Recently in Sports Accidents Category

Brain Injury Lawsuit: National Hockey League Players Headed to Court

Over the last two years, the media has widely covered litigation involving NFL injuries and wrongful death involving repeat head injuries over the course of a career. These players have suffered serious and permanent brain injury, resulting in loss of cognition, memory loss, loss of motor skills, and other defects. In some cases, the repeat head injuries have resulted in wrongful death. Now, players from the National Hockey League are following suit. According to Sports Illustrated, 10 former NHL players have entered into a class action lawsuit claiming that the National Hockey League failed in their duties to prevent concussions and long-term damage caused by brain injuries.

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Though lawsuits involving sports injuries can be complicated, plaintiffs who can demonstrate that an individual or entity failed in their duties of care or acted negligently, they may be entitled to significant compensation for their losses. Our Boston brain injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims. We also are committed to raising awareness about the dangers of brain injury and repetitive brain trauma.

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Boston Sports Injury Sufferer Creates New Helmet Technology

During the 2010-2011 school year, almost 3,000 middle and high school students in Massachusetts suffered a head injury, such as a concussion, while playing sports. That was according to a first-of-its-kind survey released late last year.heisman.jpg

Now, our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that a man who used to be one of those children, an ex-Harvard quarterback who first began suffering football-related concussions in the seventh grade, has created a revolutionary football helmet aimed to reduce head injuries on the field.

A Boston native and Harvard medical school graduate, the founder of Xenith LLC set out to make football helmets that would significantly reduce concussions. The idea hit him after watching footage of a hockey star whose career was cut short after numerous head injuries.

Already, several dozen players with the National Football League are using the device - and they rave about it. One player from the New England Patriots said he hasn't even had a headache since he began using the helmet.

In addition to pro-footballers, the Xenith helmet company is targeting the market of college football and high school football players across the country. Players at the Ohio State University and Notre Dame are using it, as are thousands of high school players. One private high school football coach in Cambridge was quoted as saying that the number of concussions has reduced dramatically since his team began using the helmet.

Right now, the helmets retail for $200 each. That may be cost-prohibitive for many schools at the moment, but the investment in terms of minimizing the lifelong damage could be priceless.

The helmet has 18 shock absorbers installed at pinpointed locations after literally thousands of laboratory tests were conducted to figure out which spots were most likely to take a direct hit, carefully considering each and every angle.

Where most helmets rely solely on some type of foam padding, this technology uses annular, air-filled pads that actually work to absorb the impact. When the helmet (i.e., head) takes a hit, the absorbers will actually compress, release air and then reinflate again quickly. The idea is that the the head isn't the object doing the deflecting - the helmet is.

The company's founder says these shock absorbers work similar to what we would see in a vehicle.

Sports players in general but footballers in particular are at risk for serious and lifelong head trauma as a direct result of the sport. It's made numerous headlines in recent years. Just last year, when an NFL all-pro player committed suicide, an autopsy showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a brain disease directly resulting from head trauma.

The NFL is actually being sued by thousands of former players for downplaying the long-term effects of these hits.

Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 175,000 youths are rushed to the hospital each year for head injuries they incur from sports.

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More Evidence of Brain Damage Due to Head Injuries in Sporting Accidents

Recently, our sport's injury attorneys published an article: "Boston youth sport rules aimed to prevent sporting injuries in kids."

These rules are being put into place because of the known dangers of sports injuries, especially concussions.

Unfortunately, as more and more evidence comes to light about how dangerous sports injuries are, it has become more apparent than ever before that both kids and adults are at serious risk if they suffer repeated head injuries. 1136141_rugby_action.jpg

More Evidence Links Head Injuries to Brain Damage
It is well established that head injuries can cause a number of serious health issues and can have long-lasting consequences. A recent study conducted by Boston University, however, has added to the growing concern about head injury risks.

According to a December Boston Globe article, the Boston University Study was conducted by obtaining information about the brains of 85 brain donors, most of whom were professional athletes. The athletes included in the study included boxers, football players, wrestlers and hockey players, all of whom were involved in contact sports and who had experienced repeated blows to the brain.

According to the researchers, 68 of the 85 individuals who were examined all had suffered repeated head trauma and all showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Encephalopathy occurs when brain tissue becomes clogged by a protein called tau that causes the destruction of brain cells. It can occur as a result of repeated blows to the head or concussions and symptoms are similar to Alzheimer's.

