Once-Concussed Teenagers Found to Be at Higher Risk for Bullying, Suicide
Education Week / April 17, 2014
Teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion are twice as likely to be bullied and roughly three times as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who haven't, according to a new study published online today in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. The study drew upon data from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, which contains responses from nearly 9,300 students between grades 7 and 12 in 181 publicly funded schools across Ontario. Questions about traumatic brain injuries were added to the OSDUHS for the first time in 2011 and were answered by a subsample of 4,816 students. The teenagers were asked whether they had ever suffered a head injury that resulted in them being unconscious for at least five minutes or required at least one night's stay in a hospital. Just under 20 percent of the students involved in the study had suffered at least one head injury that met either of those qualifications.
Look-Up Line Would Warn Danger's Ahead for Amateur Hockey Players
The New York Times / April 16, 2014
Despite a series of rule changes and awareness campaigns aimed at eliminating spinal cord trauma, amateur hockey players continue to sustain paralyzing injuries from crashing into the boards. Tom Smith of Swampscott, Mass., had the extraordinary misfortune to incur two separate spinal injuries, in 2008 and 2009. “Hockey was my life,” said Smith, 24, who walks with the aid of two canes. “I didn’t want anyone to have the game of hockey ripped away from them because of a head injury, a neck injury, any injury. So we came up with the Look-Up Line.”
More Ex-Players Sue NHL
The New York Times / April 16, 2014
Three more retired hockey players have sued the N.H.L. alleging that the league allowed fighting and promoted violence while minimizing the risk of head injuries. The three are Dave Christian, who was on the United States Olympic team for the 1980 Miracle on Ice and who played 1,009 N.H.L. games; Reed Larson, the highest-scoring American defenseman in N.H.L. history when he left the league in 1990; and Bill Bennett. The complaint, filed Tuesday in Federal District Court in Minnesota, echoes two other suits recently filed by retired hockey players. Christian, Larson and Bennett allege that the N.H.L. put them at a higher risk of memory loss, depression, cognitive difficulties and neurological diseases like dementia.
Concussion Cases Inspire New Course at George Washington's Law School
The New York Times / April 14, 2014
The revelations that hits to the head may lead to long-term brain damage have rocked the football world at all levels, alarming coaches, players and their parents and forcing the N.F.L. and the N.C.A.A. to tighten safety standards. Given the consequences of the injuries, lawyers, too, have taken note, including those representing the 5,000 retired players who sued the N.F.L. over claims that the league hid the dangers of concussions. The notoriety of that case also prompted George Washington University’s law school to start what it said was the first course devoted to the legal implications of traumatic brain injuries.
NHL Promoted Violence Regardless of Health Risk, Players' Suit Says
The New York Times / April 11, 2014
Nine former professional hockey players have filed a lawsuit against the N.H.L. that says the league “intentionally created, fostered and promoted a culture of extreme violence.” The suit, which was filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, is the latest in a growing string of challenges to the N.H.L. Similar to suits brought by retired N.F.L. players, the complaint said that the N.H.L. failed to take adequate steps to warn the players of the dangers of the sport and deliberately promoted violence for profit. The complaint is more graphic than other suits brought by former hockey players, highlighting the role of enforcers in the N.H.L. over many years and mentioning movies that celebrated fighting in hockey.
Social Skills a Casualty of Childhood Head Injury, Study Suggests
HealthDay / April 11, 2014
Serious head injuries may be linked to children's lack of ability to interact with others, a new study indicates. Researchers looked at a group of children who had suffered a traumatic brain injury three years earlier, most often in car crashes. Those with lingering damage in the brain's frontal lobes had lower-quality social lives, according to the Brigham Young University (BYU) study in the April 10 issue of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. The study did not determine a cause-and-effect relationship, only an association. "The thing that's hardest about brain injury is that someone can have significant difficulties but they still look OK," neuropsychologist and study author Shawn Gale said in a university news release.
Passing Concussion Tests, Harper Returns to Lineup
The New York Times / April 10, 2014
Shortly after the first group of Washington Nationals finished batting practice, Manager Matt Williams casually asked outfielder Bryce Harper if he was feeling well. Harper nodded and continued running into the dugout. Williams’s inquiry, as informal as it was, was one of several measures the Nationals took Wednesday to ensure that Harper, their budding superstar, was not experiencing concussion-like symptoms after he was kneed in the head while sliding into second base in the second inning of Monday’s season opener. After passing every test, Harper was back in the lineup.
