Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Pinterest
Youtube
Instagram
Latest News
 
EventsAbout UsAbout Brain InjuryBrain Injury & SportsHelmetsNews & Information
Latest News

Head injuries the most serious injury when kids are on wheels

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   August 10, 2011 22:39

Safe Kids Canada: Helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by 85 per cent.

Toronto, Ontario – May 31, 2010 – With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, the number of kids enjoying wheeled activities like cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding and scootering is about to rise. But before hitting the streets this year, parents need to know one key thing: helmets save lives. Various injuries can occur from a fall, but the most serious are those to the head. Head injuries can often lead to death for kids on wheels – particularly in those children not wearing helmets. According to a Safe Kids Week research review, helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 per cent.

The benefits of wearing a helmet during wheeled activities have long been touted by injury prevention experts. According to Transport Canada, in 2007 alone, over 1,000 children under the age of 15 were injured while riding their bikes. Other serious injuries include broken bones, facial injuries and serious skin abrasions that require grafts. Traumatic brain injuries account for eight per cent of emergency room visits by cyclists, four per cent of visits for both skateboarders and in-line skaters and six per cent of emergency room visits for injuries related to scooter riding in children under 19, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“Serious head injuries are most often caused by falls; even seemingly minor incidents may cause short or long term brain damage,” says Pamela Fuselli, executive director of Safe Kids Canada, the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children. “A child’s skull is only one centimeter thick and is easily fractured by a fall - even at slower speeds. When kids are on wheels, wearing a helmet can save their lives.”

Children riding bicycles are more likely to be admitted to hospital with an injury, but according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, traumatic brain injuries account for four per cent of emergency room visits for skateboarding and in-line skating related injuries, and six per cent of emergency room visits for scootering related injuries for children under 19.

According to a new Leger Marketing/Safe Kids Canada survey on helmet safety, more than a third of parents polled (35 per cent) say they are not concerned about their child having a cycling-related injury.
Cap off your wheeled activities with a helmet

Children are most likely to get hurt when they are beginners and just learning how to ride; when they ride or skate near cars and traffic; when they do not use safety gear and when they go too fast or try stunts.

“It’s important to select a helmet which is approved for the activity you’re doing,” says Dr. Charles Tator, neurosurgeon and founder of ThinkFirst Canada, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries. “Bicycle helmets are good for people on bicycles, scooters and in-line skates, but skateboarders need a different helmet that protects the back of the head.” A less obvious, but equally important, difference between bicycle and skateboard helmets is in the construction. “Bicycle helmets are intended to offer the best protection against a single, forceful crash, after which it must be replaced,” Dr. Tator explains, “but skateboard helmets don’t offer this kind of protection. They work best against multiple, less intense impacts most common in skateboarding. So wearing the right helmet for the right activity really can make a difference.”

Become a ‘Roll’ Model

Most parents (73 per cent) say their child always wears a helmet when cycling. But when it comes to setting an example, both mom and dad could brush up on their helmet use. Overall, 31 per cent say they never wear a helmet when cycling.

“One of the best ways to get kids to wear their helmets when riding or gliding is by setting a good example,” reminds Fuselli. “Children who see their parents wearing helmets while cycling or gliding are more likely to wear their own helmets on a regular basis.”

Making headway with new laws

Head injury rates among child and youth cyclists are approximately 25 per cent lower in provinces with helmet laws, compared to those without. Currently Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Territories do not have mandatory bicycle helmet legislation for children under 18.

“We believe there should be a harmonized approach to helmet use for Canadian children,” adds Fuselli. “We’re advocating for helmet legislation for children in Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Territories to ensure all Canadian children are protected equally.”

The majority of Canadians polled (90 per cent) support legislation that mandates bicycle helmet use by children riding on public roads, and 81 per cent support legislation that mandates bicycle helmet use by children and adults. Almost two thirds of Canadian parents (63 per cent) consider helmet legislation as important as seatbelt legislation.

Top five tips to protect your child’s head

  • Ensure your children wear a helmet every time they ride.
  • Get the right kind of helmet. Choose a bicycle helmet for cycling, in-line skating and scootering. Skateboarders need a special skateboarding helmet that covers more of the back of their head.
  • Ensure the helmet fits your child. The helmet should rest two finger widths above the eyebrow. The side and chin straps should be snug.
  • People of all ages should wear a helmet when they ride. Remember: You are your child’s best role model.
  • Children under 10 should not ride on the road. They do not have the physical and thinking skills to handle themselves safely in traffic. Children over 10 need to practice before they can ride on the road.

Today marks the start of the 2010 Safe Kids Week – Got Wheels? Get a Helmet! – which runs from May 31 – June 5, 2010 and is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson.

Spokespeople across Canada

Safe Kids Canada has local expert spokespeople in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver who are available for interviews.

Got Wheels Get a Helmet Pamphlet
Safe Kids Canada and Johnson & Johnson are offering a free educational pamphlet on helmet safety for parents and caregivers. Visit www.safekidscanada.ca to download your copy.

About Safe Kids Canada
Safe Kids Canada’s mission is to lead and inspire a culture of safety across the country in order to reduce unintentional injuries, the leading cause of death among children and youth in Canada. As a national leader, Safe Kids Canada uses a collaborative and innovative approach to develop partnerships, conduct research, raise awareness and advocate in order to prevent serious injuries among children, youth and their families. Our vision is Fewer Injuries. Healthier Children. A Safer Canada. Safe Kids Canada is the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children. Across Canada, Safe Kids Canada partners are conducting Got Wheels? Get a Helmet! events this week, educating families on helmet safety. To learn more about Safe Kids Canada and child safety, visit www.safekidscanada.ca or call 1-888-SAFE-TIP.

About Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor of Safe Kids in North America (Canada, U.S., and Puerto Rico), and in 17 other countries around the world. The company also sponsors Safe Kids Week, Safe Kids Canada’s largest annual public awareness program designed to help reduce the frequency and severity of preventable childhood injuries, the leading cause of death and disability of Canadian children. Caring for the world, one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson embraces research and science - bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Employees of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world. Johnson & Johnson has more than 250 operating companies in 57 countries around the world, employing 115,500 people and selling products in more than 175 countries. Johnson & Johnson worldwide headquarters is in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Tags:

News

Donated CFL brains show concussion-related disease

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   August 7, 2011 12:44

Two of the four deceased CFL players whose brains were donated to the Canadian Sports Concussion Project suffered from a neurological disease linked to concussions, preliminary results show.

The brains of Bobby Kuntz, Jay Roberts, Peter Ribbins and Tony Proudfoot, who all suffered from repeated concussions, were examined as part of the project at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre in Toronto Western Hospital.

The results show that Kuntz and Roberts suffered from a neurological disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an abnormal buildup of a protein in the brain.

Kuntz, a former linebacker for the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Roberts, an Ottawa Rough Riders tight end, also displayed other degenerative changes.

"While both of these men appeared to have pathological signs of CTE, they also suffered from other serious neurological and vascular-related diseases," said Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a neuropathologist who performed the autopsies.

The study, the first of its kind, was conducted at Toronto Western by a collection of concussion experts, including Dr. Charles Tator, Dr. Richard Wennberg and scientists from several other Canadian institutions.

Patients who suffer from CTE can experience memory impairment, emotional instability, erratic behaviour, depression and problems with impulse control. The condition can also advance into dementia.

"There are still so many unanswered questions surrounding concussion and the long-term consequences of repeated head injuries," Tator said. "We are trying to determine why some athletes in contact sports develop CTE and others don't, as well as how many concussions lead to the onset of this degenerative brain disease Also, we need to develop tests to detect this condition at an early stage and to discover treatments."

Kuntz died in February 2011 at age 79 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and diffuse Lewy body disease — a condition that overlaps with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Roberts, 67, passed away in October 2010 after suffering from dementia and lung cancer.

