Tag Archives: TBI

White House Conference on Concussions

Mindball Barin injury game
Always studying the effects of sport on the brain, Herndon Virginia lawyer Doug Landau is shown here playing “Mindball” after the annual Vasa Ride at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC. This game measure brain electrical activity

This past summer, President Obama hosted the first-ever summit on concussions at the White House.  The purpose of the conference was to increase awareness and education about the serious nature of concussions in youth, and more importantly, to kick start a culture shift in America when it comes to youths and sports.

Concussions in Youth Sports

According to an article in the Washington Post, Obama told the audience, “We want our kids participating in sports.  I’d be much more troubled if young people were shying away from sports.  As parents, though, we want to keep them safe, and that means we have to have better information.”

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not something to be taken lightly.  The Abrams Landau law firm has been helping victims of TBI caused by bike, truck and auto accidents, workplace incidents, slip and fall accidents, etc. for many years.  TBI can change a person’s life irreparably.  That is why Doug Landau and his staff participate in bike safety education, distribute free bike helmets to local school children, support the efforts of Northern Virginia’s Brain Injury Services (BIS), and more.

Landau notes, “All four of my children participated in youth sports — soccer, wrestling, lacrosse, track, cross country, and pole vaulting — so sports injuries are certainly not uncommon in the Landau family.  I even coached my kids’ teams when they were young, and drawing on my training as a coach and my background in medicine, I sometimes knew it was time to pull a player or sub out a star who had taken a blow to the head.  The key is prudence, balance, and long view when it comes to children’s sports.  After all, the reason they “play” to begin with is because it’s fun!  And TBI is no fun!”

NCAA Concussion Settlement

Doug Landau knows the effect of repeated concussions on the brain.  NCAA's settlement of a class-action lawsuit will provide education and diagnosis for college athletes.
Doug Landau knows the effect of repeated concussions on the brain. NCAA’s settlement of a class-action lawsuit will provide education and diagnosis for college athletes.

“Medical monitoring and future treatment will help those amateur athletes who have traumatic brain injuries going forward,” according to Herndon head injury lawyer Doug Landau, “and the education and early diagnosis in the future will hopefully prevent permanent disability that sidelines college sports team members who sustain a concussion.”  The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) — the governing body for college sports —  agreed to a settlement in a class-action head-injury lawsuit.  The suit is a consolidation of 10 lawsuits which combined, identify by name several dozen athletes who suffered brain trauma while playing contact sports in college.

The terms of the settlement, pending final approval by U.S. District Judge John Lee, are:

  • Create a $70 million fund for the purpose of diagnosing current and former college athletes to see if they suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) when playing contact sports in college.  Players who show signs of TBI will be responsible for paying for their own treatment.
  • Implement a consistent return-to-play policy whereby a player who takes a blow to the head may not return to play or practice that day.
  • Preserve the right for individual athletes to sue individually for specific damages.
  • Require baseline neurological tests at the start of each year for all athletes.
  • Mandate concussion education for athletes and coaches.
  • Establish an independent medical science committee to oversee medical testing.

The settlement has been met with controversy, however.  Critics believe money should have been set aside for the injured players themselves, rather than simply paying for diagnosis, monitoring, and education.

Virginia sports injury attorney Doug Landau believes the settlement terms will go a long way towards (1) helping those athletes who were injured during their past careers by helping them identify lingering symptoms of TBI and gain access to high quality medical care, AND (2) changing the culture of college sports so that future athletes may be spared repeated concussion and TBI going forward.

Landau is in favor of monitoring and education when it comes to concussions:

“Educating those involved is the first step towards preventing long-lasting effects of concussions,” notes Landau.  “As a personal injury lawyer, I have helped numerous clients who have suffered TBI.  The impact can be severe and life-changing.  If we can teach athletes, coaches, parents, college administrators, etc. about the dangers, we can affect change.  I take that responsibility quite seriously and literally here in my local community.  Each year, my firm donates free bike helmets and educates needy children on the effects of TBI in our “Putting Lids on Kids” program.   I believe you can never provide too much education about something as serious as permanent brain injury.”

