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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  October 25, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday october, 25: the world health organization says the number of ebola cases worldwide now tops 10,000. the latest on the doctor hospitalized with the disease in new york. a top infectious disease expert weighs in. and in our signature segment, youth soccer. it's often viewed as a safe alternative to football, but some experts now believe kids who play the game risk concussions. >> in a sport put a child's brain in harm's way. >> sreenivasan: next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by:
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corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios in lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening. thanks for joining us. president obama today once again appealed for calm following the news that a new york doctor who treated ebola patients in africa has been hospitalized with the disease himself. >> we have to be guided by the facts, not fear. yesterday, new yorkers showed us the way. they did what they do every day-- jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work,
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gathering in parks. that spirit, that determination to carry on is part of what makes new york one of the greatest cities in the world. >> sreenivasan: in new jersey today, a 30-year-old nurse, who was quarantined after returning from africa, was determined today not to have ebola. even so, she'll remain in quarantine for another 20 days. late yesterday, new york's democratic governor andrew cuomo and new jersey's republican governor chris christie announced new, stricter rules governing health care workers returning from africa. anyone who treated ebola patients there will be required to go into quarantine for 21 days. illinois today adopted a similar position. the new state rules are tougher than the federal guidelines. we'll hear from an infectious disease specialist in a moment. three teenagers in washington state remain in critical condition and another is in serious condition after being shot yesterday by a fellow student in their high school cafeteria. authorities are still investigating what prompted the incident, which left still another teen dead.
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the gunman, who later killed himself, was identified as a 14- year-old freshman. he was a cousin of two of the people he shot. authorities said he used a 40- caliber handgun that was purchased legally. overseas, kurdish fighters have reportedly made significant progress in their month-long battle against isis extremists for control of the syrian border town of kobani. reuters today released these images obtained on social media sites reportedly showing the bodies of isis fighters and weapons captured from them. there was new unrest on the west bank today following reports that a 14-year-old palestinian- american teen had been shot dead by israeli troops. israeli authorities said the troops opened fire after the teen tossed a firebomb in their direction yesterday. the u.s. state department called for a speedy and transparent investigation. the 14-year-old, identified as orwa abdel wahab hammad, was born in new orleans. he moved with his family to the west bank when he was six. and bassist jack bruce, who sang
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and wrote many of cream's biggest hits including "sunshine of your love" and "white room," has died. he was 71. the band, which included eric clapton and ginger baker, was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1993. ♪ in the sunshine of your life ♪ >> sreenivasan: you've heard assurances from public health officials the last several weeks about the ebola scare. tonight, we want to go into much greater detail about when the disease is dangerous and when it's not. for more, we are joined by dr. stephen morse. he is a professor of epidemiology at the mailman school of public health at columbia university here in new york. first, let me i guess start with the news from yesterday when the two governors said they were going to take these increased measures of quarantining medical workers who come back from these countrieses. will this work or is this more of a systematic response to the
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fear that people have? >> i think largely it's something that looks good and will make us feel better, but i think it is largely a response to the fear. after all, these health care workers, although they may be the most likely to be infected because of their close contact with the patients, are also the ones who are most likely to be responsible to take their temperature and be careful. >> sreenivasan: there's this line in the sand about symptomatic versus asymptomatic. people are contagious when they're systematic. how do we know ebola is not contablous before the victim starts showing symptoms? >> well, everything we know about ebola is based on the experience of 24 epidemics from 1976 on. the virus, i don't think, has changed that significantly. and generally, these don't change that much. so what we do know from past experience is it requires direct contact with infected bodily
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fluids of the patient, or sometimes in the case of those who succumb, the corpse, the skin can also be infectious. so if they're not bleeding or vomiting or doing any of those other things, lawyer no infected liquids to come in contact with, the likelihood is very great that they're not going to be able to infect anyone until they show symptoms. >> sreenivasan: one of the concerns has been how viruses have mutated in past. is there any discussion of the possibility that this virus could mutate into something that's not just transmitted from bodily fluids but something that could be transmitted by air or any other way? >> well, all of these viruses mutate. hiv does, influenza does, and, ebola, of course, has been studied recently and a number of mutations have been shown but we don't have any example ever of any virus that whatever mutations it's undergone has
