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Our Illinois brain injury attorneys are very interested by the new Illinois law requiring all student athletes to be cleared by a doctor, when they show any signs of a concussion, before they are allowed back in the game or on the field. This new law was adopted earlier this year to be effective immediately, and with the new school year beginning and a new high school football season starting, this concussion law will hopefully begin to reduce the number of long term brain injuries suffered by football players who get hit in the head again before they are fully recovered from a previous concussion. Although the law itself is new to the state of Illinois, 27 other states have already adopted a similar type of law and many Illinois schools had similar policies in place in order to help protect their students that were showing signs of a concussion after receiving a hit to the head.

This law, and similar policies that were implemented by schools prior to this new Illinois law going into effect, come in the wake of the realization that many serious brain injuries in football players were linked to the players suffering years of concussions. Up until just recently football players were usually sent back on the field shortly after suffering a possible concussion, and recent studies have shown that this may have been what caused a great number of long-term severe brain damage and in some cases even death. According to The Chicago Tribune, the number of school age children coming into the emergency room for concussions has drastically increased, and more children have been receiving the treatment that they needed, likely because of the increased awareness of the possible danger of repeated concussions that are not handled appropriately.

Upon learning of the danger of not fully checking out an athlete following a hit to the head, many coaches, teachers, parents and school boards have fought for and implemented changes in schools. While it was a great start for schools to take action, our Illinois personal injury attorneys were very happy to learn that Illinois lawmakers decided to take more action and implement a concussion law for the state of Illinois. This statewide law will hopefully injure that all student athletes are treated properly following a head injury and greatly reduce the number of brain injuries suffered by our Illinois athletes.

After working with enough clients, Illinois brain injury lawyers are aware that it remains difficult for many forms of brain injuries, especially concussions, to be properly detected. More and more people are learning of the immense harm that these problems can have, but few easy ways remain to determine when someone has suffered a concussion.

The main challenge is that the symptoms of this injury are also caused by other problems. When someone suffers from dizziness, lack of focus, and nausea-the common indicators of concussion-there is no clear way to prove that the brain injury is the actual reason for the symptoms. In fact, some of the milder forms of concussion cannot be found even with brain-image testing. Yet, even mild brain problems can have troubling effects on the patient, so a need for better diagnostic tools is strong.

According to the Seattle Times, that better test may finally have arrived. Known as a “blast badge,” University of Pennsylvania doctors and engineers have developed a wearable object which measures the intensity of an explosion in a spectrum on which the wearer has been exposed. These are small objects that can be attached to those most likely to suffer concussions, like on the helmets and uniforms of athletes.

The scientists involved are now working to connect the specific color changes on the “badge” to correspond to the potential harm that shock had on the wearer’s brain. This shock badge will then better allow medical professionals to understand what sort of treatment might be necessary.

Another potential diagnostic tool involves simultaneously testing the cognitive and motor skills of someone who may have suffered a concussion. Scientists believe that they may be able to identify difference in performances between healthy individuals and those who have suffered a brain injury.

Still other researchers are developing a medical compound that may reverse memory and movement loss if given to sufferer of all types of brain trauma.
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The Roanoke Times recently reported on a lawsuit filed against a nationally recognized university for inadequate facilities and lack of supervision after a 15 year old sustained a traumatic brain injury playing basketball at a summer camp hosted by the university.

The camper’s parents are suing the university and the organization who organized the camp for $2.5 million. The camper’s family incurred large medical bills as a result of his injuries and although, the camper has recovered, he is still at risk for future injuries and other health issues.

According to the lawsuit, the 15 year old suffered a brain injury when he was thrown from the court during a game and struck his head on a wall. The parents of the child are claiming that the wall should have been properly padded. To read more about this brain injury lawsuit, follow the link.

Unfortunately, sports related brain injuries are not uncommon. According to the medical journal, Pediatrics, 375,000 children and teenagers are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for basketball-related injuries. Four percent of those injuries involved head trauma. Follow the link to learn more about this brain injury study.

Basketball is not the only sport where players are at risk for brain injuries. According to Pediatrics, basketball only accounted for 9 percent of all sports related concussions among youths. Football, soccer, hockey, and baseball are all sports where players are at high risk for brain injuries caused by head trauma. Click on the link in order to learn more about sports related brain injuries.
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March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. As the month comes to an end, the Miami Herald published an article from a local high school student-athlete who had suffered a sports related brain injury.

The 16 year old sophomore suffered a concussion after a head to head collision with a fellow soccer player. This was not the sophomore’s first brain injury. The sophomore reported having three concussions in four years; all of which occurred while playing high school soccer.

Each year, nearly 140,000 high school athletes suffer a sports-related concussion. Several states are looking to pass laws to help prevent sport related brain injuries in high school student athletes. In Illinois, pending legislation is looking to provide education and awareness for athletes, coaches, and parents. Although student-athletes need parental consent before competing, few Illinois schools have policies informing student-athletes and parents of the nature and risk of head injuries.

Other states are trying to introduce similar bills. Some states even want a policy requiring players who sustain a suspected head injury to be immediately suspended from play until they receive clearance from a qualified medical professional. In Illinois, steps are being taken in Springfield to improve safety regulations for helmet manufacturers. To learn more about Illinois brain injuries, follow the link.

In the article, the sophomore regrets not seeking medical treatment sooner for his brain injuries. The sophomore complained of constant headaches that interfered with his academics. He also suffered from depression after doctors told him he would never be able to play soccer again. Although the student-athlete’s symptoms have improved and he has been able to return to soccer, he has to wear a rugby helmet during games.

