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January 27, 2015

TBI in Sports

TBI In SportsSports are an excellent form of both recreation and physical fitness for adults and children alike. Unfortunately, with all of the benefits of sports also comes the risk of injury. Athletes suffer many different types of injuries on a regular basis, including sprains, strains, fractures, and more. One common sports injury that can have long-lasting complications for athletes is a traumatic brain injury (TBI).[1]

TBI is defined as damage to part of the brain caused by an external mechanical force that results in brain dysfunction. Brain dysfunctions from a TBI often result in the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Balance and coordination issues
  • Agitation
  • Memory issues
  • Challenges in oral and written communication
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Slurred speech
  • Depression

As you can imagine, these symptoms can often have a profound effect on a TBI victim’s life.

Brain Damage

In sports, such forces that can cause TBI may include getting hit by an object (such as a bat or a ball), physical contact with another player, hitting your head on the ground, or even getting jolted so the brain shakes inside your skull. TBIs can range from relatively minor concussions to severe trauma that causes permanent disabilities. Any type of brain injury should be properly diagnosed, treated, and monitored. Some TBI victims require extensive treatment due to 

Once you have received one TBI—even a minor one—your chances increase of receiving subsequent brain injuries with even the slightest contact. Repeated brain injuries[2] can lead to serious cognitive and physical dysfunction and also to medical conditions down the road. This is, unfortunately, common with athletes who often return to playing sports following recovery from a TBI.

Every athlete or parent of a young athlete should be aware of the specific situations that most commonly lead to TBI in sports. The following is some information regarding TBI risks for athletes.

Not having appropriate safety equipment

If you are playing a contact sport, you should always have the proper safety equipment to keep all of your body parts adequately safe. Having the correct helmet is especially important to protect you from TBI. For example, baseball batters should always wear a special batting helmet in case a pitch would hit them in the head. Additionally, hockey players should always wear helmets in case they fall and their head hits the ice or they are knocked into the boards. Protective head gear is perhaps most important for football players because of the constant risk of contact with other players, tackles, and dangerous hits. If you play a sport and do not have the adequate safety equipment or have a defective helmet, your risk of TBI greatly increases.

Failing to medically assess athletes on the field

Brain Injury In SportsMany times, when athletes bump their heads, they simply wave it off and continue to play. However, in  many situations, the signs and symptoms of a concussion are not noticeable for a few hours or even days. If a player does not get medically assessed following any type of trauma to the head, he or she may continue to play with damage to the brain, which can be highly dangerous and can lead to a much worse TBI if another hit to the head should occur. Additionally, players who may have a concussion may be disoriented and less coordinated without even realizing it, which may increase the odds of contact, falling, or other events that may cause more head trauma. Any coach or team medical specialist should stop play immediately and insist that a player undergoes a medical evaluation after any type of blow to the head. If they fail to do so, they are increasing the chances of TBI among their athletes.

Allowing athletes to return to play after a TBI

Like any other type of injured athlete, players who have suffered a TBI are generally eager to return to their sport. Likewise, coaches are often impatient to have valued players return to the field, especially in professional sports. However, returning to play following any type of TBI should happen gradually, generally following the following steps:

  • Full physical and cognitive rest while the athlete is still experiencing any type of signs or symptoms.
  • Once symptoms have cleared, an athlete should begin to exercise—but not yet participate in full play—and gradually increase the physical intensity. An athlete should stop and return to rest if any symptoms reoccur.
  • The athlete should undergo another medical evaluation and receive clearance from a medical professional to return to play.
  • Return to playing the sport.

If an athlete returns to playing a sport too quickly and receives another blow to the head, the resulting TBI can be much more severe with longer-lasting symptoms than the original injury.

Encouraging physical contact and rough play

Part of sports is entertaining the spectators, especially on the professional level. Professional sports franchises want to fill stadiums and, therefore, want the game to be exciting and intense. This is generally the reason why the National Football League (NFL) wants thrilling tackles and hits to occur, as well as why the National Hockey League (NHL) allows the players to fight, including multiple punches to the face and head.

However, in recent years, both the NFL[3] and the NHL[4] have faced legal claims from former players regarding the long-term effects they have suffered due to repeated TBIs. Some of the conditions the players have suffered due to permanent brain damage following their careers include the following:

The lawsuits not only claim that the leagues encouraged rough play, but also that the NFL specifically gave players harsh painkillers and other pills so that they would return to play after a blow to the head. The claims also allege that both leagues downplayed the long-term risks of multiple TBIs.

Traumatic brain injuries can be very harmful, so every athlete should be aware of the risks of TBI in sports and should take steps to protect themselves.

