that we can play well, especially for the younger guys playing Currie Cup for the first time it would mean a lot.”
The Bulls received another boost with the news that influential prop Lizo Gqoboka would also be released from Bok duties.
Gqoboka was among four players who were sent to their unions, reducing the Boks in camp to 32 players.
Johannesburg – The department of water and sanitation on Tuesday called on the City of Tshwane to take its share of responsibility for the unsafe water supply in Hammanskraal and work with it to find solutions.
This comes after Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo visited the Rooiwal and Temba water treatment plants along with Tshwane and provincial officials on Monday.
"With regards to the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works, Deputy Minister Mahlobo noted that the treatment works is over-capacitated and evidently poorly operated and maintained. As a result poor quality effluent is discharged into the Apies River which feeds into the Leeukraal Dam. The Leeukraal dam is a source of water for Hammanskraal," the department said.
"The water that is abstracted from the Leekraal Dam and treated at Temba Water Treatment Works was on a number of occasions found to be non-compliant with the South African drinking water standards. This was also confirmed by the results of the joint sampling that was tested by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), under the direction of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)."
Separate water sample tests by the CSIR and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) found that drinking water in Hammanskraal was unsafe and contained bacteria. Outa threatened legal action, demanding that the city act after the findings.
Angry residents in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas embarked on a series of violent protests last year against the poor quality of their water supply. Tankers have since been used to distribute drinking water to residents.
The SAHRC intervened in the "dirty water" saga after residents laid complaints with the commission over unsafe drinking water.
The commission found that by not supplying clean drinking water, the city violated residents’ human rights. Public hearings with the affected communities have been planned by department and the SAHRC. Dates for the hearings are due to be announced.
JOHANNESBURG – On Sunday Thamsanqa Gabuza was reluctant to address the media about his impressive start for SuperSport United, but after he gave in, he lightened up as he explained the reason behind his seamless adaptation.
During his six-year stint for Orlando Pirates, Gabuza’s career was filled with roller-coaster outings, the downs overshadowing the ups. In August 2018, he was in a heated exchange with the Ghost, throwing his jersey to them in the stands after assisting in their 2-1 win over Black Leopards, responding to their booing earlier in the match.
After he stormed off the pitched, he came back “injured”, but referee Thando Ndzandzeka was having none of it, sending him back to the dressing room for an early shower. However, his life as Matsantsantsa A Pitori shouldn’t be filled with such turbulence, mainly due to a fan base that’s not as demanding as the Ghost.
And Gabuza already appears to be enjoying the pressure-less life, scoring a brace in his club’s 3-0 win over Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 quarter-finals Sunday.
“I am happy that I am here. The way they play is where my strength lies, because that is how I also play. Their style of play allows me to be in the box,” Gabuza explained. “And as striker you need to be in the box in order to finish. The system here allows me to score goals, just like today (Sunday).”
So what’s been the difference? How has he gone from not scoring in 11 matches for Pirates to hitting the back of the net, twice, at SuperSport in only his second game?
“There’s a big difference,” he replied. “At Pirates, they were more on short passes and here there are not too many short passes. Sometimes, there’s diagonal balls (to tee up strikers), and that style of play is different to Pirates.”
Gabuza may not be the fanciest of strikers, that plays mesmeric football, but he makes up for that with his technical and aerial presence.
And that was the case when he jumped higher than his marker against Wits to send home a bullet header that was his team’s second goal after being teed up by Siyabonga Nhlapo.
“If you remember, most of the goals that I’ve scored are from headers, from the national team, Golden Arrows and Pirates. So, I am used to scoring with my head,’’ he said. “And it was a nice delivery from my teammates and as a striker, you need to be in the box in order to finish.”
Gabuza still maintains that as a footballer he’s more than willing to adjust to any style of play that the coach demands of him. It has, however, been the SuperSport system that appears to be working to his advantage, revitalising the bulky striker that was so influential for club and country during the 2014/15 season.
That term, Gabuza inspired the Sea Robbers to the CAF Confederations Cup final, while then Bafana Bafana coach Shakes “Ephraim” Mashaba earmarked him as his bulldozer in Africa. Gabuza, however, will hope hoping to continue the scoring spree in the league and MTN8 semi-finals, when they clash with rivals Mamelodi Sundowns over a two-legged contest.
Cape Town – On World Humanitarian Day, which was celebrated on Monday, the founder of Gift of the Givers, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, looked back at his profound journey that took him from his medical background to being one of the country’s great humanitarians.
