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Using Massage to Ease Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Massage Today / September 2, 2014

The Brain Injury Association of America states that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents nationwide. The age groups most at risk for brain injury are newborns through age four and teens from 15 to 19 years of age. Every year, an average of 564,000 children are treated for brain injuries in the emergency room and 62,000 children with brain injuries are hospitalized. This is a staggering amount of children suffering with chronic symptoms that often do not have a definitive treatment in mainstream medicine.

 

Concussion Lawsuit Seeks to Force Rule Changes in Soccer
The New York Times / August 28, 2014

A group of soccer parents and players filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday morning against FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, over its handling of concussions. Filed in United States District Court in California, the suit also names American soccer organizations, including U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization, charging that they and FIFA have been negligent in monitoring and treating head injuries. The plaintiffs do not seek financial damages but ask for changes to the sport’s rules, such as limiting headers for children and altering FIFA’s substitution protocols. With the N.F.L., the N.H.L. and the N.C.A.A. involved in concussion litigation, soccer’s governing bodies are the latest to face a lawsuit over head injuries.

FDA Warns Consumers: Dietary Supplements Cannot Treat Concussions
CBS News / August 27, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about dietary supplements that falsely claim to prevent or cure concussions or other traumatic brain injuries. The FDA says supplements with labels that make these claims are not backed up by scientific evidence, and in a consumer alert issued Monday it urged users to beware. Additionally, the FDA says some companies have marketed these products to military service members and veterans who have sustained combat-related traumatic brain injuries. The U.S. Department of Defense was among the first to raise concerns. The warning comes as school is starting up again many student athletes are getting back into competitive sports that can lead to concussion and other serious injuries. The risk for head trauma from contact sports, such as football and wrestling, has provided another marketing opportunity for companies to make false claims that certain dietary supplements can help cure or prevent these types of injuries.

Michael Keck, Ex-Missouri State Player, Had Severe Brain Injury
The Huffington Post / August 26, 2014

Michael Keck played just two years of college football before he was knocked out during practice at Missouri State and gave the sport up for good. He turned combative — punching holes in the wall. He began to struggle in school. Soon he was spending most of his time indoors, with blankets covering the windows to darken the room. Keck died last year at age 25 of what doctors believe was an unrelated heart condition. His brain, at his request, was donated to the Boston University lab that has been researching a degenerative brain condition frequently found in contact-sport athletes.

Research Raises Concerns for New Army Helmet Design
USA Today / August 25, 2014

Tests by Navy researchers on a new Army and Marine helmet design, complete with a visor and a jaw protector, showed blast waves could bounce off the added components and produce unexpected pressure, according to a recent research paper. The Conformal Integrated Protective Headgear System, or CIPHER, prototype came under attack from all sides during the test, conducted by the Naval Research Laboratory, and in all configurations: Helmet only, helmet and visor, helmet and jaw protection, and the full-face coverage of visor and jaw protector. The findings showed that adding face protection didn't necessarily mean lessening blast-wave impact.

In Race to Develop Safer Football Helmets, Many Questions Remain
The New York Times / August 25, 2014

Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema proudly posted a message on Twitter last spring that featured the Razorbacks’ new helmets — a futuristic design by Riddell called the SpeedFlex that is supposed to be the latest in head protection. A vocal proponent of player safety, Bielema is happy to be a part of the cutting edge. But it is a bit of a leap of faith. He has no proof that the SpeedFlex, or any other helmet, can reduce the risk of a devastating head injury. “It’s just like everything else — everything advances, and you get better at it,” Bielema said at a recent Arkansas practice.

Cells Grown in Artificial Tissue Could Help Shape Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries
The Week / August 22, 2014

Scientists have created a technique for growing neurons in artificial brain tissue, which could help researchers discover new ways to help people with traumatic brain injuries. A study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that the neurons responded the way an actual brain would. The rat neurons were grown in a lab, and then seeded into a "3D tissue made from a mix of doughnut-shaped rings of spongy silk protein and a collagen-based gel," NBC News reports. "The tissue maintained viability for at least nine weeks — significantly longer than cultures made of collagen or hydrogel alone — and also offered structural support for network connectivity that is crucial for brain activity," the study's principal author, Min Tang-Schomer of Tufts University, said in a statement.