If you or someone you know has been injured, suffering the effects of traumatic brain injury, and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

German biker hit by truck on rural Virginia road

Virginia bikers sent me word of a German biker struck by a truck and now on life support at Carillion hospital in Roanoke. This brought back sad memories of being called to INOVA Fairfax Hospital after my clients, who were also in the United States for bike touring, were struck on Route 55 in Fauquier County, outside of Warrenton. In fact, I will be trying a case next month in a Court outside of Richmond, Virginia, for a German exchange student who was injured in a Chesterfield County car crash.

As I wrote on the Virginia Bicycling Federation site:

Our hearts go out to this German biker and his family. Having represented catastrophically injured German bikers, it is very important that there be a stenographer present for the December 6th Court case. Virginia General District Courts are “Courts NOT of Continue reading

Cases, Races – See "Lawyer in Action"

Herndon injury attorney and Masters Triathlete Doug Landau was told he was “crazy” for inviting potential clients, existing clients and their friends and families to come see him “in action.” Other experienced trial lawyers attending the American Association for Justice’s National Trial Lawyers convention in New York City this summer, confessed that they would never consider having injured, disabled and out of work clients come and learn how and where their cases would be decided. Yet that is exactly what we do every at the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. Here are cases, meetings, volunteer work, athletic competition and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs currently on the calendar this Fall:

  • 9/7/2011 Manassas, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing, slip and fall at a federal facility job accident case.
  • 9/8/2011 Washington, DC: Trial Lawyers Association of DC “Meeting with the Judges” (CLE), at The University Club, 16th Street, NW, preceded by a program introducing the OsiriX software for Macintosh computers
  • 9/09/2011 Alexandria, VA; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, Motion in Limine (to exclude irrelevant evidence) in union construction plumber’s shopping mall on the job slip and fall case
  • 9/10/2011 Reston, VA: South Lakes High School, bicycle helmet safety inspection and athlete registration volunteer for the Reston Triathlon
  • 9/11/2011 Reston, VA: Lake Audubon, compete in Reston Triathlon,
  • 9/15/2011 Washington, DC: Social Security Administration, Disability claim before an Administrative Law Judge
  • 9/18/2011 Winchester, VA: Warrenton Aquatic & Recreation Facility, compete in Virginia Triathlon Series (VTS)
  • Sprint Triathlon, currently in 4th place in the Age Group, Landau hopes to again win the Series by accumulating enough points in addition to Masters and Age Group awards. ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. is a sponsor of the series.
  • 9/20/2011 Fairfax, VA: Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse, Ethics and Social Networking CLE program sponsored by the Fairfax County Bar Association.
  • 9/22/2011 Williamsburg, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing, job vehicle accident case, late payment penalties
  • 9/22-25/2011 Atlanta, GA: American Association for Justice (AAJ) College, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, (CLE)
  • 10/02/2011 Spotsylvania, VA: Acorn Sprint Triathlon, Lake Anna Beach marina, final competition in the Virginia Triathlon Series, Bumpass, VA
  • 10/03/2011 Washington, DC: Social Security Administration, Disability claim before an Administrative Law Judge
  • 10/5-6/2011 Monroe, LA: Social Security Administration, Disability claim before an Administrative Law Judge on a case remanded from an unfavorable decision for a client for whom ABRAMS LANDAU was successful in his car crash and related workers comp claims.
  • 10/6-9/2011 Bergen County, NJ: Client visit, returning to volunteer at High School Parents Weekend, McLean, VA
  • 10/10/2011 Richmond, VA: Mediation in a Virginia Workers Compensation claim for a disabled nurse with a Tidewater area insurance defense firm, even though the office is closed for the Columbus Day holiday.
  • 10/12/2011 Fairfax, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing, health care provider’s slip and fall brain injury case; the original claim was won, but when additional brain surgery was needed, the insurance company disputed that it was related to the original, on the job fall on the ice and refused to pay the medical bills.
  • 10/13/2011 Fairfax, VA: District Court of Fairfax County, monitoring the Traffic Court prosecution of the defendant whose unsafe driving caused permanent injury and death.
  • 10/15-16 Williamsburg, VA: Old Dominion University Department of Accounting, compete in annual 5km.
  • 10/17/2011 Fairfax, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing, nurse’s car crash back and head injury case. The original claim was won (covering her spinal surgery) and her car crash liability case settled for policy limits, but when additional traumatic brain injury case was sought, the insurance company disputed that it was related to the original, on the job crash and refused to pay the medical bills.
  • 10/19/2011 Manassas, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing for a Michigan client with a back injury
  • 11/3/2011 Fairfax, VA: Virginia Workers Compensation hearing, after winning permanent and total disability hearing against the Department of Disability Services, seeking van modifications and other additional benefits
  • 11/4-6/2011 Lakeville, CT: Volunteer Leadership Weekend, The Hotchkiss School
    nurse’s car crash back and head injury case.
  • 11/11-13/2011 Richmond, VA: Virginia Trial Lawyers Advanced Workers Compensation retreat, (CLE) Courtyard by Marriott West
  • 11/12/2011 Richmond, VA: Arthur Ashe Athletic Center Health Expo and Richmond Sportsbackers Marathon Festival, compete in 8km. road race.
  • 11/18/2011 Herndon, VA: Herndon Community Center Annual Turkey Trot 5km cross country race (in the afternoon, just blocks from the Landau Law Shop !)
  • 11/23/2011 Glen Ridge, NJ: United States Track & Field-NJ Championship Road Race, Ashenfelter 8K Classic, benefiting the Glen Ridge Educational Foundation (Landau Law Shop closed for the Thanksgiving holiday)
  • 11/30/2011 Colorado Springs, CO: Triathlon World Championship Age Group Sprint Distance qualifiers, like All American Doug Landau, international paperwork for competition in Auckland, New Zealand, October 14-22, 2012

