Brain Injury Prevention, Brain Injury Publications, Current Affairs
CDC Updates on Traumatic Brain Injury
The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation released a special issue highlighting work from CDC and CDC’s partners to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs. These studies present a clearer picture of TBI in the United States and the progress in the field.
Some key findings include:
• Online Training Effectiveness: CDC and the National Federation of State High School Association’s concussion course online was effective in increasing concussion-related knowledge across a wide range of individuals.
• Sports and Recreation TBI: About 7% of all sports and recreation-related injuries treated in United States emergency departments were TBIs.
• Data Sources: New sources of TBI-related data on emergency department visits and hospitalizations will improve the ability to examine subpopulations most at risk for TBI.
• Unemployment: About 60% of people (ages 16 to 60) who were discharged from inpatient rehabilitation following a TBI between 2001 and 2010 were still unemployed two years after their injury.
• Motorcycle TBI death: Motorcycle crash patients with a TBI were 3 times more likely to die in the emergency department compared to those without a TBI.
You can review the special issue of the Journal by clicking here .
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Team Physician: Legal Liability for Concussions and Brain Injury
I am honored to be able to address The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 83rd Annual Scientific Meeting on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
I will address this prestigious group of neurosurgeons on their role and legal responsibility for concussion and brain injury upon assuming the role of a team physician for youth sports.
My presentation is part of a half day special session “Neurosurgeon Team Physician” designed to provide an introduction for practicing neurosurgeons to become involved in the care of athletes in their community. Presenters will discuss topics such as concussion diagnosis and management, pre-participation screening for neurologic conditions, sideline and game management, how to work with athletic trainers and other sports medicine providers and spine and peripheral nerve problems in athletes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 248,418 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. emergency departments (ED) for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI. From 2001 to 2009, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries rose 57% among children (age 19 or younger).
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention
NY Times Editorial--Parents Need to Make Important Decisions When It Comes to the Risk of Head Injury and Brain Damage
Today's New York Times contains an important editorial on the silent dangers of concussions while engaged in any contact sport. http://snip.ly/Bwhl
Here is a portion of that editorial:
Beyond the pro game, the decision by Mr. Borland to quit after one season to protect his health should be carefully noted by parents of the hundreds of thousands of youngsters eager to play each year at the peewee, high school and college levels. Research published in January in the medical journal Neurology found that former professionals who started playing before the age of 12 performed “significantly worse” in mental dexterity tests than those who began tackle football later, according to a study by the Boston University School of Medicine. Even in the absence of diagnosed concussions, high school players showed measurable brain changes after just a single season of tackle play, according to a separate study last December by the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Prevention
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.
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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.
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Class Action Lawsuit Commenced by Parents for Soccer Concussions
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!
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Prevention, Brain Injury Publications
Centers for Disease Control Concussion App
CDC's Heads Up app helps parents and others learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of a concussion and explains what to do if they think their child or teen has a concussion or other serious brain injury. The app also includes information on selecting the right helmet for an activity and other detailed helmet safety information.
Download the CDC Heads Up Concussion App by clicking here
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Sports Concussion Summit-Listen this Sunday when I share my thoughts with Bob Salter on WFAN
Last Thursday, I joined President Obama at the White House for his Summit on Youth Sports Concussions. I will be discussing my thoughts about the new sports concussion initiatives and the need for comprehensive federal legislation this Sunday morning at 7 AM with Bob Salter on WFAN Radio 66 AM, 101.9 FM You can listen to a live stream of my interview on Sunday by clicking here.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Legislative News, Brain Injury Prevention, Current Affairs
The White House Concussion Summit-No Quick Fixes Please
I had the honor and privilege to be a participant in yesterday’s White House Sports Concussion Summit.
President Obama’s inaugural concussion summit presented a watershed moment in validating and tackling the public health crisis of the long term hazards posed by concussions in sports and its ramifications. The President’s opening remarks were very encouraging and he deserves credit for bringing everyone together around this issue. Unfortunately, the momentum was lost when the panelists shifted the focus to protection of sporting activities from the negative publicity associated with brain injury rather than protection of players.
The White House Summit on sports was an opportunity to embrace a uniform national protocol comprehensively tackling the multi-dimensional issues related to sports concussion management. It is critical to avoid preventable brain injuries and manage the brain injuries that unfortunately but inevitably occur. Though many coaches and parents fear the over-protective label, they have justification for their safety concerns.
Contrary to the perspective of the panel, brain injury is not a simple event with a simple solution. One only need listen to the many young adults who suffer permanent disability in the pursuit of athletic participation. No one is suggesting a ban on athletic activities. Yes, concussions happen. It is part of the game, but we must implement initiatives to reduce the risk of injury, and prevent, preventable injuries.
This national summit on the public health crisis of sports related brain injury missed an important opportunity to set forth a meaningful agenda and address the needs of the millions of individuals who have sustained a brain injury both on and off the playing field.
Increased government funding is crucial for continued meaningful and targeted research on prevention, diagnosis and treatment and much more will be necessary in our efforts to comprehend the complexities of traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury affects 5.2 million Americans. Government initiatives must extend beyond the athletic fields and focus on all aspects of this silent but burgeoning epidemic. A brain injury is not a passing illness. The lifelong cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of this condition affect every aspect of the victim’s life. A brain injury can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere, and unfortunately, it does. A national proposal attempting to prevent, reduce, and treat brain injury must be comprehensive in scope.
There are those who might have another agenda, not entirely focused on public health. Multi-billion dollar enterprises, such as the NFL, have been jeopardized, and its image tarnished by mushrooming liabilities and the trickledown effect on college and youth sports. The league might have other motivation in joining this project. The NFL employs marketing masterminds to control the public’s perception of concussion risks. The league’s “Heads Up Football” tackle program attempts to convince parents that football can be made safe. Football is a concussion delivery system. While it is beneficial to improve and require “safe” tackling procedures, there is no empirical evidence supporting the position that changing the tackle rules will either reduce the rate or decrease the severity of concussions.
Pixie dust solutions only work in fairy tales. The dangers of concussions remain constant. A concussion is a brain injury: a significant event with potentially life-altering consequences.
Doubtless NFL monetary contributions to fund brain injury research are beneficial. These funds must not be allowed to subtly influence the outcome of that research. When the fox supervises the chicken coop, the outcome becomes predictable. The NFL’s proposed settlement of the pending mass injury lawsuit is a perfect example of the league’s duplicity. No settlement funds have been committed to players who continue to suffer the long-term consequences of the post-concussive syndrome. Despite overwhelming medical evidence, the league steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that a concussion can cause life-long consequences. Those who control the flow of funds, and research, must be vigilant to be impervious to outside influences and any invisible strings that might be attached to the money.
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White House Sports Concussion Summit
The White House has announced that President Obama will hold a summit on youth sports and concussions on May 29th at the White House entitled, The White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together young athletes, academics, parents and others to raise awareness of traumatic brain injuries in our nation’s youth as a result of sports.
According to a press statement, the administration will announce new commitments by the public and private sectors to raise awareness among athletes, parents, coaches, schools and others on how to identify and treat concussions and to conduct research to help understand how sports-related concussions affect young athletes.