Football participation increases despite concussion concerns
Los Angeles Times / August 21, 2014

Despite concerns over the risk of concussion injuries, football participation among high school students increased for the first time in five years, with an additional 6,607 boys participating in 11-man football during the 2013-14 school year, according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Assns.

Settlement May Be Near in Career-Ending Attack That Has Shadowed N.H.L.
The New York Times / August 21, 2014

One of the most violent on-ice events in National Hockey League history seemed headed to resolution Tuesday more than 10 years after it took place, as lawyers prepared an out-of-court settlement to a $68 million lawsuit brought by Steve Moore, a former player, against Todd Bertuzzi, the opponent who attacked him during a game and ended his career.

Williamsburg, Norfolk high schools begin using helmet sensors in football
The Washington Post / August 21, 2014

For nearly a year, a group of Loudoun County parents has asked the local school system to install impact sensors on the helmets of high school football players to better detect potential concussions. And for nearly a year, the Loudoun school system has told the parents no.

But four high school football programs south of Loudoun have moved ahead and given their players football helmets containing sensors. Three programs in Williamsburg and one in Norfolk are using devices that send an alert to a trainer holding a monitor on the sideline. They are believed to be the first schools in Virginia to offer the equipment.

Quinn signs concussion education law for coaches
Chicago Tribune / August 20, 2014

Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed a bill requiring concussion education for all high school coaches, saying the measure was needed to safeguard the health of young athletes. Concussions have become an area of keen concern from youth leagues to the pros, and Quinn said it was time to increase protections for high school players.

Vets 'get active, get healed' in athletic competition
Chicago Tribune / August 20, 2014

Organized by World Sport Chicago and in partnership with the U.S. Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Valor Games brings together wounded veterans and disabled active-duty service members for three days of athletic competition.

Under the unofficial motto "get active and get healed," the event encourages veterans to challenge themselves physically, even after potentially devastating injuries. Participants include those with obvious conditions, such as amputations and blindness, but also those with post-traumatic stress disorder or brain injury.

N.H.L. Concussion Lawsuits Consolidated
The New York Times / August 20, 2014

A federal panel ruled that all concussion-related lawsuits brought by retired N.H.L. players would be consolidated into a single suit and heard by the United States District Court in St. Paul, Minn.

How A Man Was Able To Survive A Knife Through His Brain
The Huffington Post / August 19, 2014

A man in the Sichuan province of China recently survived being hit by a knife that fell from an eighth-floor balcony and pierced his skull, according to news reports.

Falling knives are, of course, pretty rare, but cases of people surviving severe head injuries aren't, Temes told Live Science. However, Temes noted that it's important not to equate surviving a head injury with walking away from such an incident unscathed. 

Abbott wins $19.5 million contract to develop brain injury test
Chicago Tribune / August 19, 2014

Abbott Laboratories and the Defense Department on Monday said they have agreed to a multiyear collaboration to develop portable blood tests to help evaluate concussions and other head injuries.

Lake County-based Abbott will receive $19.5 million over the next two years to formulate the tests, which will be performed on its handheld diagnostic system called i-Stat. The U.S. military already uses the device for other purposes.

The man with the missing brain
The Telegraph / August 18, 2014

A medical recovery that is baffling science — and giving hope to head injury patients.

App developers hope to help veterans battling mental health issues
Los Angeles Times / August 18, 2014

POS REP, short for Position Report, is a free iPhone app designed to help military veterans who are in distress or need help adjusting to civilian life.

With military and veterans' suicides near record levels in recent years, the app is designed to help vets find one another, as well as nearby health centers, emergency care and other critical services. 

NFL seeks right answer for marijuana use
The Washington Post / August 15, 2014

Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it’s not simply because more players are using it.

As attitudes toward the drug soften, and science slowly teases out marijuana’s possible benefits for concussions and other injuries, the NFL is reaching a critical point in navigating its tenuous relationship with what is recognized as the analgesic of choice for many of its players.

Arlington buys safer helmets for high school football players
The Washington Post / August 15, 2014

Arlington County's high school football players will have new helmets this year, purchased to mitigate the risk of head injuries and concussions.

Officials announced the new helmets in a letter to parents this week, and said they are part of a “comprehensive concussion management plan” the district has adopted.

The 10 Best Apps To Train Your Brain
The Huffington Post / August 14, 2014

Whether it's to focus at work, do better at school or just stay sharp, there are various reasons for wanting to boost brainpower. But maintaining psychological well-being is equally as important.