If you want to see Triathlon Trial Lawyer Landau “in action” at these or other events, please e-mail or call the Landau Law Shop (703-796-9555) beforehand, as insurance companies settle on the eve of trial, judges postpone trials and races get canceled due to weather or other unforeseen events, and your time is valuable. Several races and court cases (including a complex Interpleader for insurance policy limits in Chesterfield Circuit Court as the result of a single car crash injuring several international exchange students) have already been cancelled and postponed due to Hurricane Irene. Herndon Reston area injury lawyer hopes to see you soon !

Kickoffs and Returns under scrutiny by the NFL

The National Football League is looking into kickoff modifications in order to help ‘deal with injury numbers’ according to news reports this week. Indicating that it was a matter of safety, along with possible suspensions for player who make illegal hits, the NFL is recommending that kickoffs be moved from the 30- to the 35-yard line — as it was before 1994. Also, kicking team members must line up within five yards of the ball. This would prevent the kicking team members from lining up 10-15 yards behind the ball to get a running start. By the time these offensive players got downfield, they were at full speed.

The sound of the impact when 300 pounds of professional football player, sprinting at top speed, strikes another player moving in the opposite direction at maximum velocity, it something not soon forgotten. The momentum of each player (speed times mass) is truly shocking. The league recognizes the potential for devastating and career ending head, neck and brain injuries and is looking into way to modify the game while still keeping its essential features. Read more at the Washington Examiner.

Unsafe Playsets Recalled by Manufacturer

As a child, I enjoyed may hours playing on swing sets and “jungle gyms.” My brother and I would even eat our meals in these structures during the warm summer months (and save our mom from having to clean up if we dripped watermelon or spilled our drinks !). So I was particularly interested when I received word that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) had recalled children’s play sets made in China for Escalade Sports of Evansville, Indiana.

According to the CPSC recall notification, the hazard is significant, as the swing seats on these Oasis Playsets can crack and break in half, causing the user to fall to the ground. Escalade Sports has received 24 reports of the seats breaking, though no injuries have been reported. These defective and dangerous products were sold by Oasis distributors and dealers nationwide from April 2008 to December 2010 for between $1,500 and $2,200. Consumers should immediately stop using these swing seats and contact Escalade Sports for free replacement swing seats. For additional information, contact Escalade Sports at (800) 742-6009 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the Escalade’s website. Consumers can also e-mail Escalade Sports.