In 1985, after completing his internship following medical school, Sooliman moved to Pietermaritzburg from Durban. It was there that an “Afrikaner guy” was referred to him for treatment by his (Sooliman’s) neighbour.
“As we got to know each other, he (the Afrikaner) told me, ‘I see you are a man who is interested in religion. There’s a spiritual teacher from Turkey you need to meet. He is a Sufi master,’” Sooliman said.
“I made a joke: I still haven’t seen Cape Town, when am I going to see Turkey?
“Then he said something very profound: ‘What God wills, happens. There is a time and a place for everything.’ And true to what he said, in 1991 I went to Turkey for the first time. It was on that trip that I met the spiritual master (Muhammad Safer Efendi) for the first time.
“I came back a year later, because I had fallen in love with the man. It was a Thursday night, August 6, 1992. We have what is called in Sufism, ‘Zikr’, which is a ceremony where you pronounce God’s names in Arabic. After that recitation at 10pm, from the corner of the room, he looks me in the eye and he looks heavenward at the same time.
“In fluent Turkish he says, ‘My son, I am not asking you, I am instructing you to form an organisation. It will be ‘Gift Of The Givers’ (translated into English). You will serve all people, of all races, all religions, all colours, all classes and of all cultures, and of any geographical location and political affiliation but you will serve them unconditionally.
“‘You will expect nothing in return, not even a thank you. In fact, in what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life, you can expect to get a kick in the butt.
“‘Serve people with love, kindness, compassion and mercy, and remember the dignity of man is foremost. So if somebody is down on the ground, don’t push them down further. Hold them, elevate them, lift them.’
“He said: ‘Caress the head of an orphan, wipe the tear of a grieving child, say words of good counsel to a widow. All these things are free. They don’t cost anything. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, provide water for the thirsty and in whatever you, be the best at what you do.’
“He repeated three times in Arabic: ‘Ghairoon naas may yaan faoon naas’, meaning, best among people are those who benefit mankind. He went on further to say: ‘This is an instruction for you for the rest of your life, and remember, whatever you do is done through you and not by you. It is a spiritual gift, a spiritual favour and it comes through you.’
“Subsequent to that, I asked him: ‘What does this mean? I am a doctor in private practice. What am I supposed to do?’
“He said: ‘My son, in everything, you will know. This organisation will grow and grow and grow.’”
In just over two decades, Gift Of The Givers has managed to fulfil the instruction after helping people unconditionally, has been to 43 different countries, delivered R2.8billion in aid, helped millions of people in Africa, South Africa and the world.
The organisation started off as a disaster intervention agency, and initially only delivered food and medicines, and then later added its own medical teams. This was followed by primary health-care, trauma, post-op rehabilitation, search and rescue and aquatic teams. It also built houses after disasters and has become one of the most complete disaster organisations in the world.
Sooliman is reflecting on the 27-year journey of Gift of the Givers in their anniversary month.
Most recently, the organisation made headlines when one of its volunteers was shot and killed in Hanover Park. Ameerodien Noordien, 20, of Hanover Park was shot and killed due to gang violence in October last year.
Ameerodien was a volunteer for the organisation. Three other people were wounded during the shooting.
When asked if he had any regrets, Sooliman says: “If I had to do this thing again, the only thing I would have done (differently) is allow for more family time, but fortunately they (the family) have been very supportive and understanding.
“Two other things I wanted to be a physician, that opportunity never arose. This thing (Gift Of The Givers) came and it just took over my whole life,” he said.
“However, there is one thing that is still doable – I want to do karate. I want to be a black belt in karate. That I still have a chance to do. Maybe I will achieve that one day,” he said jokingly.
“Other than that, I have no regrets and my thanks go to my family, to my staff, my teams, because their families have also allowed them to go into dangerous, high-risk areas.
“Thanks to the South African government, the media, the corporates, the ordinary South Africans, churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, everybody, in the whole of South Africa.
“Everybody prays for and supports us. We are what we are because of South Africans,” he said.
Lizo Gqoboka, Marvin Orie, Thomas du Toit and André Esterhuizen have been released from the Springbok training squad back to their provinces and will be available for Currie Cup selection this weekend.
The man accused of murdering his girlfriend and burying her body in a shallow grave inside his shack in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg, will be back in court on Tuesday for a formal bail application.
CAPE TOWN – Maybe Damian Willemse missing out on the World Cup isn’t the worst thing for his career.
