Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 28, 2016 3:24:00 PM

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are serious incidents which usually occur when a person’s head violently hits an object or is violently rotated (such as in the case of whiplash). A severe traumatic brain injury can lead to injury, long-term physical and cognitive disabilities, and even death. Around 1.7 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries every year in the United States.

Traumatic Brain Injury

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While the causes of TBIs are diverse, the CDC tracks causes as best as possible. According to the CDC, each year sees approximately:

  • 595,095 fall-related TBIs
  • 292,202 TBIs related to auto collisions or other traffic incidents (including those involving bikes and trains)
  • 279,882 struck by/against events
  • 169,447 TBIs from unknown causes
  • 155,255 TBIs from other miscellaneous causes

Not all causes of TBIs are equally likely to lead to fatalities. The largest percentage of TBI deaths comes from auto accidents. However, whether they are fatal or not, brain injuries are among the most serious injuries that people can sustain. If you are involved in an accident of some kind, stay alert for any signs of traumatic brain injury. If you have suffered a TBI, contact our brain injury lawyers to get any legal questions answered.

Topics: Concussion

How a Class Action Lawsuit Made Contact Sports Safer

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 13, 2016 6:30:00 PM

NFL_Settlement-treated-square.jpgMedical research in the 1990s and 2000s examined whether concussions (especially repetitive concussions) could result in cognitive impairment years later. Former football players developed dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease years or even decades before the average age in the general population. Researchers named these losses Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), formerly known as “punch-drunk.” CTE can only be diagnosed after death through an autopsy of the brain. Retired football players may develop cognitive defects associated with CTE.

The NFL disputed any link between football and cognitive losses. Anapol Weiss shareholders Larry Coben and Sol Weiss filed the first class action against the NFL, seeking to hold the NFL accountable for cognitive defects. Other lawyers filed similar lawsuits. At first, public opinion favored the NFL. As additional research emerged, public perception shifted in favor of the players. Football leagues, along with leagues for sports like soccer, lacrosse, and hockey, have instituted significant safety policies for head injuries. The NFL now admits the connection between head trauma and cognitive injuries. The NFL concussion case has settled and deserving players will soon begin to receive money from a generous settlement fund.

The NFL made 39 rule changes since 2010 to prioritize player health and safety. The NFL has instituted extensive concussion protocols. It poured tens of millions of dollars into research on and technology for brain injuries. The following examples demonstrate how the lawsuit pushed the league to take responsibility for its players.

Rule Changes

The NFL has made strides in actually changing the rules of the game to increase safety for players. While the changes have been many, the following few examples demonstrate the shift. In 2013, the NFL instituted a new rule to prohibit runners and defenders from hitting other players with their helmets when they are outside the tackle box. As of 2015, if an offensive player attempting to catch a ball that has been intercepted, the interception team may no longer hit the offensive player in the head or neck. These rules seek to protect the most vulnerable part of the athletes (their brains) without detracting from the techniques of the game.

Concussion Spotters

In 2011, the NFL put independent certified athletic trainers, or “concussion spotters,” into place at every football game. The concussion spotters were tasked with watching the game to find any player who may have suffered from a concussion. In 2015, they were further empowered with the ability to actually stop the game, using a medical timeout, if they see a player exhibiting signs of a concussion on the field.

Although the presence of concussion spotters is certainly progress, they are still unable to identify every potential concussion and stop the game for testing. Too often, they wait until the end of a play to call a medical timeout. Sometimes, players even hide symptoms of concussions because they themselves do not want to come out of the game. NFL rules have changed, and slowly so has the culture of prioritizing health. Players are now aware of the dangers of concussions and sub-concussive hits, so they stay off the field longer and some even retire earlier. The NFL education policy about the long-term dangers of concussions is another benefit from the litigation.

Trickle-down Effect

While the NFL was the specific target of litigation, the lawsuit has had far-reaching effects on the culture of the entire football community in the US, including at the college, high school, and childhood levels. Even the youth football league Pop Warner made changes in response to concussion research and litigation. As of 2012, Pop Warner prohibited full speed head-on blocking or tackling between players of more than three yards apart. They also mandated that only one third of practice time may involve contact. In 2013, the National Federation of State High School Associations Football rules committee instituted rule changes to protect players whose helmets have come off during a game.

Football is an inherently aggressive contact sport, but certain regulations and practices can drastically limit the amount of serious injuries that players receive to the brain. The lawsuit has pushed the NFL to proactively change their laws and their culture, making real change for the players of today and the future. It forced them to recognize that they were destroying the very people that make the NFL what it is: the players.

Check out other Anapol Weiss blog posts about the dangers of concussions both on and off the football field.

Topics: Concussion

Six Important Facts about Concussions

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 25, 2016 11:30:00 AM

A concussion is a dangerous injury that requires medical attention right away. Below are six important facts about concussions to remember in case you or someone you love sustains a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

Recognizing concussion sysmptoms

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1. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI refers to a brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a blow to the head.

2. Not all concussions involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, only a very small percentage of people who sustain a concussion lose consciousness. Some of the most common signs of a concussion include confusion, forgetfulness, clumsy movements, personality changes and other concussion symptoms.

3. Another concussion can be deadly or cause permanent injuries if the first one hasn’t healed yet. Second impact syndrome is a rare but potentially fatal condition that can result after a second concussion occurs while the brain is still healing from a previous concussion.

4. Children may have different symptoms than adults, and they often take longer to recover.

5. Athletes with a concussion should be cleared by a doctor before returning to play, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

6. There are certain signs of a very serious problem after a person suffers a bump, blow or jolt to the head. These include one pupil larger than the other, drowsiness or inability to wake up, worsening headache, slurred speech, and more. These signs could point to a hematoma, or a dangerous collection of blood on the brain.

Coaches and other professionals who are responsible for others’ care must be diligent in protecting concussed children and adults from suffering worse injuries. When they fail to do so, it’s the concussion victim who suffers the consequences. Contact our brain injury lawyers for assistance if you or someone in your care has suffered from serious medical problems due to the failure of others to follow proper concussion guidelines. 

Topics: Concussion

Youngsters More Susceptible to Concussions, Need Greater Monitoring

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 13, 2016 3:30:00 PM

A new concussion study published online by JAMA Pediatrics has reported that in a small study of sports-related concussions among youth, high school and college American football players, return to play after a reported concussion was much earlier for younger players – often less than 24 hours.

The study looked at a total of 1,429 concussions reported by athletic trainers in more than 200 programs at the youth, high school and college level from 2012 through 2014. The data appears to have been skewed with the observation that concussions during games were most common in college players, followed by youth players and then high school players. The concussion rate reported in practices was much less for all three levels.

Most players at all levels were sidelined for at least a week. About 20 percent of high school players spent at least a month away from the sport, versus 16 percent of youth players and seven percent of college players. While less than one percent of high school players returned less than 24 hours after injury, five percent of college players and 10 percent of youth players returned in this amount of time.

The research findings suggest a need for more medical supervision including concussion diagnostics for children, the study’s lead author told ABC News. Much of the attention on sports concussions has focused on college-level and professional football. However, the authors explained that more research and prevention efforts are needed at all levels, especially for young players.

Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussions

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signs of traumatic brain injury and concussion 

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Anapol Weiss Shareholder Larry Coben, leader in the NFL concussion lawsuit and the first Chairman of the Institute for Injury Reduction, explains that this latest study continues to conflate data to suit other studies’ goals.

"While we do not question the data," Coben said, "the only true conclusions that should be drawn from these data are as follows: younger players are more susceptible of suffering concussions and need greater monitoring during and after an injury."

Symptoms that may prove a player has suffered a concussion include:

  • Appears dazed or confused
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets sports plays
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality change
  • Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can't recall events after hit or fall

If you observe any of these signs, be sure to inform your medical provider. 

In many cases, concussion management consists primarily of requiring the individual to rest, and sometimes restricting them from physical and cognitive exertion. During this time of recovery, it is important to avoid the activities that require excessive brain activation, which may include texting, spending a prolonged time on the computer, listening to loud music, and so on. 

"Whenever an athlete is suspected of suffering a concussion, the last thing to do is let he or she return to sports in 24 hours," Coben said. Instead, a strict medical protocol must be followed to ensure players do not sustain further injuries that could have life-threatening consequences.