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changed in its route of transmission. hiv has had many opportunities to do that, and it still hasn't really fundamentally changed in that respect. with ebola, it may not be so much mutation or the amount of mutation but, you know, just simply the experience we have itw it suggests that it's not going to change that much. >> sreenivasan: another i'd like to discuss a couple of scenarios that new yorkers here were very concerned about and perhaps extract from that something the rest of the country could learn. if the doctor was standing a foot away on a subway car or if i had taken the taxi after he used it, what are the chances of getting it if he was showing symptoms versus if he was not? if there were symptoms and if, for example, he had left some blood behind or vomited or something like that, then there might be some risk, especially if one happened to touch it, or touch it to their eyes or nose,
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but in most cases, there is very little risk. and if there are no symptoms there wouldn't be any of this material to leave behind. and there's not that much virus in sweat during the early stages. so i think it would be very unlikely, in fact almost impossible, for someone to get infected by an asymptomatic patient, one who has not yet shown symptoms of disease. >> sreenivasan: one of the concerns here for example is if he touched a specific bowl ball and somebody else touched it. again, it has to be blood or vomit or something else? >> yes, in general, and in general, they have to have had symptoms already. and we have a number of examples that i think bear this out. one of the most severely ill patients, patrick sawyer, flew from monrovia, sick as could be he was so sick he could barely get on the plane, to legos, nigeria, where he thought he had to go to a meeting and insisted
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on going. and the nigerian government actually did contact tracing and found all the ones they could of the other passengers on the plane. i think they found 56 other passengers, and not a single one had become infected. so it's-- unless you're really getting very close, like the health care workers who are taking care of the patients, it's just not that easy to catch. >> sreenivasan: so there was a lot of concern in new york when initially that first night we heard this patient had a 103 temperature, and then it was clarified that it was 100.3. what's the temperature that we should be concerned about? >> well, this depends, of course, what your normal body temperature is because some people may have a little bit low, or a little bit high from the textbook. but 103 is certainly, as in the duncan case, 103 would be certainly something i would be very concerned about.
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100.3 i think is still something to consider, given the circumstances, he probably knew that this was something significant. ordinarily, you might think you were coming down with a cold or the flu or something like that. but if you have been in contact with ebola-infected patients you might have a lower threshold for being concerned and doing something. >> sreenivasan: all right, dr. stephen morse, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: and now to our signature segment. tonight, we explore a topic that affects millions of parents across the nation, those whose children play soccer. it's always been considered a safe alternative to football, but at least one leading neurosurgeon and one of america's best-known soccer stars now believe the game poses risks not fully understood before, the link between heading
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and concussions. in fact, soccer is one of the leading causes of concussions among kids playing sports. how great are the risks? the newshour's william brangham, whose three kids play soccer, went looking for answers. >> all right, here, my man, we are just going to take a look at your ears. >> reporter: dr. richard flyer has been my family's pediatrician for 13 years, and, to be totally honest, i love the guy. i admire him and i trust him. but three years ago, when my son jack was ten, flyer said something that floored us. he told jack he wanted him to stop playing soccer, completely. flyer argued that the dozens and dozens of kids he'd seen with serious, sometimes life-altering concussions-- some of them from heading the ball-- had convinced him that soccer itself was not safe. >> we need to look at these sports realistically and say, "are they really something we want our children to do?" do we want to, in the name of
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sport, put a child's brain in harm's way? >> reporter: flyer's warning got me and my wife tory to take a long and uncomfortable look at whether the sport our three kids love is safe. the benefits they get out of the game? those are obvious, but are they worth the risks of a serious injury? for the last few years, we've been struggling with a dilemma that's facing really millions of parents across the country. >> i just feel really confused and worried and just unsure what we're supposed to do now. >> reporter: it's important to say that we became a soccer family partly by design. our three kids are jack, who's 13, gavin is 11, and ally is nine. when they were little, they all tried a lot of different sports, but when it came time to officially join a team, we really steered them to soccer, which we thought was a "safe" sport compared to something like football. >> brown left with the game with a concussion. >> i think i knew enough, and this was now 10 years ago, to >> i think i knew enough-- and this is now ten years ago-- to
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know that football wasn't really an option for our kids. >> reporter: because it wasn't safe. >> because it was considered unsafe. >> reporter: then, in 2008, that idea was driven home by an awful tragedy in our town. a 16 year-old football player at montclair high school, ryne dougherty, died from a brain hemorrhage he got tackling during a game. three weeks before, he'd had another hard hit and a concussion. the whole town was really shaken up by his death. did we console ourselves, thinking, well, that couldn't happen to our kids? i don't know. maybe. but we kept signing the kids up, and they were playing and loving soccer. >> i really like playing, how there are positions, because there's, like, a special thing that you have to do when you're doing it so you feel like you're an important part of it. >> you get to move around a lot, and that you have to be a good team, not just be composed of good players. >> soccer is just the best sport there is, period. >> reporter: that said, i can't pretend that dr. flyer's warnings weren't always somewhere in the back of our minds.
