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New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Waiver Program--Important Meeting
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) is continuing its efforts to transition participants in the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver Program into managed care and the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program. The Health Department continues its efforts despite wide spread opposition from TBI Waiver participants and other stakeholders including the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
The transition has serious implications for all TBI Waiver participants and may jeopardize their continued eligibility or the types of services they receive.
A workgroup meeting has been scheduled by DOH for Wednesday March 1, 2017 10:00 am -12:00pm, but an agenda has not been announced. [nothing like waiting to last moment to surprise everyone, but typical of the attitude of the Health Department to persons with a brain injury]
Stakeholders are invited to either attend in person in Albany at the Office of the Division of Long Term Care: One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, room 1613, or via webinar/conference call.
To participate by webinar or call you must first register.
- Click here
- Then Click "Register".
- On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit".
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Current Affairs
NFL Players Must Register to be Eligible for NFL Settlement Benefits
The federal judge presiding over the NFL concussion settlement case at a hearing earlier this week reminded players that they must register for the settlement by August 7th to be eligible for any benefits. Awards cover ALS, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and some deaths for players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The settlement does not provide any cash benefits for those players suffering with the post concussive syndrome, but players should still register and be tested to be eligible for benefits if their conditions worsen. Registration information is available by at the official settlement website
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Brain Injury Association of America Submits Amicus Brief Today to United States Supreme Court To Reject NFL Concussion Settlement
I am pleased that the amicus brief that Shana De Caro and I wrote was submitted today on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America to the United States Supreme Court in support of the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to reject the NFL class action concussion settlement.
"This action, commenced for the multi-faceted repercussions of brain damage as a result of longstanding NFL misconduct, fails to compensate the majority of players who have suffered the devastating and enduring effects of traumatic brain injury. The court has an obligation to protect the entire class based upon well-researched, recognized, and cogent medical science. Any settlement that does not, should be rejected as unfair and contrary to the best interests of the majority of class members."
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Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Update
The following legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).
Protection and Advocacy for Veterans Act
Members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Task Force on Veterans and Military Families submitted a letter of support last Friday to Representatives Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Timothy Walz (D-Minn.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), sponsors of H.R. 5128, the "Protection and Advocacy for Veterans Act." H.R. 5128 would establish a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure veterans receive proper support in the areas of mental health and substance use. As a member of the CCD Task Force, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) signed the letter.
NIH Pediatric Concussion Workshop
On Oct. 13-14, 2016, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring a Pediatric Concussion Workshop to bring together experts in the field of pediatric concussion to present their most recent findings. The goals of this workshop are to: (1) identify gaps in knowledge about pediatric concussion, (2) identify high priority areas of research in pediatric concussion, and (3) identify populations and study designs that will prove most feasible for addressing knowledge gaps. The workshop will be held at the North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Participating NIH institutes are the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR); National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, known as the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center (NICHD); and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). For details, click here
CDC Report on Guideline for Managing Mild TBI
The Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), an advisory board to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), met last week and accepted the mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) workgroup report prepared for Congress. The BSC recommended that CDC move forward with developing the mTBI guideline. More information on the public comment period for this guideline will be forthcoming as that process gets further underway. The TBI Act Reauthorization of 2014 directed the CDC, in consultation with the National Institutes of Health, to conduct a review of scientific evidence related to brain injury management in children and to submit a report to Congress in 2016. CDC's Injury Center is expecting to release the report around the annual Congressional Brain Injury Task Force Awareness Day in March. Click here to review the report.
Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Legislative News, Current Affairs
Important action alert from the Brain Injury Association of America concerning the Americans with Disability Act
The following alert has been issued by the Brain Injury Association of America concerning proposed amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Axt:
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury Latest Medical News, Brain Injury Prevention, Current Affairs
Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury
Injuries from domestic violence can result in brain damage to 60% of domestic abuse victims according to research published in the journal Family and Community Health. You can read more by clicking here.
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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.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Current Affairs
Roger Goodell Jokes About Concussions
A concussion is a brain injury. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should know better.
Concussions are no laughing matter. Read my sentiments in this New York Daily News Article.
Brain Injury & Concussions, Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Brain Injury Prevention, Current Affairs
NFL influences Sony in Production of Concussion Movie
The NY Times reports this evening that they have discovered Wiki leaks showing how the NFL pressured Sony to alter their upcoming film, Concussion which documents the discovery of the link between professional football and the development of CTE. Rad the full article Sony Altered ‘Concussion’ Film to Deter N.F.L. Protests, Emails Show
Unless the NFL is placed under oath, the public will never know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what the NFL knew and when they knew it.
Brain Injury and Sports, Brain Injury Association Information, Brain Injury Lawyers and Law, Current Affairs
NFL Concussion Litigation: Brain Injury Association of America Files Amicus Brief With Third Circuit Court of Appeals
My partner, Shana De Caro and I are honored to have submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the NFL concussion litigation explaining the science of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and the misconceptions inherent and relied upon by the District Court in the settlement agreement.
We hope that the information and authorities we have provided will assist the Court in reexamining the settlement terms in proper context and set the agreement aside in the interest of all retired NFL football players who have sustained brain injury.
Founded in 1980, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the oldest, largest, non-profit, nationwide brain injury, advocacy organization. As the leading advocate for all victims of brain injuries, BIAA has an interest in ensuring this settlement fairly considers all brain-injured players for whose benefit this action was commenced. BIAA seeks to provide the Court with unbiased, accurate information regarding consequences of traumatic brain injury and protect the integrity of traumatic brain injury scientific research.
From the amicus brief submitted on behalf of the Brain Injury Association of America:
“The settlement neither recognizes nor compensates the majority of players suffering long-term consequences of brain trauma, but merely rewards certain, small, discrete groups. The vast majority of retired football players experiencing physical, emotional, and behavioral impairments following repetitive concussions remain excluded and uncompensated under settlement terms. In the interest of expediency, the District Court relied on self-serving submissions of counsel, which unjustifiably categorized the vast majority of brain injuries as not being “serious” or unrelated to repetitive head trauma, ignoring the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the causes and ramifications of traumatic brain injury.”
“The settlement, as approved by the District Court, is faulty in many respects, including but not limited to : 1- failure to consider subtle differences and distinctions of developing brain damage not immediately apparent; 2- omission of mild brain injury; 3- failure to compensate recognized physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive sequelae of concussion; 4- exclusion of well-recognized categories of presumptive brain injury; 5- failure to provide meaningful benefits for cognitive impairment; 6- arbitrary compensation distinctions based upon years of play and age; 7- implicit disregard of overwhelming medical evidence that one concussion can precipitate life-long consequences; 8- an illusory benefit failing to account for required Medicare and Medicaid lien offsets; 9- insurmountable neuropsychological testing criteria; 10- ignoring physical, emotional, and behavioral impairment undetectable by the settlement’s testing protocol; 11- overemphasis on malingering tests; and 12- failure to consider alternate testing modalities, such as diagnostic imaging.”
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 at The George Washington University Law School teaching the only course on traumatic brain injury law in any US law school and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.
Shana and Michael are partners in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP