Articles Posted in Brain Injury

Head Trauma in College Football and Blaming NCAA for Not Knowing RisksCollege sports teams are watching what happens next, now that former football players suffering brain damage have begun suing the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) for not warning players about the associated risks of concussions that appear to be inherent in the sport. Legal experts believe new cases will be setting a precedent on the responsibility the Association holds and any potential change that might be required for college football players.

The first case that went to trial in June 2018 involved a former Division I college football player’s widow Deb Hardin-Ploetz who filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in damages against the NCAA in 2017. The plaintiff claims that the Association ignored the warning signs associated with repeated head trauma that likely caused her husband’s early demise and blames NCAA for negligence and wrongful death. Court filings show that the NCAA countered the plaintiff’s allegations by responding that her husband “voluntarily participated in the activity of playing football and accordingly assumed the risk of injury.”

While many concussion-related cases have been filed against the Association before, all of them had been dismissed, settled out of court, or put on hold while working out legal disputes. Finally, decades after the first cases were filed, there would be a case in court to show evidence to a jury that might find in in the plaintiff’s favor if they determined that the Association was at fault for the death of her husband Greg; whom played defensive tackle and linebacker positions for the University of Texas over five decades ago. Ploetz graduated from college in 1975 with a Master of Fine Arts Degree and went on to become a high school and college art teacher. However, his condition became so severe that he stopped teaching a decade ago and passed away from the long-term effects of his illness on March 11, 2015, at 66 years old.

Brain Injury DiagnoseMillions of Americans suffer from traumatic brain injuries resulting from vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, sporting collisions and other incidences. Many brain injuries produce symptoms that include memory issues, confusion, dizziness, headaches, slurred speech, comas, seizures and the inability to maintain attention.

Detecting brain injury or the severity of the injury can be challenging for doctors, especially immediately after a traumatic event to the head. Typically, physicians will diagnose a traumatic brain injury using a CT scan (computerized tomography scan) to determine the level of damage to the brain that might involve swelling, bleeding or bruising. While CT scans provide valuable information, they have significant limitations. This is because the diagnostic test lacks the ability to detect non-bleeding damage to the patient’s brain cells.

In many incidences, the victim suffering serious brain trauma will lack physical symptoms, especially if the trauma is caused by sudden impact. The patient might appear and act normally, not experience pain or show any outward signs of distress. As an example, an individual hurt in a vehicle accident might lose consciousness briefly and then regain their awareness prior to emergency responders arriving at the scene. Another example might involve an injury to an infant who has not yet learned to speak, making it challenging to know if the child is dizzy, confused or has slurred speech.

Immediate Care Makes a difference in TBIEven though many people assume that a spinal cord injury either has already ‘occurred’ after an accident or is not going to get worse, it is important to recognize that in order to achieve the maximum healing benefits following a spinal cord injury, immediate medical care is crucial. This is why it is always impossible to seek immediate attention, even if you do not believe that the trauma was severe.

Treatment of a spinal cord injury starts early

In order to give you a better understanding of why immediate treatment matters, we will go through the process that patients experiences from the moment the patient experiences the injury. After the emergency medical personnel arrive on the scene, they make their initial evaluation of the injury. After that, they will need to immobilize the patient for transportation to the hospital. It is important that ambulance professionals take the utmost care in securing a victim. Incorrect techniques could possibly exacerbate the injury.

The Glasgow Coma Scale for Brain InjuryThe Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a way for medical personnel to determine quickly to what degree a patient is comatose or conscious. The Glasgow Coma Scale is also sometimes referred to as the Glasgow Coma Score.

The history of the Glasgow Coma Scale

In 1974, Bryan J. Jennett and Graham Teasdale first developed the Glasgow Coma Scale. These neurosurgery professors remained at the University of Glasgow and made other significant contributions in the field of head trauma.

Symptoms of Brain InjuryIf someone experiences an accident, this person may have traumatic brain injuries that are not apparent right away. In fact, the problems may develop in two distinct ways according to a recent study: one involves cognitive impairment and the other involves mood and behavioral disorders.