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in 2012, one of jack's soccer mates, a boy named nick graham, went up for a header, fell to the ground and suffered such a severe concussion that his headaches and dizziness didn't get better for months. nick left the team and hasn't played since. within the last year, at least three of jack's teammates have suffered concussions. did that make us think about taking jack or any of our kids out of soccer? honestly, no. seeing them learn the value of hard work and dedication, how to handle the successes and the failures, it all seemed worth it to us. >> in this day and age, there's so many warnings, parental warnings. it's not safe to walk to school, it's not safe to drink that drink, it's not safe to look at that screen. there's so many "no's." and quite frankly, some of the things in life that are the most fun and are most rewarding have some risk involved. and i'm not encouraging my kids
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to skydive. what i'm saying is, soccer is fun and it's thrilling and it's exciting an... >> reporter: and it gives them so much. >> and it gives them a lot of pleasure, so i wasn't prepared to take that away from them. >> reporter: but then, during the 2014 world cup, which we loved but also where we saw some of those really brutal blows to the head, i read this story about a movement to take heading out of kid's soccer because of concern over concussions. i raised this question with a friend who's spent his entire life around the game. declan carney was born in ireland. he manages my son jack's team, and our sons have played together for several years. >> there's no question that concussions need to be dealt with and need to be taken very seriously whenever they happen. but if soccer, heading a soccer ball was actually a real danger of some sort of brain injury, i think it would've exhibited itself somewhere in medical history in europe or in south america or in asia, where people play soccer pretty much all their life and have done for the last 80, 100 years. and i don't think the science says it's there. >> reporter: i checked, and
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declan is right; there aren't any large-scale, long term studies connecting soccer to brain injury among the millions of soccer players in europe or south america or asia. but that article i read cited one small american study showing that adult amateur soccer players who headed the ball a lot-- between about 900 and 1,500 times a year-- showed abnormalities in their brains represented here by the red and yellow sections. these are effects similar to what you'd see in concussions, but many of these players said they hadn't had concussions. the suggestion being that brain trauma might be occurring from a lot of heading without obvious symptoms. keep in mind, 900 to 1,500 headers a year is far more than any kid i know ever heads the ball, even with regular practice. but that article also quoted this man, dr. robert cantu. he's a neurosurgeon, co-directs a brain study center at boston university, and is one of the nation's top experts on youth concussions. cantu acknowledges the science connecting soccer with brain injury is limited.
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he's in fact called for much more research. but even so, he thinks it's better to be safe than sorry and not allow young kids to head the ball. >> if you took heading out of soccer, it wouldn't be behind football in the incidence of concussion. it wouldn't even be in the high- risk group. it would be in a low-risk group. >> reporter: cantu told me that heading the ball as well as the collisions and the hard falls to the ground that often accompany them are problematic for kids because unlike adult brains, kids' brains are still developing. >> the young brain is largely not myelinated. myelin is the coating of nerve fibers that connect nerve cells, similar to coating on a telephone wire. it helps transmission, but it also gives strength. and so, when you violently shake the young brain, you have a much greater chance to disrupt nerve fibers and their connections than you do an adult brain. >> reporter: and there's this: a kid's head sits on a less developed neck and torso than an adult's, so the same blow might
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cause more damage to a kid than a grownup. >> so, you've got a "bobble head" doll effect with our youngsters so that the very minimal impact is now going to set their brain in much more motion than it would an adult brain with a strong neck. >> reporter: cantu says strengthening kid's neck muscles can help, but those soccer helmets and headgear don't really offer much protection, so he says there's only one thing left to do. >> take the most injurious activity for head injury out of it, but let the rest of the sport go on. and that's playing soccer without heading. >> reporter: some others who know far more about the game than i do are listening to cantu, one of whom you might recognize. brandi chastain's dramatic penalty shot against china won the 1999 world cup for the u.s. she also helped win gold for the u.s. at two different olympics. she now lives in northern california with her husband and her eight-year-old son jaden. she coaches his team and helps coach a division 1 team at santa clara university.
