Brain Injury Year End Legislative Update

The following year end legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

The appropriations bill includes a new general provision to support the transfer of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Independent Living, and Assistive Technology Act programs to the ACL in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in July.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Funding was reduced to $9.3 million (down $23,000) for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program that funds grants to states to increase access to service delivery and to state Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems to provide advocacy assistance to individuals with TBI.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH received a little over $30 billion. Several institutes received support in connection with the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.

Congress noted that Comprehensive Rehabilitation Research Centers serve a high volume of Medicare and Medicaid patients with brain injury, strokes, multiple traumas, and wartime injuries. They included language to urge HHS to evaluate the current prospective payment rate with the goal of maintaining these centers of excellence and continuing the high quality of care provided by these centers.

The bill encourages HHS to investigate the development of new and better standards for testing sports equipment to ensure that athletes have state-of-the-art gear that significantly reduces sports-related brain injuries.

The NIH Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee (NIH RCC) was directed to host a trans-NIH State of the Science Conference on Medical Rehabilitation Research to develop and regularly update a trans-NIH plan for medical rehabilitation science and to better coordinate the grants to adhere to the definition of rehabilitation research recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research. BIAA has been a longtime supporter of legislative efforts to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The bill includes $170 million for Injury Prevention and Control activities, including $6.6 million for TBI and $28.9 million for injury prevention activities.

Medicare Payment Advisory Board (MedPAC)

Current law requires that MedPAC be comprised of a mix of individuals with expertise in the financing and delivery of health care services and have a broad geographic representation. These include, but are not limited to, people with rural backgrounds and experience. The Government Accountability Office is directed to continue to follow the statute when making appointments to MedPAC.

Department of Education:

Rehabilitation - Client  Assistance Program

The bill includes $1 million in increased funding for Client Assistance State Grants to help people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment through advocacy and the enforcement of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.

Higher Education

The bill includes $2.5 million for a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities and $11.8 million for the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID).

Social Security Administration (SSA):

The bill includes $35 million for a disability early intervention initiative as part of the research and demonstration budget. This demonstration project will test innovative and evidence-based approaches to help individuals with disabilities who are not yet receiving Social Security disability benefit remain in the workforce. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is directed to work closely with the Departments of Labor, Education, HHS, and other agencies as appropriate to develop and administer the project, including determining the appropriate target population and the types of interventions or services to be tested. SSA is also to ensure that participation in any demonstration is voluntary and that individuals are not required to waive any of their rights under the Social Security Act.

Veterans TBI Care Improvement Act

The Senate also passed H.R. 4276, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act, which amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The act makes changes to the 2008 Assisted-Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI) pilot program to place veterans with these severe injuries in residential living programs. Among the provisions, the legislation replaces references to "assisted living" with the term "community-based brain injury residential rehabilitative care."

Provisions were included to alter the reporting requirements under the pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assistance to eligible veterans with TBI to enhance their rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration. In accordance with the legislation, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is to submit reports to the congressional veterans committees on the pilot program for each quarter occurring between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2017, with regard to:

•         the number of individuals who participated in the pilot program;

•         the number of individuals who successfully completed the program;

•         the degree to which pilot program participants and their family members were satisfied with the program; and

•         the interim findings and conclusions of the Secretary regarding the success of the program and recommendations for improving it.

Roughly 200 veterans have participated in the program since its inception. In August, Congress extended the AL-TBI program until 2017. BIAA has championed this program from the onset and has worked to continue its funding and viability.

ABLE Act

On Dec. 16, the Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and sent to the president for his signature. The ABLE Act allows for the creations of tax-exempt savings accounts for people born with disabilities or who are diagnosed with a disability by the age of 26. Families may set up accounts and deposit as much as $14,000 per year to pay for services that include transportation, health care, and other long term needs. Accounts can accrue up to $100,000 without impact on eligibility for government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid.

December 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income following a Brain Injury--New Webinar

The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey will be hosting a webinar intended to be an introduction to issues surrounding social security eligibility for brain injury victims. ersey

Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

The New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance has described the content of this webinar as appropriate for nurses, parents, caregivers, or anyone who has sustained a brain injury.

According to the brain injury alliance, participants will learn:

* A short description of SSDI v. SSI,

* Preparing to Apply – what documentation is needed, specifically for brain injury,

* Submitting your application,

* And navigating the appeals process

 You can obtain further information regarding registration by clicking here.

 

December 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Webinars for December

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is sponsoring two brain injury related webinars for the month of December 2014.  The following information has been received from BIAA:

Yoga and Neuropharmacology: A New Path Forward

Thursday, December 4, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific

Yoga and Neuropharmacology may be more similar than you may think.
Join Eric Spier, M.D. and Sarah Adleman, PYT as they discuss how yoga and neuropharmacology can work together to provide a holistic approach to brain injury rehabilitation.

Registration closes Tuesday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific

 

Comparing CBT and Supportive Psychotherapy for Treating Depression Following TBI|A Mitchell Rosenthal Memorial Research Series Live Webinar

Thursday, December 11, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific

Please join Teresa Ashman, Ph.D., ABPP-Rp, FACRM, Director of Neurorehabilitation Psychology at the Shepherd Center, as she compares cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive psychotherapy for the treatment of depression following traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Registration closes Tuesday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific

To register for either webinar, click here.

 

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Contratulations to Brain Injury Association of America for securing passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act

The following legisilative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the voice of brain injury in the United States: 

Traumatic Brain Injury Act

The TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Nov. 13 and is on its way to the President for his signature. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.). In today's legislative environment, it was no small feat to pass this bill, which had strong bi-partisan support, including Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who co-sponsored a similar bill in the House, and who co-chair the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force..