[1]http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302
[2]http://news.osu.edu/news/2014/11/16/danger-of-repeat-head-injuries-brain%E2%80%99s-inability-to-tap-energy-source/
[3]http://nflconcussionlitigation.com/
[4]http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/10787862/retired-players-file-class-action-lawsuit-nhl-targeting-concussions-violence
[5]http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp
[6]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945234/

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December 17, 2014

Can I Sue after a Bar Fight?

broken nose after fightMany people flock to bars, restaurants and nightclubs to relax and have a good time. Unfortunately, while you are trying to enjoy yourself, there are other people who may have too much to drink or who simply want to start trouble. For this reason, fights commonly break out in such establishments and thousands of people sustain injuries on an annual basis from such assaults. Common injuries from bar fights often include facial injuries, head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and more.[1] Some of these are serious and will require extensive medical care in order to physically recover. The good news is that innocent bar fight victims can generally recover financially, as well, by filing a premises liability lawsuit.

Who is liable?

The first person who can be held liable for your injury-related losses is your assailant. Though it is likely he will also face criminal charges, those proceedings and punishments are completely separate than your case. You must consult with a Philadelphia personal injury for assistance in filing your own claim in civil court. If you can show that the assault was intentional, you have the legal right to recover for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

In addition to the instigator of the fight, you may also bring a claim against the bar or other establishment in which the altercation occurred. In order to recover from the establishment, you must show that the bar was negligent and that negligence led to the fight and your injuries. Like any other premises, bars have certain duties, which include the following:

  • Duty to keep the property reasonably safe for patrons and visitors
  • Duty to refuse to serve alcohol to already intoxicated patrons (under dram shop laws) [2]
  • Duty to provide security necessary to keep customers safe

If a bar continues to serve an intoxicated patron and that patron starts a bar fight, the bar should be liable for the losses of the injured party. Additionally, if a bar does not have adequate security for the usual clientele and the lack of security leads to the failure to stop a fight, the bar can be found responsible. Acting quickly after a fight can help to preserve evidence such as witnesses and surveillance videos. If you have been attacked in a bar or club, you should always contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/basics/definition/con-20029302

[2] http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/004/chapter7/s7.347.html

 

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November 24, 2014

Traumatic Brain Injuries are Often Caused by Negligence

brain injuryThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports [1] that approximately 2.5 million Americans sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2010 alone. Depending on their severity, traumatic brain injuries can leave victims with significant long-term medical complications that have the potential to keep them from working and affect their day-to-day lives. Furthermore, the medical expenses associated with sustaining a TBI can easily rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What is a TBI?

Traumatic brain injuries are injuries to the brain that disrupt its normal function. They usually occur after a bump or blow to the head causes the brain to move around within the skull. The most common form of a TBI is mild concussion, which itself may require victims to engage in a significant period of rest. Cumulative or more serious TBIs may even result in serious complications that significantly alter the course of a victim’s life.

When TBIs occur in preventable accidents that are the result of someone else’s negligence, victims can recover for both their economic and non-economic losses by bringing a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Because personal injury law can be very complicated, the most effective way to make sure that you are able to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled is to retain a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Accidents are commonly the result of negligence

Under general tort law principles, a plaintiff must be able to establish that their injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence in order to be able to successfully sue. In this context, negligence has a specific legal meaning – a failure to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances. As a result, whether negligence occurred is often a fact-specific analysis that is specific to the type of accident that occurred. Some examples of negligently caused accidents that may result in a TBI include the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents [2]
  • Slip and falls
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Workplace accidents

After being involved in an accident in which a TBI is suspected, victims should seek medical attention immediately. Once your condition is stabilized and you are sure that you are receiving the appropriate treatment, your first call should be to an experienced personal injury lawyer licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/

[2] http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/Pedestrian_Safety/index.html

 

 

 

 

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October 3, 2014

What should I know if I sustain a TBI?

TBITraumatic brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe damage that causes permanent disabilities. If you have suffered any degree of traumatic brain injury (TBI), your first priority should be seeking the appropriate medical attention, diagnosis, and treatment to avoid further injury or damage. Also be aware that the signs and symptoms of brain injuries sometimes do not show up for days or weeks after the initial injury, so if you have hit your head, you should always keep an eye out for arising symptoms even if none are immediately apparent.

After you are diagnosed with a TBI, you should consult with a Philadelphia personal injury attorney as you may be able to recover in court if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. The most common causes of traumatic brain injury lawsuits include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents—Car accident victims often suffer TBI from hitting their head on the steering wheel, dash, or windshield. Even though airbags now provide some protection from blows to the head, even a sharp jolt of the head can cause TBI from the brain shaking inside the skull. Motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to TBI since collisions often cause them to fall off the motorcycle and collide with the ground.
  • Falls—Fall victims can suffer TBI from falling from a height or from simply slipping and falling on even ground. Falls from heights are common in workplace accidents, such as construction workers or painters falling from scaffolding or off of a ladder. Slip and fall accidents commonly occur on commercial property due to flooring defects or slippery surfaces. Nursing home residents often suffer TBI after a slip and fall in the bathroom or fall out of bed.
  • Sports injuries—TBIs are common in sports, especially in high-contact sports such as football, boxing, or hockey. Since injuries are common in sports, to win a claim for TBI in a sports injury, you must show that a coach, sports league, or another player acted negligently or there was a defect in the protective equipment.

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