Don’t get me wrong, he should be there. He should have been in the mix. But Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has hinted that that won’t be the case.
Following the Boks’ 23-18 win over Argentina in their “farewell Test” at Loftus over the weekend, Erasmus spoke about Willemse, Aphiwe Dyantyi and Warren Whiteley’s chances of catching that flight to Japan, saying the fact that none of them have played any Test rugby this year would make it “tough” to slot in in such a big year.
“Certain guys you just fast track. We are really fast-tracking Siya (Kolisi) in a big way. From 50 minutes of Currie Cup into Test match rugby, because he is our captain. It is a special case,” Erasmus said. “But with other guys it is just tough to go from one game against Griquas into Test match rugby and playing against the All Blacks. It is the same with a guy like Aphiwe Even with how good he is, he has not really played.
“Both of those guys and even a guy like Whiteley, because the squad is getting announced on 26 August, I just see it as tough for them to."
Prior to Willemse’s injury, the SA director of rugby made no secret of his plans to use Willemse at fullback come the global showpiece. It’s at No 15 where the Stormers flyhalf got his international exposure, with Erasmus saying that game time at fullback would help him when it comes to growth and assessing play from the back. But Willemse is a flyhalf, and should be used as such. And that wasn’t going to be the case in Japan.
Willemse is yet to produce a stunner of a performance at fullback, whereas he has shown many times that it’s in the busy, under-pressure flyhalf channel where the instinctive playmaker thrives. He flourishes in that traffic. A stint at fullback perhaps would have perpetuated the notion that it is a position he should be used at in the national frame. It perhaps would have reinforced it, at least where the Boks are concerned.
If it so happens that he really doesn’t make the 31-man cut, his performances for the Stormers and Western Province next year should again show that it is at No 10 where he belongs. It is at No 10 where he will continue to grow, and that should hopefully be enough for Erasmus to see him as a flyhalf going forward.
Playing players out of position is a habit that seldom really, really does the best for those guys, and it would be a pity if versatility becomes Willemse’s curse. Again, I believe Willemse should have been in the World Cup squad, but injury decided otherwise.
And if there’s one remotely positive way of looking at reasons as to why his omission would be a good thing, I hope the above is it.
JOHANNESBURG – SuperSport United may be on cloud nine after their giant-slaying performances in the last seven days, but coach Kaitano Tembo has urged his troops to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
Last Wednesday, Tembo inspired his troops to a 3-0 PSL victory over Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium, bagging a second successive win against the Bucs in Nelspruit. Add to the fact that, that victory came two days just before Orlando Pirates’ coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic tendered his resignation to join Egyptian giants Zamalek. Sredojevic then become the third Bucs coach to resign after having suffered a heavy to defeat to SuperSport, joining predecessors Kjell Jonevret and Muhsin Ertugral whose teams were thumped 4-1 and 6-1 respectively.
However, the Zimbabwean-born tactician was not done with his hat-tricks on-and-off the pitch, hammering Wits by 3-0 on Sunday in the MTN8 quarter-finals to send his SuperSport team into their third successive semi-final. SuperSport will face rivals Mamelodi Sundowns for a spot in the final.
Tembo was, however, reluctant to get carried away by the week that was, stating they are a still a team in progress.
“I think we’ve had a very good pre-season. But at the same time, it’s about continuity, we have few players that have joined us and we are trying to improve from last season,” Tembo said.
“We’ve never really brought in a lot of players. But it’s still early days because it’s only our third match of the season, so we need to stay humble a little bit and continue to work hard.”
While Tembo admits it will be detrimental to get carried away, he’ll sleep better knowing that his striking contingent have been firing from all cylinders at the start of the season. Following a 2-0 loss to Sundowns in their league opener, SuperSport bounced back with a comfortable win over Pirates, thanks to a brace from Bradley Grobler and a goal from Ghampani Lungu.
However, for Sunday’s MTN8 clash, the latter handed over the baton to new man Thamsanqa Gabuza, who scored a second-half brace after Grobler had opened scoring in Braamfontein. Gabuza, who is forming a deadly partnership with Grobler and Evans Rusike, is on a hunt for a second bite of the cherry after a roller-coaster six-year stint with the Buccaneers. And his coach Tembo, believes that with hard work and dedication, the sky is the limit for him.
“I know that Gabuza used to miss chances. But he’s one player that I used to worry about whenever we played Pirates because of his work ethic,” he said. “He works very hard and he’s not scared to get in effective areas, irrespective of whether he misses or not. He keeps on fighting and working. And when I looked back, I remembered the Gabuza which I knew from Golden Arrows, where I think he scored 10 goals.