Experts: Hood Shooter Fit Rampage Killer Profile
Military.com / April 9, 2014
He was depressed, according to the Army. He claimed he suffered a brain injury and also had post-traumatic stress. The search for answers as to why Spc. Ivan Lopez opened fire on strangers at Fort Hood on April 2, killing three and wounding 16 before turning the weapon on himself, may take months to resolve, if ever. Some experts, however, believe that Lopez fits the profile of a typical rampage killer motivated most often by simmering resentment and revenge rather than a sudden burst of rage. Those experts, none of whom knows Lopez, based their assessment on years of study about the dynamics of mass killings.
Alaska, No. 1 for Brain Injuries
The Northern Light / April 8, 2014
According to the Alaska Brain Injury Network, or ABIN, Alaska ranks No. 1 in the nation for recorded brain injuries but lacks proper treatment or rehabilitation services for those affected. Many Alaskans experiencing brain injuries go without proper diagnosis and treatment or are transported out of state for rehabilitation. “Traumatic brain injury is one of the most misunderstood and unrecognized medical issue in Alaska because it’s an ‘invisible disease,’” said ABIN executive director Brenda Bogowith.
VisionQuest developing iPad software to test for brain injury
Albuquerque Business First / April 7, 2014
VisionQuest Biomedical is developing a new iPad software that may identify traumatic brain injury easily and quickly. VisionQuest recently received a $150,000 National Institutes of Health grant to develop ConQuest, a software program that uses the iPad2’s built-in gyroscope and camera to test athletes for mild concussions on the field. “What we’re hoping to do is use the iPad to screen for concussions,” said principal researcher Ricky VanNess of VisionQuest. “We want to give an athletic trainer a more robust tool.”
Schumacher Showing Signs of Consciousness
The State / April 4, 2014
Michael Schumacher is having "moments of consciousness and awakening," according to the latest update released by his management on Friday. Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One world champion, suffered a traumatic brain injury during a skiing accident on Dec. 29 in the French Alps. The 45- year-old German was placed in a medically-induced coma after undergoing surgery to remove blood clots from his brain. In late January, Schumacher's medical team at the Grenoble University Hospital began reducing his sedation. "Michael is making progress on his way," Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm, said in a statement. "He shows moments of consciousness and awakening. We are on his side during his long and difficult fight, together with the team of the hospital in Grenoble, and we keep remaining confident."
Gunman Had 'Clean Record,' with No Violent Signs, Officials Say
The New York Times / April 4, 2014
Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez had seen a military psychiatrist as recently as last month. He was being treated for depression and anxiety, and had been prescribed Ambien to help him sleep. He had come back from a four-month deployment to Iraq in 2011 and told superiors he had suffered a traumatic head injury there. But military officials said he had never seen combat, and there was no record of any combat-related injury. He was being evaluated for possible post-traumatic stress disorder. Still, military officials said, they had seen nothing to indicate that Specialist Lopez, 34 — who killed three people and himself and wounded 16 others on Wednesday in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Tex. — was violent or suicidal.
Fort Hood Shooting Highlights How Little Is Known About Military Trauma and Homicide
The Huffington Post / April 4, 2014
The deadly shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday comes amid widening awareness of the deep and enduring war trauma that exists within the military after 12 years of war. Army Spc. Ivan Lopez, 34, who was struggling with depression, anxiety and insomnia, killed three people and injured 16 others before taking his own life. There is no scientific evidence proving that such mental health issues increase likeliness to commit mass homicide, and military officials said Thursday the investigation is continuing as they struggle to understand what ignited Wednesday's violence.
Fort Hood Shooting: Iraq Veteran Had Self-Reported a Traumatic Brain Injury
Zee News / April 3, 2014
Washington: Five years after an Army psychiatrist staged a mass murder at US Army's Fort Hood base in 2009 killing 13 soldiers, a similar shooting incident came back to haunt the same base when on Wednesday a soldier shot dead three people besides killing him. Also, 16 were injured in the shooting. However, unlike 2009, this shooting is said to not be connected to terrorism. "There is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism, although we are not ruling anything out," Army commander Lt General Mark Milley was quoted as saying.