The results from the autopsies done on Ribbins and Proudfoot did not show signs of CTE. Ribbins, a receiver and defensive back with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, died at age 63 of Parkinson's disease. Proudfoot, an all-star defensive back with the Montreal Alouettes, lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) this year at 61.

Dr. Hazrati emphasized the exact link between concussions and neurodegeneration need to be examined by further research.

"Right now we have more questions than answers about the relationship between repeated concussions and late brain degeneration," he said. "For example, we are still trying to understand why these two players acquired CTE and the other two did not."

Ribbins and Proudfoot played in an era when tackling by leading with the helmet was common. Known as a hard-hitting defensive back during his 12-year career, Proudfoot experienced repeated head trauma, according to the CFL's Alumni Association.

Mary Kuntz, wife of the late Bobby Kuntz, believes more players who donate their brains for research will help athletes in the future.

"We've always had questions about Bob's health, because there were so many conflicting medical opinions," she said. "We knew there must have been some effect from all of the concussions over the years, and this was an affirmation that concussions did have a part in his health problems.

"Young players should know the risks of concussions. When you are young, you can't believe what can happen to you when you are older, but we have lived though it. What is good about this study is that there will be more evidence and information for players."

"We were very happy to be involved in this and it has brought us a sense of closure."

Jay Roberts's son Jed and his sisters recognized the earlier signs of their father's memory loss after he recounted the same stories.

"My dad had numerous concussions, although they were undocumented, and I think he knew there was something was wrong, which is why he wanted to help find answers that would hopefully protect future football players," said Jed, a former CFL player with the Edmonton Eskimos. "I think it is really important that we create awareness around this issue, so that players can live healthy, productive lives beyond the game."



Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/story/2011/07/26/sp-cfl-players-study.html#ixzz1UN0MOGn3

 

Source: http://bit.ly/nJU47l

Tags:

News

Sask. needs safety culture

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   August 4, 2011 16:55

For a province with a small population, Saskatchewan seems to frequently be among the national leaders, but not always in a good way.

As some recent figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and from the province's Workers Compensation Board reveal, whether at play or work, Saskatchewan residents are among the leaders in Canada when it comes to paying a heavy price through wholly avoidable injury or death.

For instance, propelled in part by Saskatchewan's newfound wealth that allows families to buy bigger and faster toys, and in part by some ingrained recklessness that contributes to riders eschewing basic safety gear such as helmets and eye protection, and forgoing so much as a safety course in handling high-powered equipment, this province has become a national leader in ATV injuries over the past decade.

Lagging only the richer, and apparently higher risk-taking Albertans, Saskatchewan rocketed to an ATV injury rate of 22.1 per 100,000 residents in 2009-10, according to CIHI, compared to nine injuries per 100,000 in 2001-02.

Among the problems involved with curbing reckless and/or inebriated riders is the fact that Saskatchewan is lone among the provinces in not requiring the registration of these vehicles, which makes it tougher to report offenders even if it's to save their lives.

The agency released its findings just before the August long weekend because summer holidays are the prime time for injuries not only from ATV-related events but also from other outdoor leisure activities, with falls and collisions involving bicycles the most common.

While horrific ATV injuries can range from broken bones and nerve damage to paralysis, predominantly involving young men aged 15 to 24, bicycle-related injuries in young people under age 20 are by far the most common, accounting for almost half the hospital admissions from recreation-related events.

Even though head injuries from bicycle accidents can have a permanent and debilitating impact, Saskatchewan cities have yet to follow the lead of places such as Vancouver and implement mandatory helmet use laws.

Rather than treat helmet use as a case of individual responsibility, it's time that the provincial government took the lead in sending a strong message by mandating their use. While the decline nationally in head injuries among cyclists during the past eight years as the number of injuries remains fairly constant suggests that more people are wearing helmets, even one serious brain injury prevented by mandating helmet use is worth the effort. And with Saskatoon having among the highest proportion of cyclists per capita in Canada, such a law is bound to pay dividends by preventing some heart-wrenching injuries.