Former world number one Serena Williams will begin her 2020 season with a return to the Auckland Open in January, her first appearance at the tournament since she was ousted in the second round in 2017.
The Auckland Open serves as a warm-up before the year’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 20 next year.
On her last Auckland appearance, then top seed Williams hit 88 unforced errors in windy conditions, losing to compatriot Madison Brengle, who was ranked 70 rungs lower.
"Oh man, I want to win that title so bad," Williams was quoted as saying by the tournament organisers. "Last time I was there I had so much going on and although I fought through to win my first match, I know I didn’t play to my level.
"I have such amazing memories that are really special to me from Auckland," she added, referring to her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian days before the 2017 tournament.
"I would really like to add some on court memories to that list."
Williams, 37, is due to compete at the U.S. Open which begins next week but her preparations for the final Grand Slam of the year have been far from perfect with injuries limiting her time on court.
The 23-times Grand Slam champion retired from the Rogers Cup final in Toronto earlier this month because of back spasms, which led to her withdrawal from the Cincinnati Masters.
Tel Aviv – At first glance, the stylish boutique on Tel Aviv’s Montefiore Street looks like any other fancy store in this swanky part of the city. Hip denim hangs from a single circular rail above polished hardwood floors. Healing crystals are laid out neatly on a shiny mirrored table.
But closer inspection of the shelves and the window display suggests something else is on sale here, and it’s something not found anywhere else in the world: kosher sex.
The shop is named for the controversial, best-selling self-help book "Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy" published 20 years ago by American celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Kosher Sex – the store – was opened last month by Chana Boteach, the rabbi’s daughter, and sells products meant to induce a healthy dose of sexual intimacy and spirituality between committed couples. "People are broken and lonelier than ever before," said Chana Boteach, 29. "We are reclaiming sex and helping to create passion and intimacy between two people."
Not exactly what most think of when thinking of Israel.
According to Boteach, and her father before her, Judaism has a unique approach to sexual intimacy: Sex is not meant only for procreation nor should it serve only as recreation. Instead, the religion embraces anything that encourages a close and loving connection between two people.
Boteach, who moved to Israel from the US nine years ago, said although the store has a clear Jewish message derived from holy Jewish texts – hence "kosher" sex – it also has "something that everyone can relate to".
Her customers, she said, come from "all walks of life". Religious and secular, Jewish and not, married and single. "They are people who are craving to give sexuality more meaning."
The store itself is gleaming and airy and open, unlike the kind of "red-light district" shops – as Boteach puts it – in some other parts of Tel Aviv. Boteach added that the inventory has been carefully selected to be both "elegant and tasteful."
Delicately handling one of the silicone toys, she said the spongy material is uniquely designed to fit the contours of a woman’s body. A gold necklace dangling on a display can also double as a sex prop, said Boteach: "For wives to send a subtle message to their husbands about fun later on." Some of the more high-end products, such as the crystal toys, cost as much as $170 (about R2 600).
None of what is on sale is meant to replace a husband, Boteach said. In Judaism, men are commanded to please their wives in the bedroom, and all the products are meant to assist them in doing just that.
Boteach said her long-term business goal is to see Kosher Sex stores opening in the US. In the meantime, she shares retail space with a friend, a fashion designer reimagining denim clothing much in the same way she is reimagining sex. The presence of clothing also helps soften the emphasis on products that some might find embarrassing.
The United States will extend a reprieve that permits China’s Huawei Technologies to buy components from US companies to supply existing customers, the Commerce Department said on Monday, but it also moved to add more than 40 of Huawei’s units to its economic blacklist.
Cape Town – Now in its ninth year, the Kapstadt Cup will now be known as the Lucky Star Cup, with this year’s three-day event promising to be the biggest yet.
Over the next few weeks, the Lucky Star Cup will be announcing a few exciting additions including the inclusion of a junior contingent from a leading Premier Soccer League club.
Details will also be revealed about the line-up of top artists that will open the Lucky Star Cup this year – an occasion that has become a glamorous affair in Cape Town.
“The Lucky Star Cup goes to the heart of grassroots development, which presents the greatest opportunities for building skills, teamwork, positive values and personal growth,” explains Lourens De Waal, Managing Director of Lucky Star.
