Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Neuro-Data Bill Needs Your Support--Critical Action Alert

We have been requested to circulate the following action alert by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

Brain injury advocates have helped get the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act (S. 849) further than it has ever advanced in the U.S. Senate. This bill would establish a data collection system to track the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases including brain injury. Having passed committee unanimously in February, the next few weeks are critical in determining whether the Senate will bring the bill-along with other medical innovations bills-to the floor for a vote.

Email or call your U.S. Senators today to urge them to continue working in a bipartisan fashion to bring the medical innovations bills-including S. 849-to a vote. To find your Senators contact information including email address click here. Or call your Senators. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Sample Email/Script Language

As a person with a brain injury or brain injury advocate or brain injury professional and constituent, I am contacting you today to ask that you help bring the Senate's medical innovations package to the floor and vote YES on the package. The policy proposals found in this legislation are bipartisan and were passed by the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Of particular importance to people affected by brain injury and other neurological conditions and diseases is inclusion and passage of the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act (S. 849).

Emerging therapies offer promise of cures for life-threatening diseases such as brain injury, Alzheimer's, MS, cancer, Parkinson's, and others. We are on the cusp of personalized medicine that takes into account a patient's unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. We must ensure research and regulatory institutions can keep pace. This pending legislation would streamline and modernize the biomedical research pipeline, and help bring new, safe and effective treatments and cures to Americans.

I am particularly grateful that the medical innovation bill includes S. 849-which would establish a data collection system to track the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases. This system will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding aspects of neurological diseases on which we currently do not have a good grasp such as the geography of diagnoses, variances in gender and disease burden-also helping expedite our path to cures.

I respectfully request you advocate to your colleagues to bring the Senate's medical innovations package including S.849 to the Senate floor and vote YES for this important legislation.

Sincerely,

Your Name and Signature

May 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

Youth Sports Concussion Act Moves Out of Committee

Legislative News from the Brain Injury Association of America:

The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) passed the Youth Sports Concussion Act, S. 2508 out of the committee on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. The Youth Sports Concussion Act is sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and in the House of Representatives, Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. BIAA thanks Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson (D-Fla.), and Senator Udall for their leadership on moving this important piece of legislation forward.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act expressed the sense of Congress that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should review the National Academies' report on sports-related concussions and future research in such area for any matter that may impact products under the CPSC's jurisdiction or inform the FTC's efforts to protect consumers.

The bill makes it unlawful to sell or offer for sale in interstate commerce, or import into the United States for such purposes, athletic sporting equipment for which the seller or importer makes any deceptive claim with respect to the safety benefits of such an item. Violations shall be treated as unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The bill sets forth the enforcement authority of the FTC. States may bring civil actions in federal court to obtain injunctive relief on behalf of state residents unless a civil or administrative action has already been instituted by the FTC. The FTC may intervene and appeal in state actions.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act is an important piece of legislation because it will protect our nation's youth who participate in sports related activities from concussions and other injuries by discouraging false advertising claims regarding protective equipment used in competitive sports.

BIAA and NASHIA recently spearheaded a letter of support to the Senate Commerce Committee to include the Youth Sports Concussion Act in the next executive session. Thirty six organizations signed on in support of moving this important legislation through the committee process.

April 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update

The following legislative update has been prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation's oldest and largest brain injury advocacy group:

BIAA Submits Testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees This week, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) submitted testimony to the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The appropriations request includes:

TBI Model Systems

BIAA calls on Congress to Support the TBI Model System program by increasing funding by $13 million over the next six years:

  • Increase funding for the National Data and Statistical Center by $100,000 annually to allow all participants to be followed; when re-competed, increase from $625,000 to $1 million annually;
  • Increase funding for centers by $150,000 annually from the current average of $437,500;
  • Increase the number of competitively funded centers from 16 to 18; and
  • Increase the number of multicenter TBI Model Systems Collaborative Research projects from one to five, each with an annual budget of $1.5 million (current funding is $600,000 each).

BIAA also urges that the TBI Model Systems receive "line-item" status within the broader NIDILRR budget.

TBI State Grant and Protection and Advocacy Grant Programs

On Oct. 1, 2015, the HHS Secretary transferred the TBI State Grant program to the Administration for Community Living, Administration on Disabilities' Independent Living Administration and the Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Grant Program to the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Only 20 states receive TBI State grants, and all the P&A grants are severely under-funded.

  • Appropriate $9.76 million to fund the Federal TBI State and P&A Grant Programs plus an additional $1 million for the Federal TBI State Grant Program to increase the number of State grants (4 additional states) and $2 million total for the P&A Grant Program to increase the amount of grant awards.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The TBI Act of 1996, as amended, authorizes funding for data, prevention, public education and research.

  • Support CDC in its mandate to review the scientific evidence related to brain injury management in children and identify opportunities for research;
  • Support TBI national surveillance;
  • Appropriate $10 million to fund CDC's TBI programs; and
  • Support the President's Fiscal Year 2017 budget request for $5 million for the CDC to accurately determine the incidence of sports related concussions among youth ages 5-21.

