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Brain Injuries, Helmets and Reducing Concussion Risks

iStock_000001221748XSmall-300x199Over the past decade, researchers have made a great deal of progress in learning about the long term effects of brain injuries. Concussions are among the most common brain injuries. It is now understood that when someone sustains even a few concussions over his or her lifetime, it can be more difficult for the brain to return to normal function. We have seen a lot of publicity regarding the dangers to professional football players, for example, who have sustained numerous concussions and the prolonged and often debilitating impact on their lives. We have seen school sports teams becoming more aware about protecting kids from getting back on the field after a head injury.

This past summer, USA Today reported on Virginia Tech’s research in identifying high-impact training drills that can cause injury to young football players. The research indicated that one particular drill called “King of the Circle” is most dangerous for kids. The drill studied about 35 kids between 9-11 years of age. It illustrated the concussion risks to kids in football practice and was published in The Journal of Neurosurgery.

The Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB) is involved in research involving brain-related injuries due to accident or sports. The CIB has some impressive collaborators. Their partners include the Virginia Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. The purpose of this work is to research what different types of injuries do to humans and the effectiveness of technologies to prevent them. They have numerous studies currently underway and apply their research to such areas as car safety and sports safety.

One of the more unusual and important areas of their research includes objective helmet ratings for football and hockey. They are currently studying bicycle, soccer, lacrosse and construction helmets, but have not completed this research. They have an impressive ten-year plan for helmet data collection and ratings. These ratings are intended for the consumers to make better choices in purchasing helmets that better protect the user from concussion. As the CIB notes, the work they are doing in this area is independent of helmet makers. They view this work as key to reducing the risk of concussion, since before they began this work, consumers had no way to determine whether they were buying the most protective helmet. Currently, they produce a star rating for hockey and football helmets — the most protective having five stars. CIB determines the star rating for helmets using both user experience and the effectiveness of each helmet in lowering head acceleration so that there is less impact on the brain and less likelihood the user will sustain a concussion. CBI also notes that in addition to helmet protection, coaches and rule changes also are key to protecting athletes from injury.

With our experience helping victims of these and other injuries, we keep up on the latest developments in prevention and treatment of brain injuries. We have seen many cases in which brain injuries have changed lives forever and presented challenges to the injured and their families. That is why we follow the work and research being done in the field of brain health and brain injury. For example, it is less well-known that even what is sometimes referred to as mild brain injury from a rear-end vehicle collision and a whiplash, can also cause very significant symptoms and impact a victim’s life. Such things as memory and concentration, headaches and more, can result from what seems initially like a less serious injury. In fact, these injuries can be devastating.

Brain injuries can range from subtle to severe. If you or your loved one has sustained an injury, even if it is from a rear-end collision, MTBI or mild traumatic brain injury is, nonetheless, traumatic. These injuries can interrupt one’s life and work and require medical attention. For more information after an injury or accident, please contact our law offices. Scholle Law provides a free consultation about your legal rights and medical care.

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