A Boston University neurosurgeon and study co-author indicated that he believed the size of the study should retire doubts about whether repeated brain trauma can cause permanent damage. Other neurologists, however, indicated that while the existence of the condition Encephalopathy has been established, it has not yet been definitely demonstrated that the problem is caused by multiple concussions.

Those who conducted the study also acknowledged that the study was not intended to establish how frequent brain injury was in athletes. Still, the control group of 18 subjects who had experienced no concussions or brain injuries had no sign of the damage present in the brains of the athletes studied.

Proving the Link Between Head Injuries and Brain Damage
While further studies need to be performed to get conclusive answers, the new findings by the Boston University study are one step closer to establishing a conclusive link between head injuries and brain damage. Establishing this link is important for athletes who want to take legal action based on head injuries sustained in sports. Many NFL players, for example, are suing the football league because of the unexpected risk of permanent brain damage due to repeated blows to the head. The Boston University study and other similar research could help with the NFL players' case.

Any athletes, from student athletes to professional players, should be warned about the potential risk of permanent brain injury or damage. If there was a coach, school or third party that contributed to the risk of brain injury or that failed to disclose the head injury dangers, then the injured victim or his surviving family members could potentially take legal action.

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New Guidelines Addressing Sport Injuries in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has some new concussion guidelines. The laws are just now taking effect although they were passed back in 2010. The new guidelines were developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and work to help parents, guardians, coaches and all others who are involved in child athletics to recognize, manage and treat a concussion, according to Common Health.
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Each and every day we're hearing more and more alarming news about concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to a recent study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, children who suffer from a TBI report an increase in both somatic and cognitive symptoms for as long as a year after the injury was sustained. To add fuel to the fire, a recent article in the New York Times reported on the risks of long-term effect of concussions among recreational athletes and concluded that they are higher in comparison to professional athletes.

Our Boston sporting injury lawyers understand that the new guidelines say that an athlete who suffers a concussion have to be taken out of the game or out of practice immediately. You'd think that would be common sense, but the problem is that many athletes may not even be able to recognize their own concussion. You can't see a concussion like you can a bruise or a cut. Most times, athletes will get a concussion without ever losing their consciousness. So how do you recognize when an athlete has a concussion.

Symptoms of a Concussion:

-Suffering from a headache.

-Feeling of nausea.

-Having a tough time balancing.

-Blurry vision.

-Sensitivity to bright light.

-Sensitivity to noise.

-Feeling unlike yourself.

-Having a tough time concentrating.

-Having a fuzzy memory.

-Becoming confused easily.

-Forgetfulness.

-Feeling sad.

-Becoming irritable.

-Feeling anxious.

If you're watching your child play their sport and you feel that they're suffering from too many of these symptoms and believe that may have sustained a concussion, let their coach know and take them to be evaluated by a doctor.

Under the new law, everyone involved in children's sport are to be trained in recognizing, managing and preventing these types of injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts have information available on their web sites and downloadable training courses to help.

Once it's determined that a child has a concussion, they're to sit out for the rest of practice or the rest of the game and have to be cleared by a doctor before they can come back and play.

There are also guidelines to follow after the injury. Children are also instructed to sit out on cognitive activities, including school tests, as some of the symptoms can get worse under these circumstances. School officials are to allow reduced school hours and workloads during this time. Students are not recommended to take standardized tests during recovery. They're also to be allowed with extra time to complete school work.

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Boston Sports Injuries: NFL Players File Suit

Boston sports injuries can have serious implications for pro athletes and even children who are just beginning to learn the game.

It's worse than just stitches and casts, which athletes sometimes wear as a badge of honor.

It's an issue our Boston sports injuries attorneys take very seriously.

Boston Personal Injury Attorney Jeffrey Glassman's sister suffered a debilitating back injury several years ago that shattered hopes of a promising tennis career. footballus.jpg

So our sports injury lawyers are closely watching the developments of a lawsuit that has been filed by some 1,500 National Football League players, who say that the organization deliberately hid from them the serious health risks associated with concussions, which many suffered on an almost daily basis. Another 100 recently added their names to that list, which continues to grow.

In other sports injury news, a study recently found teenage girls involved in soccer may be particularly prone to head injuries.

The lawsuit, which has been filed in a federal court in Atlanta, alleges that time and time again, the league did not do enough to protect its players - i.e., its employees - from serious and life-altering head injuries. In fact, they even went so far as to misrepresent how head injuries would affect players, leading them to believe there would be no long-term consequences.