Topics: Concussion

Appeals Court Affirms NFL Concussion Settlement

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 19, 2016 12:53:01 PM
 NFL_Lawyers.png
 Anapol Weiss Shareholders Sol Weiss and Larry Coben

As leaders in the National Football League (NFL) concussion litigation, Anapol Weiss Shareholders Sol Weiss and Larry Coben are proud to announce that the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has, in a unanimous decision, affirmed Judge Brody’s opinion and approved the settlement reached between injured players and the NFL.

“This settlement will provide nearly $1 billion in value to the class of retired players,” the Court said in the 69-page ruling. “It is a testament to the players, researchers, and advocates who have worked to expose the true human costs of a sport so many love.”

Click here to read the full document.

Weiss and Coben are hopeful that the initiation of the NFL concussion settlement process will begin soon. While there is a chance the objectors will seek further appellate review, thereby delaying the benefit application process, the attorneys remain optimistic.

In 2011, Weiss and Coben filed the first of the federal concussion lawsuits in Philadelphia. Weiss serves as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in the litigation, and Coben serves as a member of the Executive Committee.

 

Topics: Concussion

Living with Traumatic Brain Injury after a Motor Vehicle Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 16, 2016 11:30:00 AM

After broken bones, lacerations and other visible auto accident injuries heal, a serious head injury can continue to impact a person’s mental and emotional health for years to come. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects millions of people every year, and many cases are linked to automobile-related incidents. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI cases that occurred in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010.

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TBI disrupts the brain’s normal function. It is typically caused by a sudden and violent blow to the head or an object that penetrates the skull. The severity of a TBI may range from mild (called a concussion), to severe – which may be followed by an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss, according to the CDC.

A person can sustain a TBI during a crash when the head hits the steering wheel, windshield or something else inside the vehicle. Trauma can occur even if there is no open wound in the head, as the sheer force of the collision can cause the brain to strike the interior of the skull. This can cause brain bruising and/or bleeding, which may not be detected without a physician’s diagnosis.

Long-term deficits caused by TBI, according to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, may include:

  • Behavioral changes: Sufferers may have difficultly with appropriately expressing emotions. They may experience agitation or combativeness as well as issues with anxiety and depression.
  • Cognitive deficits: Those with a TBI may experience changes in their ability to complete tasks as well as changes in reasoning, problem solving and learning new things.
  • Communication impairments: Unusual difficulty may arise with spelling, reading and writing.

Responsible parties must be held accountable when their negligence leads a person to sustain a TBI. Anapol Weiss has successfully represented many adults and children who suffer from the long-term effects of a brain injury after an auto accident. If it happened to you or a loved one, we can help.

Contact our firm for assistance if your injuries were caused by someone else’s carelessness. We can investigate the situation and answer your questions.

 

Topics: Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury

Underscoring TBI Complications during Brain Injury Awareness Month

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 2, 2016 11:30:00 AM

TBI_Awareness.jpgAbout 137 people in the U.S. die every day as a result of a TBI-related injury. To help raise awareness and reach out to those living with the effects of TBI, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in observing March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.

This year’s campaign theme is “Not Alone,” which provides an educational platform about the incidence of TBI and the needs of those affected. The campaign also aims to “… de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.”

TBI is associated with serious and often permanent health problems. Possible TBI complications, according to Medscape, may include the following:

  • Posttraumatic seizures after moderate or severe TBI
  • Abnormal gait
  • Agitation
  • Hydrocephalus: excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain
  • Blood clot conditions such as deep vein thrombosis
  • Heterotopic ossification: the abnormal presence of bone in soft tissue
  • Spasticity
  • Gastrointestinal and genitourinary complications

Long-term physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments are the factors that most commonly limit a person’s reintegration into the community and employment. These issues include:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Insomnia
  • Posttraumatic depression, anxiety, substance abuse, aggressive outbursts, and an impaired ability to regulate emotional expression
  • Posttraumatic headache ranging from tension-type to migraine-like headaches

Complications are not limited to health-related effects, however. The BIAA urges that many people are additionally affected when someone sustains a brain injury. These people include the survivors’ immediate family, spouses, extended family and friends. Further, healthcare providers, insurance companies, educators, employers and others can also be affected.

TBI can forever change patients’ lives and the lives of those around them. When a preventable TBI results from another person’s carelessness, those responsible must be held accountable. Contact our firm for assistance if you or someone in your care sustained a brain injury caused by negligence. We can investigate the situation and answer your legal questions.

