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The Risks in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury 

Many people do not realize that after an Atlanta car accident they may experience symptoms that are due to a mild head injury.  Sometimes these injuries can present subtle symptoms such as headache, fatigue or mild dizziness which are actually symptoms of a concussion.  The injured person may not attribute these issues to the accident, for example a rear-end collision.  It is very important to know what to look for and to seek both medical and legal advice as soon as possible.  We share with readers some of the reasons why this is so important and what new research is revealing about the long term impact of these injuries.

Across the United States annually, about three million patients visit the emergency room for a traumatic brain injury.  These numbers don’t account for the many people who suffer concussions, but do not seek medical attention.  For those who do visit urgent care or an ER, often the diagnosis will be mild trauma or mTBI.  TBI’s sustained in a car accident can result in injuries to the driver and/or passengers that might not seem of great concern at first.  Mild concussions were once thought to fully resolve on their own and not to result in long term issues.  However, with 3-D imaging technologies, scientists are learning more about the affect of mild head trauma and the long term impact of mTBI that used to be thought of as insignificant.  The findings reveal that both dementia and Parkinson’s Disease can result from earlier head trauma, perhaps from an auto accident or a fall.

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TBI Tragedy Strikes Georgia Community 

We write today about a tragic brain injury accident that unfolded in Pike County, Georgia last week. By now, many readers are aware of the passing of a high school football player, apparently injured during a game. In a statement released by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) it was confirmed that all precautions had been taken by the school and team to protect players. The incident leading to this high school junior’s passing is still not clear. The young man was wearing the highest-rated helmet protection. There was also no clear injury from a tackle or a player hit of any kind. In the third quarter of the game, Dylan Thomas complained of a leg injury and was ultimately taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after passing out on the sidelines. Doctors at Grady determined that he had a head injury and performed emergency surgery, but could not save his life.The sad irony is that the Dylan Thomas’ family was aware of safety concerns for players on the field. They had purchased the best helmet, but also talked about staying safe during play.

Statistics from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research indicates that in 2017, there were 13 deaths from high school football. Since four million high school students play football annually, fatalities are not common. Most of these fatalities relate to things like cardiac arrest, rather than direct hits on the field. Play and practice in hot weather for example, can lead to heat stroke and cardiac arrest. The recommendations to avoid this include ensuring players are drinking water and taking breaks.

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Brain Injury and Surgical Advances

This past week we learned that well-known musician Dickey Betts, formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, had suffered a TBI after falling and hitting his head. He had been playing with his dog and had already suffered a mild stroke the prior month. This news was quickly followed by reports that he would need to undergo brain surgery to relieve the pressure caused by bleeding. According to USA Today, the surgery was successful and he is recovering. The many advances in brain injury treatments, including surgeries after a car accident or serious slip and fall, saves lives.

Medical advances include improvements and standards in both diagnosis and treatment. This means that after a car, motorcycle or truck accident, the injured person has a better chance to be treated and recover from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) than at any time in the past. Even with a slip and fall, we know that a significant head injury can result in a TBI. These traumas need immediate evaluation and treatment. Sometimes the accident or fall victim needs to be sedated, which appears to have been the case with Mr. Betts. The purpose of sedation is to minimize what is called secondary injury. In other words, the goal is to stabilize the patient so that additional injuries to the brain are minimized. Continue reading

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There is so much more known about traumatic brain injury than there was 20 years ago when the Georgia voters created a Trust Fund for these injuries funded using a portion of fines recovered from those cited for driving under the influence. As Atlanta brain injury lawyers, we know the day to day struggles that many injured victims work so hard to overcome. We have helped brain injury victims and their families for over two decades.

Since 2003, the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission leads the way in administering this fund. This fund helps to provide additional resources for things that insurance might not pay for or will only pay for a finite period of time. The fund is marking its twentieth anniversary this year. This is truly a remarkable milestone for those who have been injured in an accident or otherwise, with a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury. The fund helps those who have suffered these injuries to receive care that improves their quality of life. And many of those injured Georgians have been instrumental in advising the fund about what is needed to improve the long term quality of life for those who have suffered these traumas. Continue reading

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Georgia Law: Kids’ Must Wear Bike Helmets

Bicycle riders, like motorcycle enthusiasts, often resist wearing a helmet when riding. As we will explore in this post, statistics show that wearing a helmet can reduce injury. First, as Gwinnett County bicycle accident lawyers, we pay close attention to what the law requires. Georgia law only requires that children under the age of 16 wear a helmet. However, those over the age of 16 are not required to do so. Although there is no criminal penalty for a young person not wearing a helmet arguably, parents might be held responsible for failing to equip their child with a helmet.

Several years ago, a Centers for Disease Control study on bicycle accidents revealed that leads than half of riders wear helmets when riding. Since there are an average of about 1,000 fatalities and about 500,000 emergency room visits related to bicycle injuries, we think it is wise to explore the reasons why helmets should be considered.

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If you talk with a long time motorcycle rider, you will likely hear the great passion many share for the open road. Many riders find their most peaceful moments taking their bikes out on a stretch of rural road, a mountain that has broad vistas and few people. Whether it is the North Atlanta Lake Run or the Lumpkin Loop, which are among the many Sunday morning rides featured in our state, Georgia motorcycle riders have many options for wonderful open road rides. Most riders agree that their motorcycles bring them fun and relaxation. Whether riding on the open road or on a busy highway, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to accident or injury and sometimes that injury includes what is called Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.