Scientists Create a 3-D Model That Mimics Brain Function
The New York Times / August 12, 2014

A doughnut created in a lab and made of silk on the outside and collagen gel where the jelly ought to be can mimic a basic function of brain tissue, scientists have found.

Bioengineers produced a kind of rudimentary gray matter and white matter in a dish, along with rat neurons that signaled one another across the doughnut’s center. When the scientists dropped weights on the material to simulate traumatic injury, the neurons in the three-dimensional brain model emitted chemical and electrical signals similar to those in the brains of injured animals.

Loudoun Valley football parents fight for helmet sensors, but administrators decline
The Washington Post / August 12, 2014

Amid widespread debate about head trauma and the safety of playing football, parents of the athletes at Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va., were thrilled when a Bethesda, Md., company offered to place impact sensors on team helmets. A light would turn on when a helmet took a big hit, an indicator that trainers should check for a concussion.

But Loudoun County school officials declined the offer, saying that the sensors lacked sufficient testing and that the one-ounce devices could void the helmets’ safety certification.

Boxing officials defend decision on no headgear
The Washington Post / August 11, 2014

Boxing officials defended a decision to stop using headgear for male competitors at the Commonwealth Games, saying there had been no concussions at the competition up to Saturday’s medal rounds.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) decided to stop using headgear in events such as the Commonwealth Games last year, citing medical statistics showing the protective padding can cause jarring to boxers’ heads and contribute to brain damage.

Conflicts arise in sports-related concussions fight
The Boston Globe / August 11, 2014

The pitchman at the podium, Chris Nowinski, is a former Harvard football player and professional wrestler (ring name: Chris Harvard) who believes he took too many dangerous hits to the head and decided to do something about it.

Now, as mounting concern over head injuries has spawned a financial boom in the concussion-prevention industry, Nowinski has teamed with his mentor, Dr. Robert Cantu, to take an unusual step. They have launched a product-certification venture through their nonprofit Boston University-affiliated institute to test the efficacy of commercial sensors designed to monitor head impacts.

Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings hospitalized after being hit by line drive
The Los Angeles Times / August 8, 2014

In another scary moment on the mound, Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Jennings was hit square on the side of his head by a line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh's Jordy Mercer during a game Thursday night.

Jennings immediately dropped to the ground and spun around before getting up and staring blankly toward third base. The game was immediately stopped in the seventh inning as players and medical staff rushed to Jennings' side.

John Madden: Kids start playing football in helmets too young
The Washington Post / August 7, 2014

When it comes to youngsters putting on helmets and playing tackle football, John Madden has a strong opinion: He’s adamantly against it.

Premier League Adopts Stricter Concussion Protocol
The New York Times / August 6, 2014

The debate about how to best handle head injuries in soccer became even more inflamed in the aftermath of this summer’s World Cup, when fans witnessed multiple incidents in which players clearly sustained serious blows to the head yet quickly returned to the field. Now, as the top domestic leagues in Europe are set to begin their new seasons, England’s Premier League has announced changes to its in-game injury protocols.

Making an 'ImPACT': USAFA works to mitigate concussions
USAFA / August 5, 2014

More than 250,000 student athletes visit the emergency room every year with head injuries, and tens of thousands of service members are coping with brain injuries from concussions suffered in the line of duty. Both those groups will benefit from a $30 million collaborative study between the NCAA and the Defense Department designed to enhance safety for athletes and military personnel. The study is in line with other Air Force Academy efforts to mitigate head injuries. For the first time, the Academy has provided all incoming freshmen with concussion baseline testing.

Taking a Bullet, Gaining a Cause: James S. Brady Dies at 73
New York Times / August 5, 2014

James S. Brady, the White House press secretary who was wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan and then became a symbol of the fight for gun control, championing tighter regulations from his wheelchair, died on Monday in Alexandria, Va. He was 73.

Nascar Drivers Have Little Help with Concussions
The New York Times / August 4, 2014

Talladega Superspeedway is known on the Nascar circuit for high speeds, packs of cars racing inches apart and spectacular multicar wrecks that fans love and drivers endure. A crash occurs during almost every race at Talladega, a huge Alabama oval, like the one in the final laps of a Nationwide Series event there in May 2012. Eric McClure was driving the No. 14 Toyota that day and was among those involved in the crash. As McClure’s car hurtled about 185 miles an hour toward the infield wall, he knew he was in trouble. His brakes had failed.


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