The objective necessarily isn't to punish offenders as much as it's to make it part a safety culture in a province that sorely needs an attitude adjustment on safety.

After all, despite a decades-long law on seatbelt use, the number of injuries and deaths involving unbuckled motorists, especially in rural areas and on reserves, remains depressingly high.

As the WCB's annual report keeps noting year after depressing year, even though Saskatchewan is making gains in reducing workplace injuries, our rate remains near the top of injury rankings at nearly twice the national percentage.

None of these are areas where Saskatchewan wants to lead Canada. Let's leave that to our universities and athletes.

 

Source http://bit.ly/nDcKex

Tags:

News

Why are so few adults wearing bike helmets?

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   August 1, 2011 20:55

 

Every day in Canada, 36 people end up in hospital from bicycle injuries. That rate hasn't changed much in the last decade, according to new data. But even with more kids wearing helmets when they cycle, the number of adults who insist on riding helmet-free holds stubbornly steady.

Data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information show that the number of Canadians ending up in hospitals from bike accidents remained fairly unchanged between 2001 and 2010 -- about 4,300 a year.

The number of cycling-related head injuries decreased significantly in that decade: from 907 to 665. But among the most severe injuries -- those ending up in trauma units -- 78 per cent were not wearing a helmet.

"That data suggest that perhaps helmets are helping and it is a shame that people are not hearing the message about wearing helmets," says Claire Marie Fortin, CIHI's manager of clinical registries.

When CTV News cameras headed out to some popular cycling trails in Toronto, it wasn't hard to find adults who weren't wearing helmets.

"Why didn't I wear a helmet? Because I am a fool. I don't think it will happen to me," cyclist Kevin Boland said.

Another cyclist said he doesn't wear a helmet out of convenience, because he doesn't like taking the helmet on and off. Others told us helmets were too uncomfortable.

Across Canada, many provinces have laws requiring kids under 18 to wear helmets when cycling. But only four -- British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- require all cyclists to protect their heads with helmets.

"Some of our provinces have zero legislation even for children can you believe that?" says concussion expert Dr. Charles Tator of Toronto Western Hospital.

"So we have a big job to do to convince our legislators and to convince the public that we should have comprehensive legislation right across the country for bicycles, scooters and inline skates and on our road."

But it is a tough battle. The British Medical Journal has just published a survey showing that two thirds of its readers voted against mandatory bike helmets -- and many of those readers would have been health care workers.

In Vancouver, where bike helmets are mandatory, there are plans for a legal challenge of the helmet law that's scheduled for mid-August. Many of those fighting the law say making helmets mandatory infringes on their rights.

Some even call the law discriminatory against cyclists, noting that drivers who are also at risk in an accident don't have to wear helmets. They note there are only a few hundred hospitalizations for head injuries among cyclists. By comparison, in 2004, there were close to 6,000 hospital admissions for head injuries in car crashes.

The cyclist who is challenging the law argues in his court filings: "Bicycle helmet legislation is discriminatory as it applies, with demonstrable justification, only to individuals who ride bicycles without being equally applied to individuals who drive automobiles or walk."

With a report from CTV's medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

 

Source: http://bit.ly/pKD2Kp

Tags:

News

Head injury dementia link

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 25, 2011 17:15
A study conducted by researchers at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and the University of Pennsylvania is thought to be the first to find a physical abnormality in the brain tissue of people who have had a head injury.

A previous link had been established between dementia and sports where repetitive blows to the head are common, such as boxing and football.

However, this study has revealed a similar link with people who have suffered other kinds of head injury.

Dr William Stewart, head researcher of the Glasgow team said: "We know from clinical studies that there's a link between sustaining a head injury and developing dementia, and what we're interested in is trying to understand what might be happening in the brains of these patients," reported the BBC.

The link was established when researchers examined the brain tissue from 39 people who had recovered from a brain injury, and 39 people who had never had a brain injury.

Abnormalities were found in one third of those who had had an injury.

Dr Stewart said: "What's quite remarkable, and causing much excitement, is that the patients who'd had a head injury had quite large numbers of proteins – or abnormalities – in their brain.

