The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has scheduled in new practical Webinar “Practical Strategies for Managing Deficit Awareness After Brain Injury”
People are often discharged from rehabilitation before they have fully grasped how their brain injury affects them day to day. Deficit awareness is a key component in:
• improving safety awareness;
• willingness to participate in continuing rehabilitation;
• use of compensatory strategies; and
• improving emotional reactions to others.
This webinar will offer an overview of what "deficit awareness" is, and offer strategies and tools to help the family and the person with a brain injury better manage their deficits as they continue to recover.
The webinar will be broadcast on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern 12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific time.
Registration closes Monday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 p.m. Pacific
For registration, click here.
The North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) will be hosting its 12th Annual Conference on Brain Injury on April 29th – May 2, 2015 at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.
The abstract tract submission site is now open. NABIS welcomes submissions in the areas of neuro-trauma and neuro-rehabilitation. For information on abstract submission, click here.
Accepted abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Planning Committee and published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.
FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro for her induction on October 9th as a fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America. (LCA)
LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of elite trial and appellate lawyers throughout North America. Fellowship election into this honorary society is highly selective.
Shana was also elected this year to be the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Shana’s legal practice consists of representing individual’s seriously injured as a result of automobile, bus and truck collisions, injuries that take place as a result of hazardous construction sites, unsafe buildings or as a result of medical negligence and hospital malpractice. More information can be obtained at our website, BrainLaw.
The Brain Injury Association of America will be sponsoring a webinar: Understanding Social Security Disability that is free for persons with a brain injury and their families on October 9, 2014 3:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Pacific
The one hour webinar will cover:
• The difference between the Social Security Disability Programs
• The application and appeals process
• The chances of success at different points in the process
• Analysis that is used by the Social Security Administration to determine disability
• The importance of understanding the system to improve the chances of approval
Click here to register
Jim McMahon and Jeremy Roenick Launch Players Against Concussions (PAC) Foundation To Support Concussion Awareness and Prevention—Kickoff event scheduled for Monday, October 6th in Westchester, New York
Players Against Concussions (PAC) is a new nonprofit organization founded by Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick with the goal of preserving sports while making them safer
The PAC mission begins on Monday, October 6th, when celebrities and professional athletes from across the country converge on the Pelham Country Club in Westchester, New York to participate in the First Annual Players Against Concussions Golf Outing.
A morning brunch and press conference is scheduled from from 10am – Noon, followed by an afternoon round of golf, and will conclude with a cocktail hour and dinner beginning at 5pm.
“This is a deeply personal issue for me as both a player and a parent,” said McMahon. “I loved every minute of the football I played as a kid and during my professional career, but I’ve also felt the effects of the concussions I suffered on the field. I’ve seen the lasting effects on teammates and friends, and now I see the statistics that point toward an epidemic of concussions among young athletes. The idea that kids are sustaining head injuries that have the potential to cause permanent, lifelong damage is just unacceptable. We know many of these injuries are preventable, and in terms of protection, we know we can do better through research and innovation. The goal of PAC is to keep athletes of all ages playing the sports they love, but without having to risk the lifelong, debilitating effects of head injuries.”
For more information on PAC, or to request RSVP for the October 6th Players Against Concussions Golf Outing, please contact Mark Ballard or Sabrina Levine at 212-680-0179 or email
Help Elevate Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health--Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Action Alert
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has issued the following action alert today regarding important rehabilitation legislation that is pending in the United States Senate:
• S. 1027 is designed to enhance the stature of rehabilitation and disability research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
• S. 1027 is bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), two individuals who know first-hand the impact that quality rehabilitation services can have on one's ability to regain health, function independently, and return to work, following an illness, injury, disability or chronic condition.
• S. 1027 was introduced in 2013 and the bill seeks to elevate the stature of rehabilitation science, better coordinate the $300 million spent annually on this type of research, and deliver the maximum return on the federal investment. The bill is expected to be budget neutral.
• This legislation is important to the brain injury community. It is critical to maximize the outcomes of rehabilitation and disability science in order to translate findings into better treatments for individuals with brain injury.
• Please join your colleagues, Sens. Kirk, Hatch, Murkowski and Johnson and cosponsor S. 1027.
Please call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and you will be connected to your Senators Office. Please tell the staff you are a constituent, ask to speak to the Health staffer and please use the above talking points.
Specifically, BIAA is asking the following Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to cosponsor this important legislation.
Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee:
Barbara A. Mikulski (Maryland)
Patty Murray (Washington)
Bernard Sanders (Vermont)
Robert P. Casey (PA)
Kay R. Hagan (NC)
Al Franken (Minnesota)
Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)
Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)
Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)
Christopher S. Murphy (Connecticut)
Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
Brain Injury Association of America files motion in federal court disputing the terms of NFL settlement
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) filed a motion today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking permission to appear as a friend of the court )amicus curiae to explain concerns it has with the proposed NFL brain injury settlement..
Similar to concerns raised by my partner, Shana De Caro who chairs the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Group and myself in our numerous op-ed pieces that have appeared on the Huffington Post and in the National Law Journal, the Brain Injury Association believes that the settlement unfairly discriminates among different groups of players and fails to provide any compensation to the majority of NFL players who sustained life altering traumatic brain injuries as a result of playing professional football.
Following are some of the areas of concern noted in the affidavit filed in support of the motion to intervene:
•The settlement excludes numerous physical and behavioral consequences of brain injury from the list of qualifying diagnoses for treatment and compensation. A concussion results in a wide range of neurological, physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological impairments that can appear immediately or many years after injury, requiring specialized treatment on an ongoing or intermittent basis.
•The approach to diagnosing impairment is “deeply flawed” and will exclude many former players from receiving compensation. The determination of eligibility is heavily weighted towards those with severe memory dysfunction and/or evidence of neuromuscular abnormality. If a player has impairment in language or visual function, but not in executive function, learning or memory, he will not qualify.
•The downward adjustment of compensation based on the number of seasons played, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and incidence of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) prior to being admitted to the class, demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of concussion and mild TBI. A single concussion, whether diagnosed or not, can result in debilitating physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments that interfere with the activities of daily living and require a lifetime of treatment. Therefore, the nature and extent of the impairment – not the number of seasons played – should be the determining factor in any monetary award.
•The limitation of pharmacy vendors to mail order pharmacies. Some medications require distribution that controls for temperature, light, vibration, and other conditions and cannot be reliably distributed by mail order. In addition, use of mail order prevents a physician from making quick and immediate medication changes.
•The BAP Supplemental Benefits program fails to recognize the full extent of the treatment team that may be required. The standard of care for patients with TBI dictates that rehabilitation and other medical treatment plans are developed and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of licensed, credentialed clinicians working in specialized settings and accredited programs. These include endocrinology, physical medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-optometry, otolaryngology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and neurobehavioral therapy, among others.
Copies of the motion and affidavit filed by BIAA can be obtained on their website.
The 7th Annual Journey of Hope Gala fundraiser is scheduled for October 28, 2014 at the Union League Club in New York City. Tickets are available on the BIANYS website. This year, the Gala recognizes Wayne A. Gordon, PhD, ABPP with the Champion of Hope Award, Joseph Sandford, PhD with the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, Judith Avner, Esq. with the Leadership Award, Steven Miller with the Victory Award. Click here for updates and honoree information.
FRONTLINE’S new season begins on September 30 at 10pm ET with League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. With the NFL under fire in the news recently for its abysmal denial regarding its useless corporate guidelines on domestic violence, FRONTLINE will air a 90-minute rebroadcast of League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. It is projected that more than 150 NFL players will suffer a concussion this NFL season.
Researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology are conducting a research study investigating community life and wellness for caregivers of individuals with a Traumatic Brain Injury and the individuals they care for. To participate in our anonymous 30-45 minute survey, you must be 18 or older, and have either experienced a brain injury or be a family caregiver for an individual with a brain injury. Participants can enter a raffle drawing for the chance to win Amazon $20 gift cards. To participate, please click (or copy and paste into your browser) the appropriate links below:
If you are a caregiver of an individual with a brain injury click here
If you are an individual with a brain injury click here
For additional information about this study, please contact Samantha DeDios-Stern by email
Yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Delaware highlights the need for better enforcement of safety regulations against bus companies and their drivers involved in interstate bus travel.
