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Entries in mild brain injury (2)

Tuesday
Nov102015

Cruise Line Hit Big for “mild” Head Injury

Injury AttorneyBrain Injury Attorney

 

by Thomas Cecil

(818) 907-3292

 

A major cruise line was hit with a $21 million dollar verdict after a passenger was struck in the head by an automatic sliding door. As reported by a local Seattle television station and shown on security video, the passenger was struck on the right side of his head as the door attempted to close as he walked through the doorway.

In the video, the passenger is seen grabbing his head and seemingly shaking off the blow. Unfortunately, the passenger suffered what is known as a “mild” traumatic brain injury, a “closed head” injury more commonly called a concussion.

As reported in the story, the injured passenger developed post concussive syndrome which caused a cascade of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness and social withdrawal. A successful businessman’s career and family life was forever changed by what appears to be an undramatic blow to the head. So what actually happened?

According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.

A “mild” brain injury can be a misnomer. The CDC stresses that concussions need to be taken seriously as the damage can be life altering.

According to the CDC, there are generally four categories of symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury, including:

traumatic brain injury

Mild traumatic brain injuries are oftentimes overlooked and difficult to diagnose because the injured person looks otherwise healthy and the brain damage does not show up on standard imaging such as CT scans and conventional MRIs. Notes the CDC,

Diagnosing MTBIs can be challenging as symptoms of MTBI are common to those of other medical conditions (such as post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression, and headache syndromes), and the onset and/or recognition of symptoms may occur days or weeks after the initial injury.

Although most people recover in a matter of days or weeks, a concussion can have long-term complications, “affecting thinking, sensation, language or emotions. These changes may lead to problems with memory, communication, personality changes, as well as depression and the early onset of dementia.” 

According to the television report, the injured cruise ship passenger suffered from one of the potential complications of concussion known as post-concussion syndrome or PCS. PCS is typified by attention and memory problems with symptoms of fatigue, sleep disturbance, headache, dizziness, irritability, affective disturbance, apathy, or personality change lasting more than three months (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). A small minority never recover and are known as the “miserable minority” or “walking wounded.” 

The tragedy with the cruise ship passenger is that his injury was preventable. According to the report, the cruise line had known about the malfunctioning door which had struck other passengers but it failed to take reasonable steps to correct it. A $21 million dollar damage award undoubtedly provides the incentive to protect its passengers more carefully.

Thomas Cecil is a Brain Injury Attorney at our firm. Contact him via email: tcecil@lewitthackman.com, or by phone: (818) 907-3292.

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Friday
Feb272015

Head Injuries: Protecting Players in Youth Sports

Personal InjuryConcussion Injury Attorney

 

 

by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230

 

A recent study by the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention revealed this: Coaches who underwent training by USA Football's Heads-Up Football program are better equipped to prevent player injuries.

In fact, youths playing for these trained coaches were 34 percent less likely to sustain concussions during practice and 29 percent less likely during a game. Researchers studied players on 100 teams playing in 10 leagues in several states. Though the youth football study did not factor in the types of helmets worn, independent physicians confirmed whether or not the players sustained concussions.

Youth Sports InjuriesESPN Poll: 87% parents polled concerned about youth sports injuries; 80% with coach behavior.

A more controversial study of 42 retired National Football League players by Boston University found that participants who began playing football before age 12 performed significantly worse in tests measuring verbal IQ, reasoning/planning, and memory loss. (Critics claim the sample size was too small – and that those tested played youth football from the 1960s through the 1980s when rules for safety and equipment were less strict.)

That being said, there's been a lot of talk recently about the effects of injuries, particularly head trauma, in both youth and professional sports. Mostly the discussion centers on football – but soccer, skiing, and other activities can prove equally dangerous when kids aren't supervised well, and when they lack the proper safety equipment.

According to USA Today, emergency rooms most commonly treat young athletes for strains and sprains, followed by bone fractures, and then contusions. Concussions are fourth on the list of common sports injuries for kids, but they can be the most damaging in the long run.

What's being done to minimize the risk of sports injuries for our kids?

Youth Sports: Tackling Safety in California Laws

Sports Injury LawyerAn existing California law covering all scholastic sports is already on the books. Education Code §49475 mandates that student athletes suspected of having a head injury will immediately be removed from athletic activities for the remainder of the day, and not be permitted to return until cleared by a licensed health provider. Students who do have concussions must complete seven day or longer graduated, return-to-play protocols.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2127 last July, which amended §49475 and added Education Code §35179.5. The new regulations limit high school and middle school football teams to two, 90 minute, full-contact practices per week, to be held only during the pre-season and regular seasons. The new law specifically prohibits full contact football practice during the off-season.

When Helmets and Sports Laws Fail

The laws above regulate scholastic sports, but other athletic organizations that operate outside of the academic realm are facing serious personal injury litigation.

Here in California, the national Pop Warner league is being sued for teaching players to tackle "head first", which technique the claimants allege have resulted in catastrophic spinal cord injury. The league had rules banning that type of tackle, but claimants allege Pop Warner failed to ensure the coaches complied with the rules. In this case, the tackler was 13 when he sustained his injury in 2011, and is now a quadriplegic.

In another suit filed in Wisconsin, a mother of a 25 year old who committed suicide alleges her son's concussions sustained while playing Pop Warner football led to post-concussion syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Pop Warner isn't the only organization facing litigation.

A class action lawsuit filed by parents and players against the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA, an international governing body of soccer), U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization was filed in a California district court last summer because of the way these organizations deal with concussions.

The suit does not seek financial damages. It seeks an injunction to force FIFA and the other leagues to change the way they deal with concussions. FIFA has guidelines to prevent and treat concussions, but does not have actual rules, much less any enforcement of such.

Given the rising concern over sports injuries by parents and players over the last few years, hopefully FIFA and other sports organizations will soon take heed.

 

Andrew L. Shapiro is the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him by phone: (818) 907-3270, or by email: ashapiro@lewitthackman.com

 

Disclaimer:
This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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