"That's very similar to what we'd see in older patients and, in particular, people with Alzheimer's, yet these patients were in their 40s and 50s and the only thing which marked them apart from the control group was that they'd had a head injury."

Significantly, the study suggests a brain injury could kick-start a process in which the brain is damaged in other ways. Dr Stewart hopes that this finding will lead to further research to uncover how and why dementia develops.

"Part of the challenge in dementia is that a lot of the work we do is with people who already have it.

"What we don't understand is how they get to that stage and what sets off the process in their brain. What we might be able to do is to study patients after a head injury and work out what's happening inside their head."

Veterans study

A large study on older veterans has raised fresh concerns about mild brain injuries and concussions that hundreds of thousands of troops have suffered in recent wars.

The studies, reported at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in France, challenge the current view that only moderate or severe brain injuries put people at a higher risk of dementia.

The veterans study was led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Dr Kristine Yaffe, a University of California professor and director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the Medical Centre who led the study said: "It's by far the largest study of brain injury and dementia risk. It's never been looked at in veterans specifically."

As reported at yahoo.com, researchers reviewed medical records of 281,540 veterans who got care at Veterans Health Administration hospitals from 1997 to 2000 and had at least one follow-up visit from 2001-2007. All were at least 55 and none had been diagnosed with dementia when the study began.

As the dementia risk is more common with age, the large number of cases studied was needed to compare those with and without brain injuries.

Records showed that 4,902 of the veterans had suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, ranging from concussions to skull fractures. Over the next seven years from 2007, more than 15 percent of those of those who had suffered a brain injury were diagnosed with dementia versus only 7 percent of the others. Severity of the injury made no difference in the odds of the developing dementia.

Despite evidence that even a concussion or a mild brain injury can put you at risk, said Laurie Ryan, a neuropsychiatrist who used to work at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, William Thies, the Alzheimer's Association's scientific director told people not to panic, as this doesn't mean that every soldier or student athlete who has had concussion is in danger. He said: "Pro-football players and boxers "are almost a different species from us" in terms of enduring repeated blows they take to the head."

Tags:

News

Governor General and Mrs. Johnson have become patrons of BIAC

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 24, 2011 12:08

OTTAWA – The Brain Injury Association of Canada is proud to announce that Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, have agreed to be Patrons of the organization. The board, volunteers and staff of the Brain Injury Association of Canada are very honoured by this timely announcement, prior to our Annual Conference in August in Prince Edward Island. "We are particularly pleased that the Governor General and Mrs. Johnston have agreed to be Patrons of the Brain Injury Association of Canada. The Governor General's vocal recognition of the value of volunteerism and philanthropy to the quality of Canadian communities is important to the brain injury community. Active support of volunteering and philanthropic giving are key contributions to our nation’s social, cultural, and economic prosperity makes this a strong partnership," said Harry Zarins, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Canada.

In an instant a life is changed, forever. Every day we participate in activities that produce endless risks for sustaining a brain injury: car accidents, a fall from a bike, or a blow to the head. It is estimated that thousands of Canadians incur a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as a concussion, each year, the majority being young adults. Statistics indicate that the incidence of brain injury is two times greater in men. The Brain Injury Association of Canada (BIAC) strives to raise awareness of the incidence of acquired brain injury (ABI) in Canada.

A brain injury may make it necessary for the injured person to require full time assistance. Families often become the primary caregiver and support person. Many families are left to cope on their own. They sometimes have little understanding of the effects of the injury and the demands that will be made of them by an injured family member. Families need support from others who understand the effects of acquired brain injury.

The Brain Injury Association of Canada (BIAC) provides a shared forum for the support of both families and survivors. BIAC also advocates for the enhancement of support services. Prevention through public education, and safety legislation is the key to the reducing the occurrence of ABI amongst Canadians. The Brain Injury Association of Canada engages in extensive public education initiatives through its many local community associations across Canada. Neuroscience and injury prevention research is another key to addressing ABI. The Brain Injury Association of Canada endeavours to support and promote research in Canada and internationally.

