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Falls Are the Leading Cause of TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI is a serious and increasing health issue in America. There are several leading causes of TBI’s, the most common of which is falls. That might get you thinking about how best to protect yourself from this life changing injury. After falls, other top causes of Traumatic Brain Injury include motor vehicle accidents and sports or recreation injuries. These TBI causes can result in various types of brain injuries, which we will discuss in another post. We take a look at each of these causes in separate posts and why and how they most commonly occur.

There are many reasons why people fall. In general, the elderly are most at risk for falling and ending up with the brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three persons over the age of 65 will fall on an annual basis. Although these falls can result in hip fractures or bone breaks, they often result in a traumatic brain injury. In those instances, the individual may need special care due to their age. TBI in the elderly can manifest in such things as agitation and dementia symptoms as well.

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What is Concussion?

In recent years, concussion has become a much more familiar word to many. There is much more awareness about this type of injury than there was even five years ago. This is perhaps due to news about concussion in the National Football League which has implemented concussion protocols to protect players from getting on the field after suffering a concussion. The feature film Concussion brought awareness to this type of injury and its long term effects on football players. According to the Centers for Disease Control here in Atlanta, the leading cause of concussion are falls which are more likely to occur with children and the older population. Statistically, motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of concussion and about one-third of the concussions that result from motor vehicle crashes result in the patient’s death.

What is concussion and why is it important to understand? Concussion is a form of Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. TBI’s can result from a blow to the head which might happen in a fall or a vehicle accident right here in Gwinnett County. Some might recall the tragic head injury that caused the death of Liam Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson. She fell skiing and sustained a blow to her head. The severity of her injuries were not immediately obvious. She even signed a document at the ski resort that said she did not need help. But within a fairly short period of time, she went into a coma and by the time she arrived at hospital, she had to be put on life support. Her brain was severely bruised. She had an epidural hematoma which caused swelling in her brain. This was the result of what seemed to be a minor blow to her head.

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In our dedication to staying informed about the latest developments in traumatic brain injury recovery, we recently came across a chilling story. Nearly three million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in our country. Some of these injuries are caused by things like auto crashes and other accidents. Sometimes these injuries are due to the negligence of others. There are many health care and research institutions around the country that are dedicated to this area of medicine. Here in Atlanta, we are fortunate to have the Shepherd’s Center which treats patients who have suffered brain injury.

After a TBI, victims need specialized care. Having a medical team with depth of knowledge and understanding of the latest developments can make a big difference in the prognosis for the injured person.
If one can imagine suffering a complex injury in a city with the support that is needed, this would be the story of injury and support.

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When we take our kids to day care, we put our trust in others to protect them from harm or injury. It is particularly devastating when an infant or toddler suffers a preventable injury while in the care of others. Infants and toddlers are vulnerable to traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI, which can range from mild to severe, can result from a fall or other impact to the child’s head. Across Georgia and in metro Atlanta we are aware of little ones who have suffered an injury at day care. In a Gwinnett infant concussion incident, an 11 month old was sitting in a high chair and fell to the ground, suffering a head injury. Although it was claimed by the facility that the baby had been properly restrained in the high chair, investigators were sent to determine how the baby ended up falling. The parents were devastated.

Licensed Georgia day care providers are required to meet certain requirements with regard to the ratio of infants, toddlers and children to day care workers. For example, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Education enforces Georgia’s rules and regulations for registered Support Centers and licensed child care programs. Day care providers are required to meet educational requirements and to continue year after year to take safety education. If a child is injured in day care parents can seek medical care and legal guidance to ensure that the licensing requirements were followed.

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Welcome to Scholle Law’s Georgia brain injury blog. We launched this blog to provide medical and law-related information about brain injuries in adults and children. Our mission with this blog, as with our Atlanta Injury blog, is to inform our readers about new developments and treatments for brain injuries; help those injured in an accident caused by another person or entity to learn how and where they can get medical and legal guidance; and, provide information that is relevant and useful to all.

This is an area of particular concern for us as personal injury lawyers. Brain injuries often involve long term care for the victim. If a person who has suffered a brain injury does not get help early, this can result in a worsened long term horizon for the injured person. We hope to help our readers learn about these injuries, which range from mild to severe, so that the right help is sought early for the best outcomes.

In the past, we have touched on this area of the law and medicine. We have written about mild traumatic brain injuries that can be suffered after an auto accident or sports injury. These injuries can be overlooked since their symptoms might seem to be something else, like chronic headache or memory loss. But often these symptoms, which are not recognized as brain injury, are in fact just that. We have also written about the new research that is bringing hope to many who have suffered injuries and need continuing support. This is an exciting area, because research is moving quickly in this field. It is also very important because these injuries can be so significant and life-changing that research resulting in new treatment methods can make an enormous difference in the lives of so many.

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1214589454Q2B5aO.jpgIt makes sense that when we get on a bicycle or motorcycle, a helmet can keep us from serious brain injury. But many riders still resist the use of helmets even though they keep riders safer. Helmet use has not risen, but bike riding has. Perhaps riders don’t like to use a helmet because they assume that they cannot be seriously injured in the event of an accident or they believe that a helmet hinders their ability to see. But in our experience over two decades as Gwinnett County brain injury lawyers and bicycle accident lawyers, serious injury can often be avoided with the use of a helmet.