According to the article, more than 40 percent of high school athletes return to play before they are fully recovered because schools, coaches, parents and players are not adequately educated on head injuries. In fact, brain injuries have been called the “silent epidemic” because few people are aware that they represent a serious health problem in the United States. Click on the link to read the full article about head injuries.
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Ice skaters, skiers and snowmobilers rejoice as snow continues to fall this winter season. But it is during these snowy months when winter sport enthusiasts become at high risk for brain injury.

Those participating in winter sports should wear a helmet to prevent head injuries. While helmets do not prevent concussions, they do protect the skull from factures. A report found that helmets reduce the risk of head injury among skiers and snowboarders by 35 percent.

Even pedestrians need to be cautious over the winter. Icy surfaces can cause pedestrians to slip and fall. The winter can also create dangerous driving situations for cars and trucks.

Although most head trauma accidents are minor, it’s important to be cautious following a head trauma to prevent further personal injury. Brain injury can cause the brain to swell, damaging brain and nerve tissues.

A victim of a head trauma should be carefully observed for early signs and symptoms of brain injury. Signs and symptoms can develop hours or even days after a head trauma. Early symptoms include severe headache, confusion, loss of balance, vomiting, slurred speech, and seizures.

Immediate treatment is necessary to determine if a victim is suffering from more severe symptoms such as uneven pupil size, convulsions, or blurred vision. These symptoms can be long-lasting or permanent in some cases.
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The Chicago Breaking News Center reported this week on a new study that suggests that many high school athletes have suffered brains injuries of which they are unaware.

The study out of Purdue University involved the close monitoring of a high school football team. Overall, 21 players were observed over the course of a year. Four of those players were eventually discovered to have suffered concussions which were never diagnosed because there were no outward signs of injury. That means that the players stayed in the game, taking many more physical hits to the head, exposed to grave risk of permanent injury.

Over the course of the year, many of these high school players received over 1,800 hits to the head during football games and practice. Some of those hits ultimately result in brain injuries that do not have any outward symptoms but that may add up to long-term problems. As one medical expert in the field explained, “there could be changes that may not affect the player now but might affect them 10 or 20 years later.”
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In the summer months there are an increased number of motorcycles on the road and with this, the number of injuries and fatalities among riders increases. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 40% of motorcyclist deaths in 2008 occurred during June-August, compared to only 9% during December-February. They also reported that helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.

Brain injuries can be life altering and severe. Even if you suffer a minor brain injury such as a concussion, it can render you inoperative for some time. According to Dr. Angela F. Gardner in The New York Times, “Every concussion increases the likelihood that you will have an injury to the brain if another concussion occurs.” In addition, “You don’t have to be going fast to hurt your brain.”

Many states, including Illinois, do not require riders or passengers to wear helmets. However, your chance of survival in a motorcycle accident begins with wearing one. The Illinois Department of Transportation offers additional safety tips on their website. These tips include staying out of trucks blind spots, driving defensively and cautiously, wearing high visibility clothing and performing proper maintenance and safety checks on your motorcycle.

According to a report on the Missoulian’s website, a college football player has died after suffering a traumatic brain injury during a scrimmage over the weekend. The article notes that during play, the 21-year-old was hit in the head after tackling a teammate in one of the last plays of the game. Shortly after, he began vomitting and seizing on the sideline, both signs of a concussion. Trainers immediately called 911 and he went to a local hospital but was soon taken by medical helicopter to another medical center.

The young man was diagnosed with an acute subdural hematoma as a result of the blow to the head. According to the Medline, this condition occurs when blood collects on the surface of the brain and usually occurs after serious head trauma. The bleeding creates pressure on the brain and calls for immediate treatment to relieve intracranial pressure, such a crainotomy. In this victim’s case, the pressure caused severe and irreversible brain damage and he died one day later.

Sports injuries are one of the biggest contributors to serious brain injuries. Over the past year, the issue of head injuries among football players has been prevalent in the media and according to Boston.com, the NFL recently announced that it will fund research at Boston University to study the effects and prevention of repetitive brain injuries in football players. For any athlete, whether biking, skiiing or playing football, it is important to wear the proper protective head gear to reduce the risk of head injuries. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these sports, injuries may still occur even when precautions are taken. To learn more about this tragic death due to brain injury, follow the link.

23-year-old Preston Plevretes, a former college football player, reached a settlement with LaSalle University, four years after he suffered a serious brain injury during a football game. The personal injury settlement was reached for $7.5 million and will cover the young man’s ongoing medical care and treatments for life. In 2005, Plevretes was knocked unconscious and fell into a coma after a hit during a game. Doctors performed emergency surgery to reduce swelling in the brain, however they could not repair all of the damage and today he has difficulty walking and communicating. According to the lawsuit, Plevretes suffered a concussion several days before the game during practice. The plaintiff’s injury attorney contended that because the university did not treat the concussion, it left Plevretes’ brain in a vulnerable state. Plevretes’ attorney noted that when someone’s brain is already swollen, it can quickly swell up and can easily lead to a herniation. This is likely what caused his life-changing injury. To read the full report on this brain injury settlement, click on the hyperlinked text.

New York Mets starting Third Basemen David Wright suffered a concussion this week when he was struck in the head by a baseball. He was hit when a Matt Cain fastball when strait to his head and caused him a serious brain injury. He is being set to the disabled list for the first time in his career because of the brain injury. The league is attempting to make players wear a new helmet that protects players’ heads better. To read more about David Wright’s concussion, click here.

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