At the founding meeting in July 2003 in Montreal, members from brain injury associations from across Canada, representing survivors, families, medical and research professionals identified the need to create the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Our mandate is to improve the quality of life for all Canadians affected by acquired brain injury and promote its prevention. BIAC is dedicated to the facilitation of post-trauma research, education and advocacy in partnership with national, provincial/territorial and regional associations and other stakeholders. BIAC is incorporated as a national charitable organization under the Canada Corporations Act and the Canada Revenue Agency.

 

SOURCE: www.biac-aclc.ca

Tags:

News

Former NFL players: League concealed concussion risks

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 24, 2011 12:01

 

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players' brains but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010.

The players "did not know the long-term effects of concussions" and relied on the NFL to protect them, the suit says.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant the football equipment maker Riddell Inc., which has been the official NFL helmet brand since 1989.

"For decades, defendants have known that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression and (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and its related symptoms," says the 86-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.

"This action arises from the defendants' failure to warn and protect NFL players such as plaintiffs against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions. This action arises because the NFL defendants committed negligence by failing to exercise its duty to enact league-wide guidelines and mandatory rules regulating post-concussion medical treatment and return-to-play standards for players who suffer a concussion and/or multiple concussions."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday night that the league had not seen a copy of the suit but would "vigorously contest any claims of this kind."

Riddell declined to comment, issuing a statement saying only, "We have not yet review(ed) the complaint, but it is our policy to not comment on pending litigation."

NFL to require sideline test after head blows

The 75 former players accuse the NFL of engaging in "a scheme of fraud and deceit" by having members of the NFL's Brain Injury Committee "deny knowledge of a link between concussion and cognitive decline and claim that more time was needed to reach a definitive conclusion on the issue."

"When the NFL's Brain Injury Committee anticipated studies that would implicate causal links between concussion and cognitive degeneration it promptly published articles producing contrary findings, although false, distorted and deceiving, as part of the NFL's scheme to deceive Congress, the players and the public at large," the suit says.

"The defendants acted willfully, wantonly, egregiously, with reckless abandon, and with a high degree of moral culpability," the former players charge in court documents.

The suit notes that in 1994, the NFL studied concussion research through funding the NFL Committee on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The committee's published findings in 2004 showed "no evidence of worsening injury or chronic cumulative effects" from multiple concussions, the suit says. In addition, in a related study, the committee found that "many NFL players can be safely allowed to return to play" on the day of a concussion, if they are without symptoms and cleared by a doctor.

However, "it was not until June 2010 that the NFL acknowledged that concussions can lead to dementia, memory loss, CTE and related symptoms by publishing (a) warning to every player and team," says the suit.

"The NFL-funded study is completely devoid of logic and science. More importantly, it is contrary to their (the NFL's) Health and Safety Rules as well as 75 years of published medical literature on concussions," according to the suit, which asks for a jury trial and damages.

Even when the warning was issued, the NFL did not warn any past players, including the plaintiffs, or the public of "the long-term brain injury caused by concussions," the suit says.

"By failing to exercise its duty to enact reasonable and prudent rules to protect players against the risks associated with repeated brain trauma, the NFL's failure to exercise its independent duty has led to the deaths of some, and brain injuries of many other former players, including plaintiffs," the lawsuit says.

Film aims to show NFL's culture of playing on

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative, dementia-like brain disease linked to repeated brain trauma. The disease has been found in the brains of 14 of 15 former NFL players studied at the Boston University School of Medicine Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy as of May.

They include former Chicago Bears safety David Duerson, 50, who shot himself in the chest in February, leaving behind a note requesting that his brain be donated for study.

His widow, Alicia, said Wednesday that she had mixed emotions about the lawsuit. The Duersons weren't part of the lawsuit, according to court documents.

"I truly believe the NFL must have known on some level because there were always doctors present, you know, with these guys," Alicia Duerson said. "But I guess the other part of me is saying the 12 families who have lost their loved ones and their husbands or father that did have CTE, I feel like we're the families who they probably needed to help in this lawsuit as well.