The NFL of course denies these claims, but this suit is the second consolidated suit to be filed against the league. The other, in Pennsylvania, has not yet been given a trial date.

At the core of the lawsuits are recent scientific studies that show that concussions can be directly linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a degenerative brain disease that is symptomatically similar to Alzheimer's disease. Those who suffer from it often have severe mood swings, extensive memory loss and deep depression.

The only thing that causes this disease is repeated blows to the brain. Like Alzheimer's, it can only be definitively diagnosed after someone has died.

The players contend that at least 12 cases have been identified in the brains of players who have since deceased. The actual number is likely much higher.

Players say they were never told of the dangers of the game.

It's interesting to note also the recently sad news regarding the suicide of NFL player Junior Seau. Doctors say he appeared to have been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy for at least a year prior to his death. What's more, he is the second football player in recent years to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest. Both men reportedly did so in order that their brains could be preserved to confirm the existence of the disease, as well as so that their brains could be used to study. Many have speculated that both wanted their brains used for research, likely so that future generations of footballers might benefit from the intense pain and confusion they felt in the years prior to his death.

While of course this affects a relatively small number of the population, there are countless youth sports leagues in which parents and coaches need to take note of this very serious issue.

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Young Children and Risks of Head Trauma Sports Injuries in Massachusetts, Nation

Children under the age of 14-years-old shouldn't be allowed to play tackle football, lacrosse or ice hockey unless there are special rules in place to reduce their risks of concussions or other sports-related injuries in Massachusetts and elsewhere.

That's what Dr. Robert Cantu of Boston University is saying. He adds that younger children should also be banned from heading the ball in soccer to reduce these injury risks.
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Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz from the University of North Carolina disagrees. He says that children should learn at a young age how to safely handle sports-related contact. He said that this competition, against those of the same size and age, is healthy and beneficial in preventing injury later on in life.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys have young children who play sports, many of them playing on the same fields as your children. We understand that regardless of what sport they're playing, safety is a top concern. The real question of this matter is whether or not the safety advantage that is gained by learning to perform athletic maneuvers at an early age is offset by the risks of brain trauma that is caused by repeated blows.

According to Guskiewicz, kids are better off learning how to play these games when they're young instead of waiting to do so when they're in high school. It's as if the early athleticism will help to toughen them up.

He says that it's better to play in these youth leagues because the children are going up against other kids who are about their same size. If you wait until a child is in high school, then you run the chance of a 130-pound player going up against a 300-pound player. Bottom line, Guskiewicz says, is that players should learn how to play at a younger age.

Cantu says that he has seen too many children in the hospital being treated for concussions. He says it's critical for our young athletes to avoid blows to the head.

"That's where Kevin and I differ," said Cantu. "I'm treating these children and I've seen them miss school for a week, a month, a semester, even a year because of post-concussion symptoms."

Cantu says there's absolutely no reason to subject young children to traumatic head injury. He doesn't think that children should be left out of these kinds of sports. He says that the rules should be rewritten to accommodate their vulnerable bodies.

Cantu has recently conducted studies on the increasing numbers of athletes 17-, 18- and 21-years-old with early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the time of their death. This condition is a result of repetitive head trauma, like the trauma oftentimes experienced by boxers.

Experts can fight till the death, but the truth of the matter is that it's up to the parents to either keep their child in or pull them from their sports programs. And it's up to the coaches and others responsible for their safety on the field to make sure that they're provided with all of the proper safety equipment they need and take head injuries and pains seriously!

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High School Football Players in Boston at Risk for Serious Sports Injuries

Football players pride themselves on being tenacious and tough.

The rigors of the game, however, can lead to potentially fatal sports injuries in Boston and beyond.

Our Boston sports injury attorneys have seen cases ranging from concussions and broken bones to permanent brain damage and even death. Often, these situations are entirely preventable. For us, it's a personal mission. Attorney Glassman's sister founded the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation after suffering a debilitating back injury that ended her tennis career.

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A recent case chronicled by CNNHealth is a tragic example of what can happen when players are pushed to extreme limits, with heartbreaking consequences.

A 17-year-old high school football star from Kansas with a bright future loved the game, and gave it everything he had - literally.