I was honored to be interviewed yesterday by NBC News about this bus rollover accident which caused two deaths and many severe injuries to the bus occupants. Click here for news story about this fatal bus crash in Delaware
As a member of the interstate bus accident advisory board of the American Association for Justice Interstate Bus Accident Litigation Group, our law firm has handled many cases against bus companies resulting in severe injury and death caused by negligent bus drivers and negligent bus companies.
According to published reports the tour bus company, AM USA Express of Chinatown, New York, had been stopped by federal agents for inspections 30 times since August 2012, and had been cited for 18 safety violations during that period. The most recent of these inspections, on July 23, resulted in two citations for driving the bus in excess of permitted time rules.
Interstate Bus Accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury on our nation’s roads and highways. Thousands of injuries are caused every year due to negligent driving of bus drivers, the failure of bus companies to properly train and supervise their bus drivers, and bus companies’ faulty inspection and maintenance of their fleets. Hundreds of needless deaths are caused by driver error and the poor bus company safety records. Recent deadly bus accidents in New York highlight the urgent need for more state and federal oversight of bus drivers and bus companies.
Bus occupants have a right to expect that a bus driver is properly trained and licensed, well-rested and capable of operating a bus in in a manner so as to protect the safety of all passengers. Passengers, and the public at large, have right to expect that buses are properly inspected and designed, and that all parts of the bus are properly maintained.
When bus accidents occur due to driver error or fatigue, due to improper and unsafe bus maintenance, including defects in the bus or its tires, or a company’s failure to supervise and train its drivers, the victims of these disasters should be able to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
The following legilsative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) who successfully led the coaltion for reauthorization of the TBI Act.
BIAA is pleased to announce the United States Senate passed the TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, on Tuesday, September 16.
The TBI Act reauthorizes appropriations through FY2019 for TBI prevention and surveillance or registry programs. BIAA worked closely with Senate staff to add language to the legislation that requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a review of the scientific evidence relating to brain injury management in children, identifying ongoing and potential opportunities for research, and to report to Congress on the results of this review.
Susan Connors, BIAA's president and CEO commended the Senate for directing CDC to conduct more research into the management of brain injuries in children. BIAA thanks Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for introducing the bill on the Senate floor and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for moving it through the Senate HELP Committee.
Originally passed in 1996 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2008, the TBI Act represents a foundation for coordinated and balanced public policy in prevention, education, research, and community living for people with TBI. The TBI Act specifically allocates federal funds for programs supporting individuals with brain injury to federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the Health Resources Administration (HRSA).
The House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the House version of the TBI Act in a floor vote on June 24, 2014.
The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Hatch on June 26 and passed out of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 23. The House of Representatives will vote on the TBI Act during the lame duck session which begins November 12. BIAA thanks the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) for their collaboration on TBI Act reauthorization.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Webinar
Please join Peter Thomas
The Brain Injury Association of Vermont will be holding their 26th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the Sheraton Conference Center, Burlington, VT For a brochure and more information, click here
The Brain Injury Association of Vermont will be holding their 26th Annual Traumatic Brain Injury Conference on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the Sheraton Conference Center, Burlington, VT For a brochure and more information, click here
Does race and ethnicity affect brain injury rehabilitation? “Studies show that among minorities who receive rehabilitation after brain injury, health disparities persist and affect long-term outcomes.” Issues of cultural diversity in acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation. Neurorehabilitation, August 2014 Abstract and first page of article can be found here
Does race and ethnicity affect brain injury rehabilitation? “Studies show that among minorities who receive rehabilitation after brain injury, health disparities persist and affect long-term outcomes.” Issues of cultural diversity in acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation. Neurorehabilitation, August 2014 Abstract and first page of article can be found by clicking here
The Minnesota Department of Health released a report on how concussions are impacting high-school athletes.
The report is based on data the Minnesota Department of Health collected from 36 Twin Cities-area schools during the last academic year. It estimates 3,000 high school athletes were concussed statewide last year.
That's 22 athletes suffering a concussion for every high school in Minnesota last year.
According to published reports, “Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says the research should be a signal to coaches and parents that concussions need to be taken seriously.”
"And we need a commitment from everyone on the team to make sure our athletes can compete safely, and when concussion does occur, we need to make sure the student athletes have the support of parents, teachers, coaches, and school nurses and clinicians in the community," he says.