Education and Prevention of Concussions in High School Athletes

Following up yesterday’s post on the increase in concussions seen at hospital emergency rooms, new initiatives to educate the high school sports community about concussions have been adopted. Beginning in the fall of 2010, all Rhode Island high school coaches — head coaches, assistants and volunteers — must take a free 20-minute online course on the signs, symptoms and proper treatment of concussions available on the National Federation of State High School Associations (“NFHS”) website according to a report in the Providence Journal

Following recently passed legislation in Rhode Island — the School & Youth Programs Concussion Act Title 16-90-1 — coaches must hold a preseason meeting with athletes and their parents to discuss the symptoms and risks of concussions and traumatic brain injury. All players and parents must then sign a form acknowledging that they have been given this information. This season, any athlete who suffers a head injury in a practice or a game must be removed from competition. He or she may not return to play until they are evaluated by and receive written clearance from a licensed physician.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Handbook, a concussion is a brain injury that occurs when a sudden blow to the head or to the body causes the brain to shake inside the skull. Common symptoms, which vary from person to person and may last for hours, days, weeks or even months, include:

  • nausea,
  • dizziness,
  • ringing in the ears,
  • prolonged or recurring headaches,
  • fatigue,
  • weakness or numbness,
  • as well as difficulty seeing,
  • concentrating or
  • remembering things.

Once someone suffers a concussion, he or she is at an increased risk for further concussions. Although most concussions are mild, it is possible for a concussion that is not managed properly to lead to prolonged brain damage and even death. It is hoped that this educational program and information will lead to a reduction in the numbers of young athletes taken to the emergency rooms for treatment of traumatic brain injury and multiple concussions.

Hospitals Track Children's Concussions

Youth sports build strong bodies, teach “team work” and help stem the trend toward obesity that has the attention of America’s health care providers. However, there are statistics demonstrating emergency Room visit s for teenagers are tripling over a 10 year period. Sports Medicine researchers are concerned that “bigger, stronger and faster” may not be good for the health of America’s young athletes. An October 2010 study published in the Medical Journal Pediatrics tracked concussions among athletes in organized youth sports between 1997 and 2007, using a national surveillance network of hospital emergency rooms.

Researchers from Brown University found that the pace of ER visits for concussions had nearly doubled among 8- to 13-year-olds, and more than tripled among players Continue reading

Free WABA Membership for Law Enforcement Officers on Bikes

Herndon Virginia biker lawyer Doug Landau applauds the WABA's free membership offer to bicycle police officers
Herndon Virginia biker lawyer Doug Landau applauds the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's free membership offer to Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC bicycle police officers

As part of the Washington Area Bicyclist Associations ongoing efforts to improve roadways safety and build relationshis with the law enforcement officers responsible for helping to enforce traffic laws in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, the WABA has begin offering free memberships. Any law enforcement officer in the DC Metropolitan area who rides a bike as part of his or her duties is eligible. The WABA is encouraging members to reach out to local police ion the community. It’s simple: if they ride a bicycle as part of their job they qualify for free membership.

As WABA members frequently interact with local police on a number of matters, from roadway safety, and enforcement concerns, to special events, information seeking after crashes and near misses. WABA members recognize the life-and-death importance that enforcement of traffic laws can have for cyclists sharing the road with motor vehicles of all sizes. Doug Landau of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. will be advising Herndon’s bike-based officers about this free benefit. Hopefully, all of the bicycle officers in Herndon and Reston Virginia as well as those who traverse the W&OD Trail will soon have WABA memberships and receive the excellent “Ride On” publication.

Sports Illustrated looks at concussions effects on professional athletes

A month ago Sports Illustrated looked at concussions and their effects on professional athletes. Instead of photos of swimsuit models or multimillionaire athletes, the popular sports magazine looked at a very serious subject, that of head trauma and permanent disability in the ranks of professional athletes. The periodical looked at the hits no one is noticing, the “invisible” traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and cumulative concussions, especially among professional football players. The SI article relates, “At the Veterans Administration hospital in Bedford, Mass., one of the world’s foremost experts on repetitive brain trauma slipped a slide into a microscope. Dr. Ann McKee, an associate professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University who has been studying the brains of deceased football players, wanted to illustrate the damage that repeated hits to the helmet can cause. This slide of a cross-section of a human male brain, magnified 100 times, showed scores, maybe hundreds, of tiny brownish triangular bits of a toxic protein called tau, choking off cellular life in the brain.”

“This is Louis Creekmur,” said McKee. “You can see there are hardly any areas untouched by the damage. Like with Wally Hilgenberg, it is widespread in Louis Creekmur. I would call it incredible chaos in the brain. Continue reading