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she, along with several of her former teammates from the u.s. national team, have joined forces with dr. cantu's organization. >> we don't need to have heading in youth soccer, 14 and under. >> reporter: the interesting thing is, just a few years ago, chastain was on nbc saying that heading was safe for kids as long as they were trained correctly. >> it's a part of the game, it's an important part, and it's a beautiful part of the game. >> reporter: at the time, you were saying, "i think that it can be taught to kids, and it should stay in the game for kids." now, you think differently. i wonder what was it in particular that changed your mind? >> i think it was hearing the information that dr. cantu was putting out. the more i started hearing about it and the more research that has come out, i just thought, you know, i have to protect them, and this doesn't need to exist at this young age. >> reporter: chastain admitted that so far their campaign really hasn't taken off. just a handful of programs have
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removed heading. she says the lead really has to come from the top, from the international governing body of soccer, fifa, and the u.s. soccer federation. those organizations are currently being sued by a group of soccer parents in california who say the groups haven't done enough to protect kids from head injury. we reached out to fifa and to the u.s. soccer federation for comment. while neither would go on the record, citing the litigation, they both said that player safety is a priority, and the federation indicated heading and concussions are among the topics regularly reviewed by its policy makers. back in new jersey, the soccer season goes on. we see a fair amount of heading, especially in my older son's games. the boys take hard ones, soft ones. they score goals with them. our soccer club, montclair united, says it's very concerned about concussions and trains our coaches thoroughly, but they say they don't make the rules and so heading remains a part of our game.
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and quite frankly, there's a lot of doubt on a lot of people's minds that heading is a problem at all. >> i have a 13-year-old son that i want to protect as much as anybody wants to protect their son, but i will let my son head a ball because i see no evidence whatsoever that there is a danger for anybody in youth soccer playing, heading a ball. >> reporter: but then, our pediatrician, dr. flyer, says taking heading out doesn't go far enough in his opinion. he says what he's sees in his own patients is evidence enough that the sport isn't safe for kids. >> we had this 30-year experiment. the results are coming in. it's not safe for children to do this. it's a contact sport. that and, you know, that's also a euphemism. it's a brain-injuring sport. and if i don't get this information across, even the risk of upsetting people, i've failed. >> reporter: so, where does all this leave us? my wife and kids and i still get up every saturday and sunday and get ready for another long weekend of soccer.
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but full disclosure: after all the interviews i've done, tory and i recently told our kids not to head the ball anymore. so far, it's not been an issue in their games or with their coaches. even so, when we go out there and cheer them on, our pediatrician's voice is still in the back of our minds. do you feel like we're doing the right thing by letting them play? >> we are sort of punting the ball down the field and avoiding a decision, which, in and of itself, is a decision. our decision is that we've let our kids continue to play soccer. >> reporter: and are you okay with that? >> well, you know, i sort of just sit there secretly hoping at the end of every game that they walk off the field in one piece. i just want them to be whole. >> sreenivasan: for an extended interview with concussion specialist dr. robert cantu, visit
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>> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: it's been nearly 70 years since the end of world war ii, but only this month files released by britain's national archive revealed the secret role of a bank employee who helped expose german sympathizers in england. what he did helped keep sensitive information out of nazi hands. itn's john ray reports. >> reporter: as super sty spooiz go he looked ever inch the suburb an bank clerk. so who did eric roberts think he was kidding? mr. hitler, of course, and his band of british sympathizers, of which there were an alarming number. from the bells of mi5 emerges a murky chapter in secret service history-- how wehood winked the naughties. the records reveal the unlikeliest heroes. plucked from obscurity at the westminster bank, mr. roberts was given the cover name jack
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king and posed as the gestapo's go-to man in london. by the middle of the war, jack has a list of hundreds of naughty sympathizers, all of whom who are potentially looking to assist the nazis in getting contact with jack as the gestapo agent that they knew him. >> reporter: britain stood alone, the enemy at the gate. listening to every loose word. it turns out, these warnings were right. right. the files reveal the depressing and surprising length that british citizens would go to help the germans. this is a story of a woman called nancy brown, who brought to jack kay her hand-drawn mams of the local army records office in the hope that the luftwaffe would bomb it. he kept many such secrets from reaching berlin, but the biggest secret he kept might well have been his ownqç:ákáime role.
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john ray. >> sreenivasan: some more news before we leave you tonight. attorney general eric holder said today that gay couples who marry in alaska, arizona, idaho, north dakota, west virginia and wyoming will now qualify for federal benefits. that's already the case in 26 other states and the district of columbia. despite the protests of international human rights groups, a 26-year-old iranian woman was hanged today for killing a man who allegedly tried to rape her. iran's president tried but failed to stop the execution. and nbc reportedly has agreed to pay nearly $6.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by former unpaid interns who worked at "saturday night live" and other programs and did the work of paid employees. i'm hari sreenivasan. see you back here tomorrow night.
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captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we are your retirement company. additional support is provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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♪ >> i am here alone in the states and playing a piece. i feel i can do anything. >> the revel bugun -- literally, it means beginning in french. it makes the violin and percussion piece. i can do anything. the greatestobably violinist that ever lived, and from him, we are blessed with so many wonderful transcriptions, music or


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