According to CNN, the teen died just after scoring a winning touchdown. Weeks earlier, he had begun to complain of constant headaches. His parents took him to the emergency room, where doctors scanned his brain for problems. They didn't find anything.

He returned three weeks later to the field, where he absorbed a blow that took his parents breath away.

Still, he seemed fine. He even took the ACT's the following day.

Within a week, he was back on the field. His mother reported he scored a scored an impressive touchdown. But he began to wobble as he walked back to the bench.

He collapsed.

Though he was airlifted to the hospital, he never recovered.

It was only after his autopsy that doctors would see the truth. The teen had died from what is known as second-impact syndrome. It's when the brain suffers a blow before it's had a chance to recover from a previous concussion - and it's fatal.

In the course of a normal, high school football career, the teenager was found to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It's a degenerative disease that is often found in football players who have sustained repeated hits to the head.

Dr. Ann McKee with Harvard's Brain Bank, said she was shocked to see that the teen's brain tissue revealed that of a 70-year-old boxer.

"It tells you we've really got to protect our kids," McKee told CNN. "It's not just car seats and seat belts, but it's making sure that when they go out to play sports that we take proper precaution and we give them proper advice."

And as millions gear up to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, event organizers are driving home the point.

According to The New York Times, the National Football League, which is facing down more than a dozen lawsuits that allege the organization purposely withheld information about the health impact on players of repeated blows to the brain, will be spending millions to air a commercial about player safety.

It's a first for the organization, whose chief marketing officer admitted it's an issue that is of great concern to parents, and worthy of further education.

Some critics allege the NFL is simply pulling a PR-stunt, but others applaud the use of such a broad platform to address such a serious problem that affects our young athletes.

Players of youth sports understand there is some risk involved in any contact sport. But neither they nor their parents should have to anticipate a life of debilitating and permanent injury - or worse - simply for playing a sport.

There is a responsibility on the part of coaches, athletic directors and schools to ensure players are protected.

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Heat-Related Sports Injuries in Massachusetts a Serious Threat to High School Athletes

We've seen 100-degree temperatures in all four corners of the United States during this summer. As a result, there have been a number of heat-related sports injuries in Massachusetts and elsewhere throughout the country, especially to high school athletes.

As many people expect, heat-related illnesses play a large role in sport-related deaths. This year has witnessed the most heat-related deaths in one season since 2006, according to Max Preps.
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Our Boston sports injury attorneys understand that this is not a good sign considering we've barely broken into the sporting season. Parents and players are urged to be extra careful out there on the field as these heat-related injuries can seemingly sneak up on you if you're not careful. Luckily, there are several safety measures that you can take to help avoid one of these accidents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 7.5 million students that participate in high school sports every year. With the popularity of outdoor sports, it's no surprise that heat illness is the number one cause of death and injury in the United States among high school student athletes. From 2005 to 2009, there were 100 schools used in a study to monitor these types of injuries. Of the sampled schools, there were nearly 120 reported heat-related illnesses among athletes. This means that nearly 2 students for every 100,000 student athletes suffered from a heat-related illness during a sporting event during the study. There was an estimated 9,500 heat-related illnesses in schools across the nation during the study.

Football players were most commonly the victims of this type of illness as they averaged about 4.5 for every 100,000 athlete-exposures. This is a rate that is roughly 10 times greater than the average rate for all of the other sports.

Athletes are most likely to fall victim to a heat-related injury during the month of August. More than 66 percent of these accidents typically occur during this time.

Here are some signs that you might be experiencing a heat-related injury:

-A high body temperature, usually above 103-degrees Fahrenheit, when measured orally.

-Hot, red and dry skin. You will also notice no sweating.

-A quick, strong pulse.

-A headache.

-Dizziness or a feeling of being nauseous.

-Confusion.

-Becoming unconsciousness

How to help a person who may be experiencing a heat-related injury:

-Get them to an area that is shaded.

-Cool them as quickly as possible in whatever way you can. Get them in a cool shower or in a tub of cool water. You can also spray them with cool water from a nearby hose.

-Keep an eye on their body temperature. Make sure that you get it down to at least 101-102°F.

-If you don't receive timely medical response, call 9-1-1 for additional instructions.

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Specific Therapy Proves to Increase Recovery in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Researchers have found that patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) who've use transcranial LED-based light therapy, demonstrated substantial improvement and recovery. The patients undergoing the therapy reported improved attention, focus, memory and inhibition, reports Science Daily.