What the study showed

According to the recent study, all of the 36 patients suffered from a combination of behavioral, mood, and cognitive disorders while cognitive impairment was almost universal amongst patients. However, close to 66% of the patients developed behavioral and mood disturbances at a younger age and passed away far younger. The remaining third of the patients primarily suffered from cognitive impairment with a later onset. This was linked to the patient dying at an older age.

Anoxic Brain InjuryMost people are acutely aware of the fact that depriving the brain of oxygen, even for a short period, could lead to serious problems. If the oxygen levels are low for approximately four minutes, brain cells are already starting to die off because of a lack of oxygen. If a person goes without oxygen for five minutes or more an anoxic brain injury may occur.

Make no mistake about it, anoxic brain injury, also called hypoxic-anoxic injury (HAI) or cerebral hypoxia is a serious, possibly life-threatening, issue. Even short-term oxygen deprivation to the brain could result in disability and/or cognitive problems. The greater the lack of oxygen for that particular patient, the more serious and widespread the injury will be.

Why our brain needs oxygen

Road to recovery for people with injury to the brainJust as no two people are identical, the type of traumatic brain injury that someone suffers is never going to be identical. For some, a traumatic brain injury leads to permanent damage while others may have some semblance of recovery. Recovery often represents a long, yet necessary road in order to help patients deal with their new issues. There are two treatments that professionals commonly refer to, the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Medical Treatment Guidelines and the Brain Trauma Foundation’s Guidelines for the Management of Severe Brain Injury. There are different stages that a patient undergoes in the recovery process.

The intensive care unit (ICU)

After the patient has undergone initial treatment at the hands of EMTs and the emergency department, a patient with moderate to severe brain injury will likely be admitted into the ICU at the hospital. The goal at the ICU is the prevention of medical crisis, medical management, and to achieve medical stability. Some preventive rehabilitation may begin at the ICU, including range of motion (a therapist moves the patient’s limbs), splinting, and body positioning. Patients in the ICU may be medically unstable, in a coma, or unconscious. During this time, the goal is to get the patient stable enough to move away from the ICU.

risk of patient falling in nursing home or hospitalToday’s senior citizen population is facing a crisis in dealing with traumatic brain injuries that are received from a variety of instances, but most of them are related to falls they’ve experienced.  For some it may be due to outdoor obstacles and dangerous situations such as a wet or icy sidewalk or driveway, or a slippery wooden deck or porch in the front of a house or place of business.  It may also be indoor situations that cause these falls such as something spilled on a linoleum floor or other objects that an elderly person might trip on.  With reports of injuries from falls increasing in recent years, someone who has an elderly relative or someone close to them may be concerned on how they can protect that person.

Decreasing the risk of elderly falling

One way to help reduce the chance of traumatic brain injury in seniors is to be sure that they know not to move themselves too quickly.  As people get older they may experience dizziness or other problems related to balance a little more frequently, and it is important that they give themselves time to stabilize if they get up from sitting down or lying down.  Another way to help decrease this risk is to make sure that there are enough support features built into places in the home such as stair railings that are not slippery or support bars in places such as kitchen counters and bathtubs or bedrooms.  If the person has even more problems getting up the stairs, getting a lift chair to go up the stairs may be something to consider placing in the home as well.  Traumatic brain injury in seniors can also be reduced by involving them in an exercise program if possible, but the proper medical experts should be consulted first before they participate in any program.

heading in soccer can be lethal to kidsThere are varieties of sports including soccer that can cause injury due to a traumatic impact. In the game of soccer, players are encouraged to perform a variety of tactical movements including “heading” where they head is used to stop or redirect the ball. In recent years, doctors have become highly concerned that repetitive hitting on the head is causing brain injury to the player.

Brain injuries are common, and usually the result of a blow to the head or through overuse of a specific body part. Unfortunately, playing soccer typically requires repeated heading to be successful at winning a game, or at practice.

Because of the head hitting repetition, soccer players are often subjected to multiple head injuries, which can eventually lead to severe trauma with lasting effects. On average, a soccer player will use their head to hit the ball up to 12 times during a game. Many times, the ball is traveling at 50 miles an hour or greater. During routine practice drills, the soccer player commonly uses his or her head to hit the ball more than 30 times.

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