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STUDENT NEWS

Several Buildings Collapse in Rio de Janeiro

Aired January 27, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: This Friday is especially awesome for the Blythewood High Bengals in Blythewood, South Carolina. One of you got our social media question of the week correct, so congratulations on that. I`m Carl Azuz, welcoming everyone to CNN Student News.

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AZUZ: First up, we`re reporting on rescue efforts in Brazil after the sudden collapse of several buildings. This happened in the historic center of Rio de Janeiro. One of the buildings was 20 stories tall. The others were 10 and four stories, and they were commercial buildings. So they were mostly empty when they collapsed on Wednesday night.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Dust and rubble went flying through the air when the buildings came down. As of Thursday morning, emergency workers had recovered three bodies from the wreckage. They`d also rescued five people who had been injured. Sixteen people were still missing.

Officials said they didn`t immediately know what caused these buildings to collapse. They were investigating whether it might have been a structural failure or the possibility of a gas leak. Fire officials reported a strong smell of gas in the area after the collapse.

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AZUZ: Davos, Switzerland is the next stop in our roundup of today`s global headlines. Every year, Davos hosts a conference that`s run by the World Economic Forum. This year`s meeting started on Wednesday. It runs through the weekend. The theme is "The Great Transformation."

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AZUZ: Political leaders, business executives, academics all come together to talk about global issues during this annual meeting. Some of the subjects on the agenda this year include China`s economic power and the debt crisis in Europe. There are also sessions on the impact of political uprisings, like last year`s so-called Arab Spring, and one on the role that the United States plays in the global economy.

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AZUZ: From Switzerland, we`re heading now to Slovakia, and a pretty scary moment at an ice skating rink there.

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AZUZ (voice-over): These hockey players are part of a youth league. They`re just having a regular practice. But watch what happens next. There are huge pieces of ice that start falling from the ceiling. You can see the roof up above, it starts to eventually give way. There it is. Snow was piling up on top of the roof outside.

No one takes any chances. The players and their parents immediately take off. Everyone got out before this happened, before the roof completely caved in. So thankfully, nobody got hurt. This ice rink just opened last November, though it looks like it could be a while before any used it for another hockey practice.

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AZUZ: We want to see you on an upcoming edition of CNN Student News. And this is how you can do it. You can record yourself on either a camera or a phone like you see me doing right now, talking about Black History Month. It`s next month.

We want to you tell us in 60 seconds or less about an important figure in Black History. We don`t want to hear any music or see any pictures. We just want to see you talking. Send it to us as an iReport at cnnstudentnews.com, and then look for our response in your email inbox.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Ms. Cook`s U.S. history classes at Cosumnes Oaks high school at Elk Grove, California. What organ in the human body is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid. Here we go. Is it the heart, brain, lungs or pancreas? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Cerebrospinal fluid supports the brain and acts like a cushion during head injuries. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.

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AZUZ: There`s a new CNN documentary premiering this weekend that examines a certain type of brain injury. The program is called, "Big Hits, Broken Dreams," and the host, CNN`s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explores the impact of concussions on young athletes.

It`s a really relevant topic, especially to a lot of you high school football players out there. And I had a chance to talk with Dr. Gupta recently about the symptoms and effects of these injuries.

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AZUZ: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, can you start for us by just defining exactly what a concussion is?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me say one thing that it`s not. It doesn`t mean you have to lose consciousness. I think that`s a misconception that unless you lose consciousness it`s not a concussion.

A concussion is a type of brain injury, where basically the -- you have lots of things firing in your brain at any given time. This is a disruption of that, so people feel some altered sensation, altered vision. They may feel like their hearing is in a tin box. They may get numb and they may get confused. So it can be anything as vague as that, but definitely people know it when they have it.

AZUZ: Why is it more dangerous for young people to take big hits than adults?

GUPTA: This is a bit counterintuitive, because typically young kids and children are usually more resilient to all sort of injuries. When it comes to the brain, it`s a little bit different, though, and that`s because the brain is still forming, still developing at that age.