According to the report, hockey and football players have the highest concussion rates
The study results are published in the September issue of Minnesota Medicine.
The following brain injury conferences scheduled for October 2014 may be of interest to my readers:
ACRM Annual Conference
Toronto, ON, Canada
703 435-5335 click here
13th Annual Neuro-Rehabilitation Conference
Loma Linda, CA
909 558-3500 click here
Brain Injury Association of Montana, Annual Conference
800 241-6442 click here
Brain Injury Association of Illinois Annual Conference
Oakbrook Terrace, IL
800 699 6443 click here
Brain Injury Association of Missouri Annual Conference
St. Louis, MO
800 444-6443 click here
25th Annual State of the States in Head Injury Meeting
802 498 3349 click here
Beginning tomorrow, hundreds of children will be walking to and from school and school buses – many for the first time. Here are some simple tips for pedestrian and motorist safety:
• Everyone who drives has a responsibility to be especially careful during this busy time for youngsters.
• Did your teenage son or daughter receive their driver license during the summer months? Are they driving to school for the first time? Consider discussing with them the new hazards they may encounter on public streets and on campus now that school will be open. E.g. frequent bus stops; Children crossing roadways.
• Be cautious in school areas, keeping your speed at or below posted limits and being prepared to stop, on both sides of the street, for school buses with flashing red lights, as required by New York State law.
• Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time for their respective commute in the morning as buses make frequent stops.
• Children tend to be at greater risk during the back-to-school period because they tend to be thinking more about seeing old friends and new teachers than watching for cars and trucks. Others are going to school for the first time and may be nervous.
• Look all ways before crossing the street.
• Cross only at corners or at designated cross walks.
• Only enter the roadway after all oncoming traffic has come to a complete stop.
• Obey police officers, school crossing guards, and traffic signals.
• Watch for turning cars.
• Be especially alert in bad weather.
• Play away from traffic.
• Remember, hands-free is not risk free.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that there are no approved dietary supplements to treat a concussions or other types of brain injury.
Can a Dietary Supplement Treat a Concussion? No!
The concussion supplement warning published by the FDA is published in full below:
Exploiting the public's rising concern about concussions, some companies are offering untested, unproven and possibly dangerous products that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring the marketplace and taking enforcement actions where appropriate, issuing warning letters to firms—the usual first step for dealing with claims that products labeled as dietary supplements are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The agency is also warning consumers to avoid purported dietary supplements marketed with claims to prevent, treat, or cure concussions and other TBIs because the claims are not backed with scientific evidence that the products are safe or effective for such purposes. These products are sold on the Internet and at various retail outlets, and marketed to consumers using social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
One common but misleading claim: Using a particular dietary supplement promotes faster healing after a concussion or other TBI.
Even if a particular supplement contains no harmful ingredients, that claim alone can be dangerous, says Gary Coody, FDA's National Health Fraud Coordinator.
"We're very concerned that false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes of all ages, coaches and even parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are really ready," says Coody. "Also, watch for claims that these products can prevent or lessen the severity of concussions or TBIs."
A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head, or by a violent shaking of the head and upper body. Concussions and other TBIs are serious medical conditions that require proper diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring by a health care professional. The long-term impact of concussions on professional athletes and children who play contact sports has recently been the subject of highly publicized discussions.
A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that if concussion victims resume strenuous activities—such as football, soccer or hockey—too soon, they risk a greater chance of having a subsequent concussion. Moreover, repeat concussions can have a cumulative effect on the brain, with devastating consequences that can include brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disability and death.
“There is simply no scientific evidence to support the use of any dietary supplement for the prevention of concussions or the reduction of post-concussion symptoms that would allow athletes to return to play sooner,” said Charlotte Christin, acting director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.
Click here for more information.
I will be participating tomorrow morning—Saturday, August 30th at 10:40 AM in a discussion on the class action lawsuit commenced against FIFA and US Soccer leagues for concussion injuries in youth soccer on "The Classroom" from the Marist College Center for Sports Communication.
I will be analyzing the claims made in this soccer case, the relief that the plainitff's are seeking and the legal arguments that I anticipate each side will be making.
1220 ESPN Radio and the Marist College Center for Sports Communication have launched a weekly sports radio program produced live from the Marist College campus, representing the nation’s first partnerships between an ESPN radio affiliate and an academic center on a college campus.