In some motorcycle accidents, TBI’s can be less severe or avoided by wearing a helmet. Although some riders prefer to ride without a helmet, this is not the law in our state. Under Georgia law, motorcycle riders and operators must wear a helmet. In addition, eye protection must be worn if the motorcycle is not equipped with a windshield. Our law is intended to protect riders from injury. Even with a helmet, some bike accidents result in TBI due to the nature of the crash, the velocity of the vehicles involved and sometimes the road itself. Traumatic brain injury can result from many types of motorcycle crashes including intersection accidents and highway accidents. TBI’s can differ both in severity and in prognosis and can vary from mild, to moderate to severe. A mild TBI can still be debilitating. It can cause serious symptoms that interfere with daily life such as headache, dizziness and confusion. More severe TBI can result in long term challenges such as changes in cognitive and physical function. Continue reading

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This time of year we begin to see the impact of summer storms and hurricanes. These storms bring with them the risk of winds, flooding and other challenges. They often cause tragic loss of life in unexpected and often preventable ways. In the recent past, there have been severe and life-changing injuries sustained by those who have been struck by trees during storms. One of the most well-known and tragic is that of Georgia’s beloved Tripp Halstead who suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of two after he was struck by a tree limb while playing at his daycare center. Tripp’s family, friends and the entire community across the globe, prayed for his recover. He became such an inspiration during his fight, that in his passing the Washington Post, Newsweek, People and other major publications wrote about him.

This little boy fought so hard for life. He had many surgeries and truly was an inspiration to so many people around the world. Our hearts are with the family and friends of this little boy who taught us so much. He lost that battle last month. His young life serves as a reminder of the fragility of life and the gift of love and strength.

Because the dangers of falling tree limbs this time of year are so prevalent, it is important to remember the things that property owners should do to ensure the trees around their properties are safe. Checking trees for disease, over-crossed branches and proper pruning so that the wind can pass through the tree are all maintenance issues that should be addressed. It is very important that property owners remove dead or damaged tree limbs. The Tree Care Industry Association advocates using a trained arborist to identify these and remove dangerous tree limbs as the best approach. Homeowners might miss issues or make matters worse.

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https://www.georgiabraininjurylawyersblog.com/files/2018/05/31lrSUS3NAL._AC_US436_QL65_-150x150.jpgSeveral years ago, we posted about an Atlanta couple who suffered fatal carbon monoxide poisoning after unknowingly leaving their car ignition on due to a keyless ignition. Their vehicle was a Toyota. Their adult children filed a wrongful death action after their deaths. This is only one of many such deaths and injuries caused by keyless cars. Many are aware that keyless vehicles can make it difficult for drivers to know when the vehicle ignition is off before they close the garage door and enter their homes. A keyless fob makes it possible to walk away from a running vehicle that spews dangerous toxic fumes.

The New York Times has recently published a lengthy piece about this potentially tragic convenience. As many readers know, keyless ignitions are more and more common. Carrying around a fob, rather than a key that turns the vehicle ignition on and off seems like a great improvement since turning a knob or pushing a button is all the driver needs to do to start or stop the ignition. Many newer vehicles in America are keyless. This combined with engines that are much less noisy can be a deadly, particular with older users.

When the ignition remains on in an enclosed garage, the carbon monoxide build up in a garage attached to home can become lethal and has caused death and injury. Carbon monoxide can cause serious brain damage. Carbon monoxide has no color or odor. The gas deprives vital organs, including the brain, of oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning may not be fatal if the victims are found early, prior to losing consciousness. But even if a person is saved from this, brain damage can result and cause victims to require lifelong care and support.

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New Focus on Soccer and Brain Injury

In our recent posts, we shared information about the most common causes of brain injury. These include, falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. More and more information and research is being published on the most publicized issue with sports and brain injury — those injuries suffered by NFL players. This important work has shed new light on the incidence in professional football players of what is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is now considered a major risk for these athletes, in varying degrees. Depending on the position played, CTE is a degenerative brain disease which is caused by many hits to the head over time. For example, those players in more heavy contact positions have more evidence of this disease than a kicker.

A recent article in Wired magazine exposes concussion concerns the other sport that is now played by millions of kids across America, soccer. There was was a time when “English football” was relatively unknown in our country. But now, most kids are exposed to soccer and play it from the time they are very small children often into adulthood. Its a great game and it gets our kids outside and running, which is wonderful exercise. But soccer also can result in head impact both through player contact and heading the ball and in soccer there are no helmets.

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Sports Injuries and Concussion 

As we continue our series on leading causes of traumatic brain injury, in this post we discuss sports injuries. Athletics for kids and adults has become integral to our lives. Americans are more active than ever with various types of sports including ice hockey, cheerleading, basketball, football, soccer and cycling. Each of these sports has its joys and each of them can result in concussion.

The National Safety Council has noted that every ninety seconds somewhere in the United States a child is being treated for a concussion that has resulted from a sports activity. In basketball and soccer, girls are about five percent more likely to have a concussion than boys. Those studying kids’ sports concussions have not yet determined why girls are statistically more likely to suffer a concussion than boys. This could be related to biomechanics or could be due to some other reason, but the answer is not known. Although more high school level kids are more likely to have a concussion than younger kids, the numbers are increasing for younger kids.

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