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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
Ben Richards would have rather lost a limb in Iraq than suffer the wounds he did — the ones no one could see.
Appearing on 60 Minutes on May 5, the retired Army major recalled rushing into battle still reeling from a concussion days before, fighting the enemy while unable to see straight. Staying alive in combat is a struggle all its own. Richards didn’t need to be fighting his own brain — he had enough enemies in Iraq.
This became all too common. Richards would suffer several concussions, and they would end his Army career. They came close to ending his life. (more…)
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
It’s no secret that most children lead rough-and-tumble lives. You don’t learn to walk without falling first. Every kid bumps his or her head at some point and cries, and parents come running.
But how do those parents know whether it’s just a minor bump — a part of growing up — or something more serious? Serious brain injuries do not always seem like much when they occur.
Researchers have come up with a set of guidelines for determining this after a large study in 2009. Every parent should become familiar with them. (more…)
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
A federal judge will hear arguments today from lawyers seeking to learn what National Football League officials knew about the prevalence of head injuries in the sport and when they knew it.
The attorneys represent about 4,200 retired NFL players who are suing the league. They allege the short- and long-term dangers of repeated head injuries were known to the league but ignored. Concussions, football players have said, were treated as simply a part of the game despite the lasting impact they can have.
The arguments today are being heard in a Philadelphia federal courtroom. The stakes are high. A judge will decide if the 4,200 cases belong before the courts or whether, due to collective bargaining agreements, they should instead be settled in arbitration.
If the cases remain in court, the players’ attorneys would have access to NFL information through the discovery process. They allege the league was aware of the extent of dangers and actively tried to hide them from players.
“The NFL failed to live up to its responsibility: it negligently heightened players’ exposure to repeated head trauma and fraudulently concealed the chronic brain injuries that resulted,” they wrote in a legal brief, the Associated Press reported.
The NFL, meanwhile, has insisted player safety has always been the highest priority and that they relied on the best available science at all times.
Both sides are represented by politically connected, high-profile attorneys. Paul Clement, who represents the NFL, is a former solicitor general under President George W. Bush who argued the administration’s positions to the U.S. Supreme Court. The lead attorney for the players is David Frederick, who has argued pharmaceutical and other cases to the Supreme Court and is an ally of President Barack Obama, according to the AP.
Chronic head injuries can cause a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. This can lead to depression, aggression, serious cognitive impairment and dementia. A 2012 study examined the donated brains of 85 people who suffered head trauma in football, hockey, boxing or service in combat. Sixty-eight of them — 4 out of every 5 — showed signs of CTE.
Athletes and commentators have wondered about the possible links between repeated head trauma and a slew of recent football tragedies, including the suicide of Junior Seau and the murder-suicide carried out by Jovan Belcher.
If the NFL once turned a blind eye to head injuries, few could accuse them of doing so now. The league recently teamed up with General Electric on a $60 million project to develop new imaging technology to better understand concussions. Money for future research is also including in the NFL’s bargaining agreement with the union representing its players.
The Brain Injury Law Center is committed to representing people who have suffered debilitating head injuries. We support efforts to better understand the nature of these traumas. Contact us if you have suffered a serious brain injury due to another’s negligence.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
Kimberly Russell knows about brain injuries.
Her daughter, now 16, underwent her first brain surgery when she was just 5 days old. Stints at the hospital followed — sometimes for months at a time. Russell is grateful her large family was there to offer support, but they ultimately had to tend to their own lives, while Russell’s remained focused on her daughter’s devastating injury.
“I felt so alone,” she told the Brain Injury Law Center recently. “I had some of the best doctors out there, but none of them ever said, ‘Kim, this is a website, an organization, a resource you can go to to find out more about your daughter’s brain injury.’ That’s what we want to be to people.”
She’s referring to TryMunity, a non-profit online community that brings people together who are affected by traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Users create profiles and interact with one another much like they do on popular social media platforms like Facebook.
Russell is the executive director of the organization, which is based in McKinney, Texas. Here are some highlights from our conversation with her: (more…)
Monday, March 11th, 2013
Lindsay Corley is not a football player or a member of the armed forces. Her job as an editor at CNN, while fast-paced, is decidedly low-contact and lacks physical risk.
As is sometimes the case, it begins with an injury that goes unnoticed.
An unexpected blizzard hit Kentucky as Corley was driving on Feb. 19, 2012. In whiteout conditions, her car skidded across the highway and struck a guardrail. She felt lucky she was able to step out of her car seemingly uninjured.
A week later, she began to feel sick to her stomach. Light and sound pierced her head and brought pain. Sleep was difficult. When a friend suggested she had suffered a concussion, Corley repeated an oft-assumed but inaccurate thought: that a concussion only occurs when a person is knocked unconscious.
It got worse. After she was diagnosed with a concussion, Corley was unable to perform basic tasks most of us take for granted. She couldn’t focus on the words other people spoke, and she blurted out things she didn’t mean to say. Her balance and coordination were off. And when she sat down at a computer, the woman who wrote and read for a living found she could no longer make sense of written English. (more…)
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