"Dave would approve of it, I think, because he did want his brain donated, and he felt there was a problem with his brain, and he felt because of all the blows he took to his head that it caused him to have this problem," she said. "So David sacrificed his brain so they could research and develop and get better safety procedures and stuff like that for the NFL and for future football players.

"The final days of his life, it was very difficult for him because he was such a brilliant man, and he was very gifted, and for him to forget simple things like directions or having to write things down constantly and reminders for himself ... he was aggravated a lot," she said.

Former NFL player suffered from brain disease

Another player who showed signs of brain damage was former NFL defensive lineman Shane Dronett, who committed suicide at age 38 in 2009. His family said this year that Dronett's symptoms, which began in 2006, included bad dreams that eventually came nearly nightly, along with fear, paranoia and episodes of confusion and rage.

A wide variety of information on the subject -- including the first case of "punch-drunk" boxers, published in 1928 -- has been available to the league over the decades, the suit alleges.

In June 2007, the NFL scheduled a concussion summit because of congressional scrutiny and media pressure, the suit says.

"Unfortunately, the NFL in keeping with its scheme of fraud and deceit issued a pamphlet to players in August 2007, which stated: 'there is no magic number for how many concussions is too many,'" the suit says.

During hearings by the House Judiciary Committee in October 2009, U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-California, "analogized the NFL's denial of a causal link between NFL concussion and cognitive decline to the tobacco industry's denial of the link between cigarette consumption and ill health effects," the lawsuit says.

A brain with chronic traumatic encephalopathy contains dense clumps of a protein called tau, which is associated with repeated head traumas -- concussions or subconcussive hits -- that are not allowed to heal. The disease can also diminish brain tissue and is associated with memory loss, depression, impulsive behavior and rage.

The NFL was founded as the American Professional Football Association in 1920 and changed to its current name in 1922, the suit says. By 1924, there were 23 franchises in the league, court documents say. In 1970, the American Football League, which operated from 1960 to 1969, merged with the NFL.

The lawsuit didn't specify a monetary figure for compensatory and punitive damages.

 

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/n8xOzY

Tags:

News

Reseachers creating a safer helmet

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 12, 2011 09:02

Researchers at the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said they have developed commercial smart football helmets that measure the force of blows to the head.

Research initiatives to make players safer on and off the field have been in development for the past decade at many universities, including Wake Forest University, UNC Chapel Hill and Virginia Tech. All have worked on the development of helmet sensor technology to help detect traumatic head injuries.

The research is focused on future helmet design and rules to limit head trauma exposure and assist trainers, coaches, doctors and players for evaluation of a possible injury and to identify or rule out possible concussions.

Dr. Daryl Rosenbaum, the lead researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, who is conducting research on traumatic brain injury, said the helmets can help identify players who have taken a hard hit and prompt immediate real-time evaluation for signs of a concussion rather than waiting for the player to notice something is wrong.

The smart helmets are far from making their way into high school athletics in North Carolina. The average price for a Riddell, Schutt and Nike adult football helmet can range from $200 to $300. Rosenbaum said the smart helmets would cost schools an additional $150 to $300 more per helmet.

"We have submitted a proposal to Toyota to fund the use of helmet sensor technology in local high schools in order to study the effects of football-related head trauma. We just had the system installed at Wake Forest University and used the helmets during spring training," Rosenbaum said.

Don Steelman, the assistant athletic trainer for Wake Forest University football, said the wireless system provides real-time readings from impacts from the helmets.

The system is pretty easy to use. The sensors have a threshold that will set off an alarm when a player takes a hit, notifying the coach which player may be at risk, Steelman said.

"I think the research will help protect players by helping to develop better helmets but also help us identify players who are not learning the proper way to play," Steelman said.

The state has taken a step toward dealing with head injuries among players.