“We’re passionate about the youth, about football and development, and about a healthy lifestyle. This is where it all starts for these young players, where they get a taste for the excitement and possibilities of the game. It gives them exposure to some of the best upcoming players, teams and coaches in the country. It is where they take their first steps towards becoming professional footballers.”
FC Kapstadt, the organisers and hosts of the Lucky Star Cup since inception, is excited by the possibilities of the partnership.
“It started off as a local competition. Now it attracts teams from across the country,” said Zaid Omar, President of FC Kapstadt.
“With Lucky Star’s support the Lucky Star Cup has the impetus to become Africa’s first international grassroots football festival that will attract teams from across the globe. That is our ultimate goal.
“At FC Kapstadt, we believe that the grassroots level is the most important phase of an athlete’s development and it is so often overlooked. With the right encouragement and coaching, a career can be made from the game with a host of positive attributes acquired along the way. The club is grateful and honoured to have Lucky Star behind this exciting competition.”
Omar says FC Kapstadt’s youth football philosophy emphasises grassroots football development. This formula has seen it becoming the most successful grassroots football club in the Mother City over the past 10 years. The Lucky Star Cup provides young footballers a platform to advance their game, get the chance to be noticed and to enjoy an unforgettable experience. The annual event is also powerful vehicle for social cohesion, community development and positive change.
“There is no true development without competition,” says Omar. “That’s why a worldclass grassroots football festival is so crucial. Players can measure their skills and styles against some of the best players in their age group in a friendly but competitive environment.”
Due to its success, there is an unprecedented demand for entry from all over the country and even from further afield.
Over the past nine years, local media has billed the Kapstadt Cup as the Mother City’s Premier Grassroots Football Festival and the event has embraced this slogan.
Spectators, who will descend on the Hartleyvale Stadium and Malta Park precincts in Observatory from the 4 to 6 October 2019, can expect a football feast to remember.
Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama believes that the South African brand of football needs to be further developed and nourished and therefore it would be crucial that SAFA announce a local coach in their next appointment for national team coach.
Active kids sustain injuries. Every year some children and adolescents get a concussion while participating in normal activities, like sports and play.
Most kids return to school and activities within about one month of the injury, but sometimes they need specialized concussion treatment and rehabilitation.
Our recent study, published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, found that psychotherapy can improve adolescents’ insomnia after concussion and that it also improves overall post-concussion recovery.
Concussion and sleep
Although the majority of youth with concussion will recover within about one month, 20 to 30% will have symptoms that have not resolved.
Those with slow concussion recovery are more likely to repeatedly visit health-care professionals, miss school and, as a result, have parents who need to take time off of work. Finding ways to improve recovery has become a top priority.
Research shows that insomnia is one of the most common lingering symptoms in adolescents with concussion. Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, restriction in the number of hours of sleep or feeling that sleep is not refreshing.
In a recent study, we found that some level of insomnia was present in two-thirds of adolescents with slow recovery from concussion. One-third had moderate to severe insomnia.
Worse insomnia was also linked to worse post-concussion symptoms (for example headaches, balance problems and dizziness), worse anxiety and depression, as well as more self-reported problems with attention and memory.
Psychotherapy for insomnia
Unfortunately, there are very few evidence-based treatments to help with insomnia after concussion.
Our treatment trial found that a type of psychotherapy – called cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (or CBT-I) – provides remission of insomnia in 80 to 90% of adolescents who were taking several months to recover from their brain injury. That is compared to remission rates of only 9% for those who did not have the treatment.
And the benefits of this therapy extended beyond just sleep improvement; there was also improvement in overall concussion recovery. That is, their level of post-concussion symptoms also dropped over time.
Sleep schedules are important
Commonly, after concussion, sleep routines get temporarily disrupted. Kids who go on to develop longer term sleep problems often do not return to a normal sleep routine. Instead of going to bed and getting up at a regular time, they go to bed and wake up later. They may also sleep less at night and start to compensate by taking more naps.
This disrupted schedule interferes with school and regular activities. As activities start to drop off, the motivation to get to bed and wake up at regular times also goes down.
One of the most important pieces of advice we give is to get back on a regular sleep schedule. In particular, this means setting and sticking to a regular wake-up time. Although getting up at the same time every day might feel hard at first, it gets kids back to normal activities (like getting to school on time) and it helps to ensure that when bedtime rolls around, they are actually sleepy.