BIAA Advocates to Advance the Youth Sports Concussion Act

BIAA and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) spearheaded a stakeholder letter to urge the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to include the Youth Sports Concussion Act (HR 4460/S. 2508) in the next executive session. The Youth Sports Concussion Act is sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.), co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. Thirty six organizations signed on in support of moving this important legislation through the committee process.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act expressed the sense of Congress that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should review the National Academies' report on sports-related concussions and future research in such area for any matter that may impact products under the CPSC's jurisdiction or inform the FTC's efforts to protect consumers.

The bill makes it unlawful to sell or offer for sale in interstate commerce, or import into the United States for such purposes, athletic sporting equipment for which the seller or importer makes any deceptive claim with respect to the safety benefits of such an item. Violations shall be treated as unfair or deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The bill sets forth the enforcement authority of the FTC. States may bring civil actions in federal court to obtain injunctive relief on behalf of state residents unless a civil or administrative action has already been instituted by the FTC. The FTC may intervene and appeal in state actions.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act is an important piece of legislation because it will protect our nation's youth who participate in sports related activities from concussions and other injuries by discouraging false advertising claims regarding protective equipment used in competitive sports.

April 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Latest Medical News, Brain Injury Legislative News

Concussion Research--NFL's conduct is disgraceful

I am gratified that The NY Daily News extensively covered my criticism of the NFL and its conduct. It is appalling that they could alter scientific research and should be a lesson for us all when we review these medical articles from the best doctors that money can buy.  Lawyer says $765M NFL settlement should be invalidated

March 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News

New York State Brain Injury Advocacy Day

The Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) has scheduled its first Brain Injury Advocacy Day for Wednesday, March 23 in Albany, New York.

Advocates will be traveling to Albany from all around the state to help legislators understand that many New Yorkers with brain injury need comprehensive, coordinated long-term care, and that changes proposed by the state Department of Health could lead to harmful service cuts for these individuals.

Your voice and participation in this event is important to alert your legislators to the importance of protecting the rights of victims of brain injury.

To join the Brain Injury Association of New York in Albany on March 23rd, please click here to for further information and to register.

March 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Broadcasts, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Publications, Brain Injury Rehabilitation, Current Affairs

Concussion a Good Opening Gambit

Shana and I attended an advance screening of the movie Concussion, with a group of sports writers and newscasters.  Will Smith gave a compelling performance as Bennet Omalu, and his quest to determine and understand the cause of a specific type of brain damage, later named CTE, first discovered in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Webster.  This was Omalu’s movie and his story, based on the 2009 GQ exposé, Game Brain by Jeanne Marie Laskas. This was not a documentary.

The title for the film, “Concussion” is misleading.  The film is not about concussions and the failure on the part of the league to inform players about the signs and symptoms of concussions, the need to refrain from returning to play before a player is healed, or the potential life-long consequences of a concussion.  It is a film about the work of Bennet Omalu and his efforts to understand Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Importantly the film is based upon a true story, but is not a complete story.  It is an excellent presentation of the path Omalu took and the painstaking investigation into the cause Mike Webster’s death.  Omalu’s dogged pursuit of answers led to the discovery of the connection between football and brain damage and opened the door to further research.  The movie indicated his conflict with the NFL in accepting this information, which the NFL still disputes.

This movie opens the door to a more important conversation, about trauma and brain damage that must continue.  The cinematic decisions about the portrayals of different characters and the complete omission of any reference to the Concussion Legacy Foundation in Boston, the past and current role of Commissioner Goodell and the NFL marketing department in deflecting criticism were interesting choices made by the film’s writer and director.

It was a compelling introduction for the public to the health issues generated by trauma in football.  This theme must be expanded. If this movie provokes a national conversation about the larger issues associated with all types of brain damage, from football, other sports and everyday accidents, then it has been a great public service.  It would be misleading, if however, it leaves the impression that the problems have been remedied or that the only public health concern is CTE.  This is the tip of the iceberg of the full-range of chronic life-altering effects of concussions. 

Brain injury is a chronic condition with life-long consequences.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year there are over 200,000 visits to emergency departments by children under the age of 19 suffering concussion related problems from organized sports.  Omitted from these statistics are visits to urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices, and cases where concussion is not the principal diagnosis. The CDC estimates that the accurate number is between 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports related concussions documented each year!  This is a true public health crisis.  Labeling a condition does not address treatment issues and how we, as a society, address the impact of a chronic condition that has consequences for families and society.

We applaud the efforts of all those involved in making this important film, and hope it engenders continued investigation and research into not only prevention, but improved identification and treatment options that will assist this vulnerable population.

SHANA DE CARO, ESQ. is a member of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America and immediate past chair of the American Association for Justice  Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.

MICHAEL V. KAPLEN, ESQ. is a Professorial Lecturer in Law teaching the only course in traumatic brain injury law at The George Washington University Law School, a member and immediate past chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council, three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and a past chair of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group.