Boston personal injury lawyers encourage residents to spread the word about traumatic brain injury issues. As we've stated on our last traumatic brain injury blog, March is Brain Injury Prevention Month.
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"Transcranial red/near-infrared LED may be an inexpensive, noninvasive treatment, suitable for home treatments, to improve cognitive function in TBI patients, as well as to reduce symptom severity in post-traumatic stress disorder," said Margaret A. Naeser, PhD, of Boston University and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System.

While the cost of this treatment may be relatively inexpensive, the total cost of TBI diagnostics, treatment and recovery can add up quickly. The CDC estimates that TBI cost the United States an estimated $60 billion in indirect costs and medical costs each year.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 275,000 people are hospitalized and 52,000 die because of traumatic brain injury each year. TBI is a contributing factor to one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States.

Brain injuries can include everything from minor head injuries to skull fractures, including concussions and penetrating head wounds. TBIs can also occur at virtually any time, during a sporting event, on the job, car accidents, slip and fall incidents and more.

The Brain Injury Association reports TBI is often "the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and under-funded neurological disease." The most common form of a TBI is a concussion, which make up nearly 75 percent of all TBI's reported each year. Concussions often go ignored and mistreated and are often diagnosed as part of a sporting injury in Massachusetts.

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Massachusetts sporting accidents a leading cause of concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury

Our Boston injury attorneys note recent articles in Sports Illustrated and USA Today highlight the risk of head injuries and Massachusetts sports injuries, particularly for high-school athletes.

Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman has a special interest in helping young athletes who have been injured in a sporting accident. The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation was founded after his sister suffered a debilitating back injury that ended a promising tennis career after she was placed on an inappropriate weight-training program.
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Sports Illustrated reports that smaller hits than previously thought may lead to concussions, particularly in contact sports like hockey and football. And the resulting brain damage begins much earlier than previously thought.

Researchers had believed that 80 times the force of gravity was needed to cause concussions -- heading a soccer ball produces about 20gs. They were stunned to learn hits of 100gs or more were common in high school football practice. Participants in the study subsequently scored 20 percent lower on memory tests.

And a concussion was not necessary for reduced test scores. Of 11 players examined in one set, three had suffered concussions while the other eight had not. Nevertheless, four of those eight players showed significant declines in visual memory. Moreover, the force of the hits was primarily in the 40g to 80g range, or about half of what was previously though necessary for adverse results.

Traumatic brain injury can range from a concussion to a penetrating head injury suffered in a car accident. Symptoms can take months to surface and the full impact of such injuries may not be known for years, or even decades. Our Massachusetts injury lawyers believe it is imperative for those who suffer a head injury to seek the advice of an experienced law firm. While such injuries may present as little more than a minor annoyance, taking the steps to protect your rights in the event a claim needs to be filed in the future can be a critical step to protecting the rights of you and your family.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 1.7 million people will suffer a brain injury each year. Of those, 1.4 million will be seen in hospital emergency rooms, 275,000 will be hospitalized and 52,000 will die.

The most common causes of TBI are auto accidents, fall and sports-related injuries.

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Traumatic brain injury often undiagnosed - common causes include Boston car accidents, sporting accidents, fall accidents

The USA Today is reporting that the government has devised a simple blood test that could diagnose cases of mild traumatic brain injury, including concussions.

Traumatic brain injuries affect more than a million victims a year and commonly result from slip and fall accidents, sporting accidents and car accidents in Massachusetts. Left undiagnosed, or untreated, life-threatening health complications can develop.
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The test was developed for the army for use with veterans of the War on Terror; the breakthrough could assist with everything from car accident victims to shaken baby syndrome. The National Brain Injury Association reports that about 1.4 million Americans will suffer a brain injury this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 275,000 people will be hospitalized each year and more than 50,000 will die. The most common causes of TBI are falls (35.2 percent), traffic accidents (17.3 percent), struck by/against object (16.5 percent) and assault (10 percent).

About 70 percent of the nation's brain injury cases are categorized as mild. Such cases frequently go undiagnosed and those who suffer often report symptoms that last more than a year.

Symptoms of mild TBI, including concussions:

-Fatigue
-Headaches
-Visual problems
-Loss of memory
-Poor concentration/attention
-Sleep problems
-Balance problems
-Emotional distress
-Depression
-Seizures
-Nausea
-Change in senses/loss of smell
-Mood changes
-Confusion

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