 

Topics: Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury

The Causes and Challenges of Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 12, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of injury, disability and death in the U.S. and affects millions of people every year.

TBI is a contributing factor in about 30 percent of all injury-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When a TBI isn’t fatal, resulting effects – such as impaired thinking, movement, sensation and/or emotional function – can linger for a few days, or they can become lifelong disabilities.

traumatic_brain_injury.jpgA person can sustain a TBI when the head violently hits an object or when the head is violently rotated from impact to other parts of the body (like when a whiplash occurs). TBI symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the extent of the brain damage that occurs.

Common causes of TBI include:

  • Falls
  • Unintentional blunt trauma
  • Motor vehicle-related incidents
  • Violent assaults
  • Sports injuries

TBI-related disabilities depend on the severity and location of the injury as well as the age and overall health of the individual, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Those who have TBI-related disabilities are not the only ones who are affected – consequences can result in all aspects of a person’s life. In addition to affecting relationships with family and friends, TBI complications can affect a person’s ability to work, drive, and/or complete everyday tasks.

Many cases of TBI result from the negligence of others or a defect in a product. When these preventable injuries leave a person with lasting health problems, those responsible must be held accountable. Contact our firm if you or someone in your care sustained a TBI as a result of someone else’s carelessness. We can investigate the situation and answer any legal questions you may have.

 

Topics: Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury

What Does a Concussion Look Like?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 4, 2016 3:30:00 PM

A person can sustain a concussion any time he or she suffers a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that results in a quick movement of the head.

It’s important that coaches and teammates look out for these injuries and any signs of a concussion that may subsequently occur.

A player who sustains a concussion may appear dazed, confused or stunned, according to a concussion guide created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A concussed player may also be unsure or forgetful of the game, score or opponent.

concussion_symptoms.jpgMoving clumsily, answering questions slowly and losing consciousness – even briefly – are all indications of a concussion. Any changes in mood, behavior or personality or an inability to recall events could also mean a player has suffered a concussion. Concussed players may complain of the following:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Poor vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Feeling “down” or not “feeling right”

The CDC recommends that athletes who experience one or more concussion symptoms after sustaining a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body be removed from play. Further, he or she should be kept out of the game until a health care professional, experienced with concussions, says they are symptom-free and ready to return.

It’s important that coaches and others responsible for players’ well-being are proactive in protecting concussed players from getting hurt worse. When they fail to do so, athletes can be left with permanent and life-threatening injuries. Contact our firm for assistance if you or someone in your care has suffered from serious injuries due to the failure of others to follow proper concussion guidelines.

 

Topics: Concussion

The Potentially Deadly Effects of Second Impact Syndrome

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jan 21, 2016 11:27:17 AM

Second impact syndrome is a rare but potentially fatal condition that can result after a second concussion occurs while the brain is still healing from a previous concussion. Second impact syndrome involves brain swelling and bleeding that leads to permanent brain damage or death. It can occur up to several weeks after a concussion diagnosis, according to an article by the University of Washington Medicine.

second_impact_syndrome.jpgSymptoms of second impact syndrome are similar to concussion symptoms, but may also include:

  • Failure of the lungs to contract and breath normally
  • Unequal size of the eye's pupils
  • Coma
  • Personality changes

It’s important to protect athletes from second impact syndrome. According to an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, players who experience one or more concussion symptoms after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body should be immediately removed from play and kept out of play until a health care professional – one who is experienced in evaluating concussions – says they are symptom-free and clears them to play.

The dangers of football concussions, particularly in high school, have been specifically highlighted in the media due to the increased danger of second impact syndrome and permanent brain damage in adolescent athletes. However, a 2013 survey found that nearly all high school football players know the risks of returning to play with concussion symptoms, but more than half said they would “… always or sometimes continue to play with a headache sustained from an injury.” It is therefore incumbent on those responsible to enforce concussion guidelines to protect all players from traumatic brain injury.

Athletes of all ages are suffering potentially lifelong impairment from second impact syndrome, and it’s completely avoidable. Contact our firm for assistance if you or someone in your care has suffered from second impact syndrome due to the failure of others to follow proper concussion guidelines.

 

Topics: Concussion

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