The program, named “The Classroom,” is heard on Saturday mornings on Fox1220, 95.7 and 94.1 ESPN Radio and live on the web at 10 a.m. to noon. My segment is scheduled for 10:40 AM.
To listen to the broadcase live, click here
Al Jazeera America's flagship show, America Tonight will track all reported concussions in major college football this season. They have prepared a map which marks each reported player concussion which will be updated every week during the 2014 season (including the preseason).
As of yesterday, the map reports 9 concussions. But this is only what is reported. What about players who fail to report symptoms, teams that fail to report concussions, and concussions that are go on recognized?
For more information, click here
A class action lawsuit was filed yesterday in US Federal District Court against the Federal of International Football Association (FIFA) and US Soccer leagues by parents seeking changes to the associations concussion management rules to prevent brain injuries from occurring.
The plaintiffs are not seeking financial compensation but changes to how the game is played. They are seeing an injunction compelling the leagues to changes their rules regarding heading a soccer ball, when to remove a player from the game after a suspected concussion takes place, how long to keep the player out and educational requirements. The lawsuit wants the league to any player under 14 from heading the ball.
I was interviewed for a story published in the New York Times, Concussion Lawsuit Bids to Force Rule Changes in Soccer regarding this lawsuit. While I agree with the purported motivation for commencing this action, I have serious doubts whether the court can grant the plaintiffs the relief they demand.
The complaint is an excellent primer on the history of sports concussions, what was known and when it was known, the need for sports concussion management and the dangers faced by children who sustain a concussion while engaged in a sporting activity. I am attaching the full complaint: Download Soccer complaint
A concussion is a brain injury. The best cure for a brain injury is prevention. When in doubt, keep them out!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that annually, up to 3.8 million sport-related concussions occur in the United States.1 For adolescents and young adults, sports, such as football, account for a substantial proportion of these concussions.
There has been little research assessing the role of impact location on concussion outcome. A recent study published online, August 14, 2014 in the Journal Pediatrics, Impact Locations and Concussion Outcomes in High School Football Player-to-Player Collisions, attempts to answer this question.
The study concluded that, “among high school football players who sustained concussions due to player-to-player collisions, concussion outcomes were generally independent of impact location.”
The Brain Injury Association of Michigan's Annual Conference will take place this year on September 11- 12 in Lansing, Michigan.
The purpose of this two-day conference is to provide state-of-the art information about brain injury treatment and therapies, which will foster maximal rehabilitation and a good quality of life. This conference is designed to benefit persons engaged in therapies with persons recovering from injury as well as caregivers and persons with brain injury.
For further information, click here.
An interesting article in Forbes, 35 NFL Players Already Had Concussions discusses the continuing crisis of brain injury among NFL Players. Yes, traumatic brain injury because a concussion is a brain injury.
The article emphasizes that although we are still in the pre-season, already 35 players have been diagnosed with concussions "and remember: The actual numder of concussions is undoubedly higher, experts say. Pleayers competing for roster spots aren't likely volunteering their symptoms, and teams aren't obligated to make weekly reports to the league yet."
Until players are assured that they will receive the benefit of their contract and life time disability benefits if they sustain a career ending concussion, there is little incentive for them to report their symptoms.
The University of New Mexico is engaged in a new program designed to scan the brains of all student-athletes engaged in contact sports.
The program will perform noninvasive MRI scans of the brains of men’s basketball, football, soccer, diving and baseball teams. Female athletes engaged in basketball, volleyball, soccer and diving will also be scanned. Additionally, anyone engaged in cheerleading will receive a baseline brain scan.
So far the program known as the Brain Safe Project has scanned the brain of more than 253 student athletes. The program is designed to study the long term effects of concussions sustained by student athletes.
The Premise of Baseline Brain Scans according to the Brain Safe Project:
“The Importance of Baseline Scans
Measuring structure, function, perfusion, and connectivity at two different times
One of the most difficult things in assessing the impact of any type of head injury — but concussions and mild traumatic brain injury in particular — is to identify what has changed in regard to brain structure and function. Having individuals’ baseline scan for comparison purposes may significantly add to the accuracy of the assessment of brain injury. This is the premise of the Brain Safe project.