And what they have found in now some very objective studies is that if you have a lot of these hits as a young person, you create some changes to the brain that can interfere with that development, and lead to lifelong problems, whether it be memory problems, whether it be emotional problems such as depression or anger, but it`s more -- it`s a little bit more pronounced in a young person.

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AZUZ: Concussions are often caused by a shock to the head, so it`s common to see them in contact sports, like football. That`s what Dr. Gupta focused on in this CNN documentary. Part of what he looked at is how scientists are studying these injuries and working to prevent them.

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GUPTA (voice-over): Football is a violent game, full of big hits. But what are all those collisions doing to the brain inside those helmets? I met with Kevin Guskiewicz. He`s a researcher from the University of North Carolina, and he can actually measure the intensity of those hits.

GUPTA: So, I`m going to give it sort of a moderate hit then and see what happens.

KEVIN GUSKIEWICZ, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: So it`s recorded up here at 23.6 Gs of acceleration.

GUPTA (voice-over): Guskiewicz recently won a MacArthur Genius Grant for his work on concussions in football.

GUSKIEWICZ: He`s going to withstand an impact, 157 Gs.

GUPTA: Wow. That`s similar to a car accident.

GUSKIEWICZ: Right. The question becomes how many of those big impacts and the self-concussive wounds can a player withstand over the course of a season or a career until there`s some cumulative damage?

GUPTA (voice-over): On average, high school players sustain more than 650 blows to the head every season. That worries Guskiewicz, because their brains aren`t as developed as adults. The tissue of that brain is still very elastic. In fact, you can think of a brain like an egg yolk, and the fluids around it being the whites.

GUPTA: It`s about that yolk moving within the shell, or the skull, in this case.

GUSKIEWICZ: A helmet really is not designed to do that to the level that will prevent concussion.

GUPTA (voice-over): Guskiewicz also sits on the NFL Health and Safety Committee.

And today, he`s showing me around the Matthew Gfeller Sports Spectacular. It`s a hands-on clinic devoted to teaching players, parents and coaches on how to prevent head injuries. The event is named after this 15-year-old Winston-Salem High School sophomore.

Friday night, August 22nd, 2008, it was Matthew`s first varsity game for the R.J. Reynolds Demons. With just minutes left in the fourth quarter, Matthew was hit. And he doesn`t get up.

BOB GFELLER, MATTHEW`S FATHER: He couldn`t breathe. He could -- he was -- he was struggling to breathe. His pupils were totally dilated. No reaction. No movement.

LISA GFELLER, MATTHEW`S MOTHER: He died early Sunday morning. You got to come back home to your house without your child. I mean, it`s just a -- it`s --

B. GFELLER: Yes, just unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to ask that, when you leave this field today, that you never again use the word ding or bell ringer. You mean a brain injury.

GUPTA: But the Gfellers have since found meaning in their son`s death by partnering with Kevin Guskiewicz. Their message: you can make football safer.

GUSKIEWICZ: So, what we are trying to show is if you are watching the defensive player right here, and he`s keeping the head up, leading with, you know, that initial movement, those arms forward.

GUPTA: Your arms go forward.

GUSKIEWICZ: Arms forward.

AZUZ (voice-over): Really interesting info there. That was a preview for the kind of stuff you`re going to see in "Big Hits, Broken Dreams." You want to check out the full documentary. It`s great. Tune into CNN this Sunday at 8:00 pm Eastern and watch the entire program.

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And finally today, we want you to picture a world-class weightlifter. Get this image in your mind.

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AZUZ (voice-over): Does it look like this? Well, it should. Abbey Watson is 13 years old. Last weekend, she set 28 weightlifting records. That includes eight world records. She squats more than 143 pounds, dead lifts 176.

Here`s the kicker: that`s almost twice her body weight. Her coach says he thinks the reason Abbey can lift more than some adults is because no one`s ever told her she can`t. Also, she`s really ridiculously strong.

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Abbey says she eventually wants to compete in the Olympics, but not this year. She`s going to have to "weight." Maybe she`ll inspire other young women to get into the sport, you know, with that pretty uplifting story. Have a great weekend everyone. I`m out. For CNN Student News, I`m Carl Azuz.

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