Sleepiness (feeling like you could fall asleep) increases the longer that you’ve been awake. So if you get out of bed at 7am there is a good chance you’ll want to fall asleep by 10 or 11pm. But if you get out of bed at noon, the need to sleep again won’t actually occur until much later, say 2am or 3am.
Setting a regular wake-up time helps to ensure that when kids crawl into bed at night they won’t just lay there with minds racing.
Improve sleep, concussion may remit
The second most important piece of advice we give is to use your bed only for sleeping. This means that if a child is not sleeping, they shouldn’t be lying in bed. If they need to rest but aren’t sleepy, doing so on the couch is just fine.
Finally, there should be no electronic devices in bedrooms, as they are notorious for disrupting sleep, even when they are turned off. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that bedrooms are 100% media-free zones and one of the most effective pieces of advice we have is to remove all electronics from bedrooms.
There are many good books and other resources available for teens and parents who want to learn more about treating insomnia.
The main message we want to convey is that concussion-related insomnia is a treatable problem. And that by improving sleep, concussion symptoms may also remit.
Along with all of the season’s vegetables and fruits, summer is when fresh herbs gain the most popularity.
Sure, you can keep herbs alive during other parts of the year, but many of them begin to really thrive when the weather gets warm. Basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, mint, and cilantro are big players in the fresh herb world since they’re fairly easy to get in supermarkets and in gardens. But they’re not the only herbs that you could use to add flavour to your dishes.
Try one of these herbs that are lesser known for some different combinations.
Perilla is also known as the beefsteak plant, but you’ve more likely run into it in culinary applications as shiso leaf, which is what the herb is called in Japan. Shiso leaves have a warm flavour that tastes vaguely like licorice, making them lovely to pair with fennel. It’s also a nice addition to fruit.
If you’re a Julia Child fan, you’ve likely already run into chervil, a herb that’s used liberally in classic French dishes. It’s also sometimes known as French parsley, and regular parsley is a substitute when it’s called for but none is around. But if you have the chance to taste it, you’ll notice the difference between the aggressive green flavour of parsley and the subtler, more anise-flavoured chervil. It’s a good herb to use with fish.
I have a tiny bottle of dried marjoram in the back of my spice cabinet, but it usually only comes out once a year when I make a big stew that calls for it. Fresh marjoram is a whole different category. If you can’t find any, oregano makes a good substitute, but marjoram has a different profile than its more popular relative. It has notes of pine and citrus, making it a particularly nice match for lemon juice. It’s delicious in pasta sauces. You can also use it to make an alternative to chimichurri to pair with grilled chicken or vegetables.
This one is a little confusing, because to my ears, savoury is a category, not a particular herb. But in fact, it’s an aromatic herb that has both a summer and a winter version. Both are worth your time, but since we’re talking about summer herbs, summer savoury is the one to look for now. It’s an herb that’s a little bit lemon-y and slightly bitter. It smells sort of like thyme. It tastes great with, say, marinated tomatoes or in a warm potato salad with green beans.
Yes, this herb tastes like lemon, and is a nice way to add a touch of lemon flavour to all kinds of dishes when you don’t want to use the actual fruit, or when you want to enhance its flavour. It’s often added to tea to give it a lemon flavor. You can use it in desserts. But it would also add a nice note to soups and sauces. Taste it and see what you think it might pair well with. You might be surprised.
The legal representative of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi says the remarks that the former South African high commissioner to Uganda Jon Qwelane made were systematically hurtful.
Cape Town – Western Cape dam levels have broken through the 65% average level.
The average level for the province is currently 65.7%. Last year at this time the level was 53%.
Anton Bredell, the MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, said despite the good rainfall season this year, the Western Cape remains a very dry province where rainfall patterns have shown a decreasing trend over the past few years.
“Predictions show that rainfall will decrease further over years to come. We must therefore continue to use water wisely. There is a lot we can continue to do as citizens of the Western Cape especially in the area of using water responsibly and reducing water wastage further. These are areas where everyone can make a real and permanent difference by doing things differently and alerting us to problems speedily,” said Bredell.
Major dams have continued to see improvement and the concern remains largely relating to the Karoo region of the Western Cape where the average dam level is below 25%.
Major Dam statistics
Voëlvlei dam – 86% full this week (2018: 64%. Last week: 83.6%)
Bergriver Dam 100% full this week (2018: 89%. Last week: 101%).
Theewaterskloof dam – 71.5% full this week (2018: 43.9%. Last week: 70%)
Clanwilliam Dam 98.8%. (2018: 98.5%. Last week: 97.8%)