Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News
Lead Off Speaker at American Association for Justice-Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group
On Sunday, July 27th, I will be the lead off speakier at the annual conference of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group’s annual program to be held this year in Baltimore, Maryland.
My topic this year is entitled, From Concussion to the Classroom and Playing Field. I will explore the many legal issues in recently enacted concussion management legislation, public health issues and additional steps that must be taken to protect our nation’s youth from the epidemic of traumatic brain injury in all sports.
Recent evidence points to over 250 million of our nation’s youth sustain some type of a traumatic brain injury each year while participating in athletic competition all athletic training. Brain injury in sports is a public health crisis that must be approached from many different areas including education, prevention, return to play guidelines and legal liability when a preventable brain injury takes place.
The legal conference is a part of the four day conference sponsored each year by the nation’s largest trial lawyer association, the American Association for Justice. The conference each year is attended by over 2,000 attorneys from across the nation. The conference provides educational skills to attorneys on how to more effectively represent their clients following a personal injury.
The traumatic brain injury litigation group is comprised of attorneys who have a special interest in the area of traumatic brain injury litigation. I have been honored to have been a chair of this group and continue to serve on the group’s executive board.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Events
Brain Injury and Concussion Awareness Day at Citi Field Sponsored by Brain Injury Association of New York State
The Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) will again be hosting Brain Injury and Concussion Awareness Day at Citi Field with the New York Mets on September 28, 2014.
BIANYS is selling field level tickets to see the Mets take on the Houston Astros at the last regular season home game of the year. You can obtain more information and purchase your tickets by clicking here.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law
Congressional Brain Injury Task Force Urges FIFA To Take a Hard Look at its Concussion Management Protocol
In a letter to FIFA, the co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, urged that the world soccer organization take immediate steps to address their “inadequate approach toward traumatic brain injury.”
Here are some excerpts from the congressional correspondence raising questions about FIFA’s concussion management protocol:
“This threat was on full display during the World Cup, where several players were left in obvious pain after receiving blows to the head. Of note, Álvaro Pereira, Javier Mascherano, and Christoph Kramer all endured brutal head injuries during play. Unfortunately, their pain wasn’t the only thing that these players had in common: each of them returned to the field almost immediately after a brief, sideline evaluation by a team doctor. In the case of Mr. Pereira, the team doctor even signaled to the manager that a substitution was necessary; however, the player insisted that he continue and he was reintroduced to the game. While Messrs. Periera and Mascherano continued to play for the remainder of their matches, Mr. Kramer collapsed on the field after fifteen minutes and was finally substituted out. He stated the next morning that he had little memory of the game.”
" Unlike in many other professional sports, following a player injury, the decisions of team doctors, who are rarely neurologists, can be overruled by coaches or the players themselves. This flies in the face of everything we know about TBIs, inadequate diagnosis and treatment, and the severity of this condition. Even after his team’s doctor advised him to leave the field, Mr. Pereira refused. This strategy is not sufficient in adequately diagnosing and treating players who have sustained head injuries. In the National Football League, for example, an independent doctor, unaffiliated with the team, must be present to evaluate all potential head injuries and make final decisions about whether it is safe for a player to return to the field."
Brain Injury and Sports
Neurology Group issues important new position statement on sports concussion management
Doctors have an ethical obligation to educate and protect athletes from sports concussion and clear them to play only when the athlete is medically ready, standing firm against objections from players, parents or coaches according to a new position paper of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), released yesterday in their medical journal, Neurology.
An AAN press release issued in connection with this announcement stated, “With nearly four million sports-related concussions in the US each year, it is imperative doctors are educated and protect these athletes who may have sustained a concussion,” said lead author Matthew P. Kirschen, MD, PhD, a neurologist with The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Concussions can have devastating effects such as short-term impairments in athletes’ cognitive and athletic performance. Repeat concussions have been linked to long-term impairments in brain function, such as problems with learning, memory and behavior.”
The AAN statement also:
- Supports wider use of baseline cognitive testing
- Recommends that concussion evaluation and management training be added to neurology residency programs
- Suggests the development of a national concussion registry with mandatory reporting, which may help to document more rigorously the incidence and recurrence of concussion at all levels of play
The statement concludes that physicians caring for athletes during and after a sports-related concussion should have adequate training and experience in the recognition and evaluation of both the existence and severity of potential brain injury.
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports
World Cup Soccer Hasn't Heard-When in Doubt, Keep Them Out!
My comments on the cavalier conduct of World Cup soccer in allowing players with head injuries to prematurely return to play before proper clearance were published last evening by the New York Daily News. Click here to read the article.