The goal of the Brain Safe analysis methods— that will analyze what has changed at the level of the individual subject by measuring structure, function, perfusion, and connectivity at two different time points or before and after any event—is to be able to identify mild traumatic brain injuries that cannot be identified with traditional assessment methods such as neuropsychological tests or a single structural scan.”
You can get more information by visiting the brain safe project web site.
The Brain Injury Association of New York State is offering a free Webinar, A Parent's Guide to Concussions in the Classroom on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 3:00-4:15 p.m. EST
Topics to include:
What to do when my child sustains a concussion?
What is the school district’s responsibility when a student is concussed?
Neurocognitive testing, what is it for?
Return to play protocols
Return to school protocols|
Available resources for managing a complex concussion
Click here to register
The following August federal brain injury legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA):
TBI Act Reauthorization
The United States Senate planned to pass TBI Act Reauthorization this week but further action on the bill will be taken in September. BIAA thanks Sens. Harkin (D-Iowa), Alexander (R-TN), Hatch (R-UT) and Casey (D-PA) for their continued leadership on passing this important legislation to the brain injury community.
Assisted Living TBI Pilot Program Extension
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a $16 billion overall to the Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday night which included a three year extension to the Assisted Living TBI Pilot Program. Sens. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Extension Act, S.2607. The AL-TBI Extension Act authorizes the continuation of a critical VA program that provides intensive care and rehabilitation to veterans with complex brain injuries. AL-TBI consists of community-based residential/transitional rehabilitation programs around the country in which veterans are immersed in therapies for movement, memory, speech, and gradual community reintegration. This model of care allows veterans facing similar challenges to live together while receiving 24/7 care, which has yielded impressive results and helped rehabilitate hundreds of veterans from severe injuries that are notoriously difficult to treat. BIAA thanks Sens. Booker and Heller for their leadership and to Congress on extending this vital program to our Veterans with TBI.
U.S. Department of Education
On Tuesday, BIAA staff attended a meeting with Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services and other senior leadership at the Department to discuss New York State's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver extension which included a provision to test students with disabilities two grades below their enrolled grade level. On Thursday, the Department approved New York's ESEA Waiver Extension without Amendment 1. Amendment 1 was the provision that would have allowed NY to test students with disabilities at two grades below their enrolled grade. BIAA could not be more pleased that this provision was not included in the waiver - its removal means that thousands of students with disabilities including brain injury won't be taken off the track to graduation.
SAFE PLAY Act Introduced
On Thursday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA-24) introduced the Supporting Athletes, Families and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth (SAFE PLAY) Act, a bill that would promote youth safety in athletic activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, participation in organized sports is on the rise. Almost 30 million children participate in youth sports in the U.S. This increase in participation has also led to an increase in injuries - more than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year, 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among U.S. children are associated with sports participation, and children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals.
To address this, the bill would take a multipronged approach of research, community education, and federal support for school district to adopt best practices to keep kids safe, focusing on several areas, including heat exposure, CPR and AED training, concussion response, and energy drink consumption, to ensure children's safety in athletics and on campus.
Specifically, the SAFEPLAY Act would direct the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:
• Develop recommended guidelines for the development of emergency actions plans for student athletes
• Develop information on the ingredients used in energy drinks and the potential side effects of energy drink consumption
• Recommend guidelines for the safe use of energy drink consumption by students
• Report to Congress on the number of sports related fatalities and catastrophic injuries and the cause
• Develop and disseminate information about the health risks associated with exposure to excessive heat and humidity, and how to avoid heat-related illness
• Assist schools in developing and implementing an excessive heat action plan to be used during all school-sponsored athletic activities that occur during periods of excessive heat and humidity
The bill would also help local education agencies develop and implement safer schools. The bill would provide assistance for school districts to develop and implement a standard plan for concussion safety and management and set up concussion management teams to respond to incidents on campus. It would also support schools by providing access to critical resources to teach students across the country the life-saving skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use automated external defibrillators (AED).
Congress is out of session for the month of August and will return to Washington D.C. on September 8, 2014. Policy Corner will resume on September 12, 2014.
Apparently, not all concussion apps that are currently available from I Tunes are up to date or provide comprehensive information according to a new article Comprehensive review of concussion screening apps for the sidelines which can be accessed by clicking here.