 

The bill authorizes funding through FY 2019 for grants to States and Protection and Advocacy Systems to improve access to rehabilitation and community services and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct surveillance and public education programs. The bill also allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move the program from its current agency at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to another agency within HHS. New provisions were added calling for the Secretary of the HHS to develop a TBI Coordination Plan and for CDC to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with the TBI.

 

BIAA, along with the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) support moving the program to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to join other disability and aging programs administered by the agency. As Policy Corner readers know, the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2014, which was signed by President Obama in August, transferred several of programs from the Department of Education to the ACL, including the Independent Living Center, Assistive Technology, and the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research. BIAA and its partners will work with appropriators to move the HRSA TBI programs to ACL as well.

 

November 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Proposed NFL settlement a bad deal for players, says attorney specializing in brain injury

Listen to my interview on The Pulse discussing the unfairness of the NFL Settlement.

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The NFL Settlement Hearing-We have some problems Houston

When Judge Brody , 15 minutes into the initial presentation of the terms of the settlement and why it was such a good deal interrupted that attorney for the NFL to ask what he meant when he used the term, “TBI” I knew that the 20,000 players who this settlement was supposed to be about were in big time trouble.

I can go on and on about how disgusted I was in listening to the class action attorneys describe what a great job they did and what a terrible case this was except I have to pause to ask the question, if it was such a bad case why was the NFL willing to cough up close to a billion dollars?

In the end, I am saddened to say that this settlement will be approved and the odds of ever getting to the truth of what the NFL knew and when they knew it will never be revealed.

You can read more of my thoughts  Brain Injury Attorney Slams Settlement

November 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy-not effective in treating post concussive brain injury according to new study

Over the years there has been much interest and controversy in the use of high pressure oxygen therapy (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

According to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association –Internal Medicine (JAMA Internal Medicine) oxygen therapy administered in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is not any more effective than compressed air for the treatment of those suffering from post-concussive traumatic brain injury.

The research involved 72 service members with chronic post-concussive symptoms.  The researchers found that the service members who received high pressure oxygen therapy did not better than patients who were treated with only slightly pressured regular air leading the physicians to conclude that there was only a placebo effect for the use of oxygen therapy in both groups.

The research is the latest in a series of studies sponsored by the Defense Department to determine the effect of oxygen therapy following a traumatic brain injury.

November 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

An estimated 2.3 million adults and 450,000 children in the United States currently suffer from epilepsy. 

Epilepsy or seizures are well known to be caused by accidents and brain trauma.  Traumatic epilepsy or traumatic seizure disorder is frequently induced by traumatic brain injury.  The epileptic seizure disorder may be triggered by brain injury whether mild, moderate, or severe.  Traumatic epilepsy may develop following brain injuries with or without losing consciousness.  Both penetrating and non-penetrating head injuries have been found to be the source of epileptic seizures in victims of traumatic brain injury. The risk of developing epilepsy increases with the severity of the initial brain injury.

Seizures can take place days, weeks or even months following a traumatic brain injury.

Attorneys frequently encounter posttraumatic seizure disorders in clients that have fallen, been have been struck by a falling object, or involved in vehicular accidents.  The mechanism of injury is diverse, and does not require actual physical contact between the head and another object, but may only involve violent motion of the brain within the skull from sudden acceleration or deceleration.  A history of a piercing brain injury or a brain hemorrhage should alert an attorney to the possibility that the trauma that the client has sustained might precipitate traumatic epilepsy.  In clients exhibiting symptoms of the post-concussive disorder, a referral to a neurologist to rule out traumatic epilepsy is recommended.

November 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Association of America Caregiver Webinar

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.

October 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

North American Brain Injury Society Annual Meeting and Call for Brain Injury Abstracts

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

 

October 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro Inducted as Fellow--Litigation Counsel of America

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.

October 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Association Webinar: Understanding Social Security Disability

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

October 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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

October 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)

October 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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.

 

September 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brain Injury Association of New York State Gala Event

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.

September 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NFL Concussion Crisis--PBS to rebroadcast League of Denial this tusday evening

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.

September 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Caregivers for persons with brain injury--Reseach study seeking survey participants

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

September 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Delaware bus crash--Safety should be number 1 priority

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.

 

September 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Traumatic Brain Injury Act Reauthorized-Great Work by Brain Injury Associaton of America

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

September 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vermont Brain Injury Association Annual Conference

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

September 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vermont Brain Injury Association Annual Conference

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

September 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Race and ethnicity affect brain injury rehabilitation and brain injury outcomes

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

September 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Race and Ethnicity Affect Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery

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

September 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How concussions are impacting our children-from the playing field to the classroom

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.

September 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 2014 Brain Injury Conferences

The following brain injury conferences scheduled for October  2014 may be of interest to my readers:

October 7-11
ACRM Annual Conference
Toronto, ON, Canada
703 435-5335 click here

October 10
13th Annual Neuro-Rehabilitation Conference
Loma Linda, CA
909 558-3500 click here

October 10-11
Brain Injury Association of Montana, Annual Conference
Bozeman, MT
800 241-6442 click here

October 11-12
Brain Injury Association of Illinois Annual Conference
Oakbrook Terrace, IL
800 699 6443  click here

October 18
Brain Injury Association of Missouri Annual Conference
St. Louis, MO
800 444-6443 click here

October 27-30
25th Annual State of the States in Head Injury Meeting
Philadelphia, PA
802 498 3349  click here

 

 

September 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Local schools are opening tomorrow - Tuesday September 2 - Drive Carefully!

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.

September 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FDA Warning: No dietary supplements approved to treat concussions or other brain injury.

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.

September 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal discussion analyzing class action soccer lawsuit againt FILA

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 

August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tracking concussions in college football

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

August 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)