In some cities and states, bicycle helmets are required for all riders. In Georgia, our laws are a little different. We have several laws that provide for protective gear while riding a bicycle. Georgia’s bicycle helmet law found in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) section 40-6-296 (d) (1)) focuses on children and teens and states that “[n]o person under the age of 16 years shall operate or be a passenger on a bicycle on a highway, bicycle path, bicycle lane, or sidewalk under the jurisdiction or control of this state or any local political subdivision thereof without wearing a bicycle helmet.” Helmets are also required to meet or exceed the standards for bicycle helmets set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

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helmet-on-bicycle-10045610One of the best things for most bike riders is the freedom of the open road, unencumbered by the “cage” of a car or truck. One of the facts of riding is that it is fairly impossible for bike riders to be distracted by the use of hand held devices while riding. Unless you have three hands or an extra arm, texting while riding is not going to happen. Perhaps a rider might check a handheld at a stop sign or signal, but hand held and bike riding is thankfully just not physically realistic. But for those driving in cars and trucks, we see this distracted driving more and more and it is very dangerous for everyone sharing the road, particularly those on bikes. Drivers in cars and trucks using hand held devices, which are to varying degrees illegal for use while driving in many states, are often the cause of injury-causing accidents with those on bikes.

A study from the Florida Department of Transportation states that those in cars and trucks are in fact more often at fault for the failure to yield to bikes and other small vehicles. The study indicates that those in cars and trucks are more often to blame in severe or fatal crashes than the bike rider. One of the reasons for this is that drivers simply don’t expect to see a smaller vehicle on the road and don’t pay attention at times to what is around them. This is becoming true also with pedestrian accidents. If you are riding a bike or walking across a street, it is necessary to become a defensive rider or walker to protect against this level of distraction. Add to this inherent lack of awareness and thinking ahead on the road, those distracting handhelds and it is really quite a dangerous formula. This is especially true as the weather improves in warmer climates and as we move into spring. Drivers will start seeing more riders out as the weather improves and some of them will fail to notice the increased presence of motorcycles.

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1214589454Q2B5aOFor those who have waited for the winter to end before taking their bicycles out, rest assured the weather will improve and more riders will be out in earnest soon. Whether you are an experienced rider or just got your first great bike and can’t wait to get out on the Georgia roads or trails, safety comes first. So what do experienced riders and responders recommend for those going out for the season? Here are some safety tips we collected from safety experts to keep your ride fun and injury-free.

Think safety before going out on your bike. The Centers for Disease Control has a list of preventative measures to protect your head. So, start at the top and make sure you protect against head injuries. These can occur when a rider falls. Even a fall that doesn’t cause other injuries and seems uneventful can turn out to be harmful or even deadly. Just as in skiing accidents, a rider can fall and have a brain bleed and not know it. So, if you are riding and fall and your helmet is damaged, that could be a sign that your head was hit harder than you think. And it is what happens inside your skull that is the worry. If you begin having a headache, that is a sign that your brain could be affected by the fall. Other issues that could signal a brain injury include blurred or impaired vision. You or a riding partner should contact 911 so that you can get checked out for injury.

Another area of concern in a fall are spinal issues. If you have experienced a fall and believe you might be injured do a couple of things to rule out your spine. Try to turn your head slowly to make sure you have normal range of motion. If you do not, stop moving your head and contact 911. If you have any numbness or tingling in your limbs, this could be a symptom of spinal injury so contact medical help.

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Accident Stats and Protections for Cyclists

We are proud to have the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) right here in Atlanta. The CDC helps Americans in many areas of health and safety. One of those is in the gathering of statistics, which in turn informs us of how we are doing with regard to health and safety. Atlantans might not realize just how much information is available to all of us at the CDC website. You can find helpful information about medical issues, illness protection and so much more. Recently, we reviewed some of the statistics on bicycle safety in America. As Atlanta bicycle enthusiasts, we were pleased to find important statistics regarding bicycle safety at the CDC. We want to share some of that with our “two wheel” readers who will especially benefit from this knowledge.

CDC statistics show that in recent years about 1,000 cyclists sustained fatal injuries. In addition, over 400,000 cyclists were injured. All of this amounted to lifetime health costs in the billions of dollars. Just when cyclists have the time to get out and ride more often, the statistics reveal that those in their 50’s are more likely to have a fatal injury on their bikes. And most of these tragic situations include male riders. More injuries are sustained by children and teens than in any other demographic. This does not mean that we should avoid riding, it means we need to make sure we have done all we can to protect our bodies when riding.

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Atlanta Cycling Makes the Big List

Atlanta cyclists will be pleased to know that our city has landed on a top 50 list for American cycling cities. The folks at bicycle.com compile a list on a biannual basis. They use data collected from riders and federal agencies, including the Census, consult with organizations in the know about walking and cycling and publish a top 50 cycling cities list. Although we know cities can always do better with safe riding to school and general cycling safety and security, Atlanta should be proud to make this list, because it is quite an accomplishment. Atlanta cycling is moving in a good direction. We can always improve our streets for the safety of cyclists which helps avoid accident and serious injury. But we see that Atlanta is moving in a positive direction for all those who love riding. Atlanta made the top 50 list due to a vital commitment to and focus on improvements for two-wheeled riders.

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