DE CARO & KAPLEN, LLP is a New York based law firm with a focus on representing victims of traumatic brain injury throughout the nation.  Shana and Michael are frequently invited to lecture attorneys and public advocacy groups nationwide on the legal issues pertaining to brain injury, public health concerns and the impact of brain injury on the lives of its victims.

Shana and Michael authored the New York Law Journal expert column on brain injury law and the chapter on brain injury law in the special issue of Psychiatric Clinics of North America.    

December 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Brain Injury Association of America--Affordable Care Act Consumer Survey

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is conducting a survey to better understand
whether the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is meeting the needs of individuals with
brain injuries. If you have health care coverage through private insurance
provided by your employer or by one of the health care marketplaces or
"exchange,." click here to fill out the survey.  The survey is also under news and
announcements on BIAA's website

November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Events, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention

Concussion Legacy Foundation Awards Ceremony this Evening in Boston, Mass

I will be in Boston, Mass this evening attending the annual awards ceremony for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, formally known as the Sports Legacy Institute.  Foundation headed by Chris Nowinski has been instrumental in alerting the public to the dangers of concussion and brain damage in all sports; providing needed education on the signs and symptoms of concussions and most importantly leading efforts to keep players out when there is any suspicion of a concussion.  The group through their affiliation with Boston University also has led efforts to understand and appreciate the effects of cumulative brain trauma and its causation to a Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  Keep up the great work!

November 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act – Capital Hill Briefing

On September 16th from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Senate Russell Building, room 485, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) will be co-sponsoring a Senate briefing to discuss S. 849, Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act.

The bill would help advance neurological disease research by establishing a system to collect accurate epidemiological data  about individuals afflicted with neurological diseases.  Currently, there is no accurate account of how many people in the United States have sustained a brain injury or of the demographic characteristics of those living with disabilities as a result of a brain injury. As a result, brain injury researchers are working at a distinct disadvantage: lacking basic information about the disease.

August 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News

Brain Injury Association of America--Legislative Update

The following legislative update has been prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the nation's voice for persons with a brain injury

TBI Stakeholder Meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services

On Tuesday, June 9, BIAA staff and other TBI stakeholders met with leadership from the Department of Health and Human Services to discuss elevating the Federal TBI State Grant Program and Protection and Advocacy Program from Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

In the reauthorization of the TBI Act, which was signed into law in November 2014, discretion was given to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on which agency should administer the program.  The TBI stakeholders believe the Administration for Community Living is the proper home for the TBI program because its mission is to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan, and their families and caregivers. Individuals who have sustained a TBI need continued supports and services across the lifespan. By elevating the TBI program, stakeholders anticipate State agencies and Protection and Advocacy organizations would be better able to coordinate with and leverage programs and resources at the state and federal levels to improve services to individuals with brain injury and their families. 

In addition to the federal agency leaders and staff and stakeholder organizations, Alyssa Penna, legislative director for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who is co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, attended the meeting.

Pascrell, Rooney Amendment to Restore $25M to TBI Program Passes House of Representatives

On Wednesday, June 10, the House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Caucus, to the 2016 Defense Appropriations Act that would restore $25 million from the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research Program.  The defense appropriations bill cuts $25 million from the TBI program, representing a decrease of 20% from last year's funding level.

The Psychological Health and TBI Research Program supports the DOD Psychological Health and TBI Center of Excellence in its efforts to educate service members and their families, enhance clinical and management approaches, and facilitate other vital services to best serve the needs of our service members impacted by TBI and psychological health problems. TBI continues to be the signature injury among our nation's service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 300,000 troops have been diagnosed with mild TBI since 2000, a number that continues to increase as identification and detection methods become more accurate.

National Institutes of Health Names Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

On June 11, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., announced the selection of Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as the Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He has served as Acting Director of the NINDS since October, 2014.

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Collins recognized Dr. Koroshetz' role in the creation of the StrokeNet, a national clinical trial network for research in stroke treatment, prevention, and recovery as well as his role as point person for traumatic brain injury research at the NIH, and Co-founder of the NIH-Uniformed Services Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (TBI research center).

Dr. Koroshetz serves as co-chair of the NIH BRAIN Initiative. He was instrumental in establishing the NIH Office of Emergency Research. He is the NINDS representative to the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee; Chair of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee and the NIH Pain Consortium, and Co-chair of the Common Fund Undiagnosed Disease program.

As the new Director of the NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz will oversee an annual budget of $1.6 billion and 1141 scientists, physician-scientists, and research administrators. The Institute supports research by investigators in public and private institutions across the country, as well as by scientists working in its intramural laboratories and branches in Bethesda, Maryland. Since 1950, the Institute has been at the forefront of U.S. efforts in brain research, with studies in areas ranging from the structure and function of single brain cells to research on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and, most recently, the translational research that is helping to bridge the gap.

Before coming to NIH as the NINDS Deputy Director in 2007, Dr. Koroshetz was a Harvard Professor of Neurology, Vice Chair of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care, and a member of the Huntington's disease unit. He was also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH from 1990 until 2007. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and in both internal medicine and neurology at MGH, after which he did postdoctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department.

NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.

June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)