On June 16, North Carolina joined 20 other states to enact legislation directed toward concussion education for interscholastic sports. The Gfeller-Waller Act is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of head injuries and puts decisions about whether a player should return to the field in the hands of a medical professional. The bill is named for two high school students from the state who died on the football field due to head-related injuries.

The same week the legislation passed, the National Organizing Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) approved three research grants worth $500,000 and reapproved a $610,000 grant voted on last winter for traumatic brain injury research. The Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences receives no money from NOCSAE for their research and is funded through private donations.

Professor Stefan Duma, the researcher who developed the accelerometer technology as well as a comparative test for football helmets using a five-star system, has been the primary force behind the development of this type of technology for past eight years.

Having recorded over 1.5 million head impacts since Virginia Tech's 2003 football season, Duma said a better way to have improved safety is through newer helmets.

"This system can benefit anyone who wears an adult helmet. High school, college, NFL; it's all the same."

The research has helped to build better helmets that slow the acceleration of the head when it takes a hit, said Duma.

"The biggest reason why it helps is that we can quantify exactly how players are hit by a physician, by the level, how often, how hard and by what direction. Since we know the exposure that allows us to develop and design better equipment and that's where it's really critically important," Duma said.

Since releasing his helmet rating system, Duma said many helmet manufacturers have come out with better helmets that help to slow the acceleration of an impact. Duma said he is strongly encouraging schools to change to newer helmets.

Not everyone thinks helmet sensors are the answer to preventing head injuries.

"Helmets are not going to prevent concussions," said Dr. Fred Mueller, director of the National Center for Sports Injury Research at UNC Chapel Hill. "If you had an athletic trainer in every high school and middle school in the state, it would help a lot. The problem is the funding is just not there."

Tags:

News

Cyclists deaths raises helmet law debate

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 6, 2011 08:19

 

LONDON, Ont. - It happened twice in one day this week, an unusually deadly toll for this region.

The deaths of two adult cyclists, neither wearing safety helmets, raises the question: Should Ontario's bicycle helmet law -- only kids are covered now -- be extended to make the head protection mandatory for adults?

While it's tough to say whether a helmet would have saved the life of Jonathan Valenta, 21, who died Monday of injuries following a collision on a country road, London police said a helmet would likely have saved the life of a 53-year-old local man who fell and struck his head on the pavement following a collision in the city's east end.

Ontario's law requires only cyclists under age 18 to wear the helmets, so both men were within the safety law.

But the London police point man on traffic safety, Sgt. Tom O'Brien, says he thinks now is a good time to consider amending provincial laws about protective headwear.

"When these laws were legislated, roads weren't so busy -- not as many cars. It may be time for the government to step in and make (helmets) mandatory for everyone like they did with seatbelts, when people said it was (their) choice to wear them," O'Brien said, adding a serious injury can affect anyone regardless of age.

If your unprotected head hits something hard, that in and of itself, regardless of the collision could kill you."

Even if a cyclist not wearing a safety helmet survives a collision, the risk of serious, life-limiting injuries shouldn't be forgotten, warned Ruth Wilcock, executive director of the Ontario Brain Injury Association.

"They could have a catastrophic injury -- anything from having memory loss, to being in a coma or a vegetative state . . . and brain injury is the leading case of death and disability for those under the age of 45," she said.

"Studies have shown wearing a helmet reduces the severity of injury by 88%, if it doesn't completely avoid the injury."

Wilcock said she also thinks the province should consider changing the helmet law.

"It would be helpful if the law would make (adults) wearing helmets mandatory. Some people still wouldn't wear them, like some don't wear seatbelts, but more would comply."

Ontario's bike helmet safety law began more than 20 years ago, when longtime former London MPP Dianne Cunningham -- amid calls from injury-prevention groups -- introduced a private member's bill to make the helmets mandatory. One of Cunningham's sons had suffered severe head injuries as a teenager from an automobile accident.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/qEQYtI

Tags:

News

Attached is the July 2011 issue of About Brain Injury newsletter

posted by SK Brain Injury    |   July 5, 2011 12:35

Tags:

News