Brain Injury and Sports
World Cup Soccer Plays Russian Roulette with Javier Mascherano's Brain
A few moments ago I learned of the shocking decision by officals at the World Cup Soccer tournament allowing Javier Mascherano to return to play after sustained what appeared to be a potential concussion. What's wrong with these people? Haven't they learned their lesson from the serious injuries sustained by so many athletes who were allowed to return to play following a concussion? Haven't they heard of the tragic death of Natasha Richardonson or the condition known as second impact syndrome. World Cup soccer is playing russian roulette with the health and lives of their playrs. Don't they know, WHEN IN DOUBT, KEEP THEM OUT.
Click here for more on this tragic story Javier Mascherano plays through apparent concussion during Arentiana-Holland Wordup semifinal
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News
Even Phineas Gage would be denied benefits under the NFL class action settlement if received his injury while playing football!
Illustrative of the inadequacy of the NFL class action settlement are the injuries sustained by Phineas Gage and how he would fair under this agreement.
Perhaps the most famous traumatic brain injury patient in the history of medicine was Phineas Gage. In 1848, Gage was a 25-year-old railway construction foreman, working with explosive powder and a packing rod. A spark caused an explosion that propelled the three-foot long pointed rod through his head. It penetrated his skull at the top, passed through his brain, and exited through his temple. Before the accident Gage was a quiet, mild-mannered man; after his injuries he became an obscene, obstinate, self-absorbed man. His personality and behavioral problems persisted until his death in 1861.
Had Phineas Gage sustained these injuries while playing professional football, he would not be entitled to any benefit under the proposed settlement agreement.
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law
NFL settlement fails to provide redress for majority of players
It is unfortunate that the U.S. District Court Brody granted preliminary approval to the proposed settlement of the NFL class action lawsuit without first holding a hearing to examine significant issues affecting the ability of players to obtain the compensation they deserve.
I am hopeful that hearing scheduled for November 19th, will explore the obstacles, roadblocks, and hurdles that players in all classes of injury must overcome before receiving compensation under this settlement proposal. The majority of players suffering with brain injuries are not embraced within the settlement and will receive no compensation.
The revised settlement is flawed in many respects. The proposal neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players who suffer the long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely carves out certain, small and discrete groups. The majority of players who have physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments will remain uncompensated under this settlement.
Though this settlement proposal purports to generously provide financial stability for the futures of thousands of players who suffer from traumatic brain injury and its consequences, closer scrutiny reveals something entirely different. An examination of the terms and conditions of the settlement reveals a design to systematically exclude players from participation and reduce payments to the small group who meet the arbitrary criteria. It imposes unfair and illogical restrictions on the categories of compensable injuries and requires players to have participated in NFL play for excessively long periods, implicitly denying that a player can sustain a life-altering concussion after only a short NFL career. The plan is replete with complex, arbitrary, and overlapping omissions in its unwieldy and overly intricate criteria, which are then further reduced by offset for liens.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Current Affairs
Hearing needed before NFL revised settlement agreement is considered by Federal Court
The revised NFL brain injuy settlement agreement is fatally flawed. Judge Brody should hold a hearing before she even considers granting preliminary approval to the settlement.
Here are some preliminary observations that were published yesterday by my partner, Shana De Caro and myself on the Huffington Post:
The revised proposed settlement of the class action lawsuit against the NFL remains fundamentally flawed. The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players who suffer the long-term consequences of repeated concussive injury.
The foundation of the lawsuit was the deliberate and longstanding misrepresentations by the NFL and its committee on traumatic brain injury, concerning the known health risks that players confronted from repetitive brain trauma so ingrained in the game. For years, the NFL has staunchly refused to acknowledge the accumulating body of objective medical evidence revealing the risk of permanent brain damage from repeated head trauma. The NFL remained shrouded by inaccurate statements propagated by its own Committee on Mild Head Injury, including false declarations that "mild TBIs in football are not serious injuries" and that "many NFL players can be safely allowed to return to play on the day of the injury after sustaining a mild TBI." This deception imperiled professional football players and was calculated to mislead players and the public.
Today's proposed revised settlement persists in disregarding the issues that are essential to the vast majority of players that are affected. A concussion is a brain injury. A mild brain injury is only mild if it is someone else's brain. The silent majority of players who have cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments because of their reliance on the fraudulent conduct by the NFL will remain uncompensated under this settlement.
The court has an obligation to protect all players who are part of this class action lawsuit. Any settlement that fails to address the claims and interests of the majority of players should be rejected as imprudent and contrary to the best interests of the majority of class members.
The claims of the preponderance of players must be allowed to continue in order to expose the reprehensible pattern of deception and intentional misconduct committed by the league, whose control of the negotiations of this settlement, elevates profits over player safety.
Brain Injury and Sports
Soccer: Is heading the ball safe?
The increased attention this week on the World Cup has also focused renewed questions on the safety of heading the ball in soccer. The New York Times on line edition has published an interesting debate today on this issue. When to Use Your Head