Military Caregivers Need More Support, Study Shows
AARP / April 2, 2014
The family members who provide care for the nation’s wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars need more support than they’re getting, says a study of military caregivers released today by the RAND Corporation. The largest-ever survey of more than 1,000 military caregivers found that 25 percent are soldiers’ parents, many of whom are growing older themselves and who will not always be up to the task. “These post 9/11 caregivers are providing invaluable support to the veterans they’re caring for,” says Rajeev Ramchand, a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. “If we don’t step up to support them, their health and well-being will deteriorate. If that happens, the care they provide also deteriorates.” If that happens, “veterans risk institutionalization, homelessness, morbidity and early death,” says Ramchand. “Individuals need to plan for their future, but so does society.”
Famed Canadian Amnesiac Kent Cochrane Dies at 62
CTV News / April 2, 2014
A Toronto man whose brain was among the most studied in the world has died. He was known in his many appearances in the scientific literature as simply K.C., an amnesiac who was unable to form new memories. But to the people who knew him, and the scientists who studied him for decades, he was Kent Cochrane, or just Kent. Cochrane, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident when he was 30 years old, helped to rewrite the understanding of how the brain forms new memories and whether learning can occur without that capacity. "From a scientific point of view, we've really learned a lot (from him), not just about memory itself but how memory contributes to other abilities," said Shayna Rosenbaum, a cognitive neuropsychologist at York University who started working with Cochrane in 1998 when she was a graduate student.
Fewer Helmets, More Deaths
The New York Times / April 1, 2014
More states are being pressured to repeal their universal motorcycle helmet laws. But when those laws are changed, the number of fatalities starts to rise immediately.
Concussion Testing for Nationals' Harper During Game
The New York Times / April 1, 2014
In the second inning of the first game of a season, Washington’s Bryce Harper charged toward second base to break up a potential double play and, in a reward for his efforts, hit his head against the leg of the Mets’ second baseman, Eric Young Jr. After the collision, Harper lay on the ground as Manager Matt Williams and the team trainer ran onto the field and helped him to his feet so he could walk off the field on his own. The question would be whether Harper would stay in the game, especially amid the increasing concern about head injuries.
With the Thrills Come Extreme Risks
The New York Times / April 1, 2014
Despite several well-publicized accidents, like the death last year of the snowmobiler Caleb Moore, just 25, the popularity of extreme sports has soared in recent years. Participants in the X Games and other sporting events regularly perform heart-stopping tricks on skis and snowboards, skateboards and mountain bikes, all of them endlessly replayed on YouTube and television for a growing audience of thrill-seekers. Unfortunately, many young people eager for an adrenaline rush are trying to copy their extreme sports idols, putting themselves at terrible risk. Filled with overconfidence, many participants lack the skills and training for these stunts. And often they fail to use safety equipment that could reduce the risk of serious injury. Amateurs without referees, coaches or medical personnel around can end up with broken bones, crushed skulls, severe concussions, ruptured blood vessels or lifelong disability — if they survive.
A Legacy of Pain and Pride
The Washington Post / March 31, 2014
More than half of the 2.6 million Americans dispatched to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with physical or mental health problems stemming from their service, feel disconnected from civilian life and believe the government is failing to meet the needs of this generation’s veterans, according to a poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The long conflicts, which have required many troops to deploy multiple times and operate under an almost constant threat of attack, have exacted a far more widespread emotional toll than previously recognized by most government studies and independent assessments: One in two say they know a fellow service member who has attempted or committed suicide, and more than 1 million suffer from relationship problems and experience outbursts of anger — two key indicators of post-traumatic stress.
Ukraine Soccer Player Saves Rival After Frightening Injury
The Huffington Post / March 31, 2014
It was a do-or-die moment on the soccer field when a player went down and may have stopped breathing. But a quick-thinking opponent stepped in, saved the day and maybe even his rival's life. The action unfolded during a Ukrainian Premier League match when Oleh Husyev of the Dynamo Kiev took an accidental knee to the face from Denys Boyko, goalkeeper for the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, and went down hard. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk midfielder Jaba Kankava didn't rush after the ball with most of the rest of the players; instead he raced to his unconscious rival's side. Kankava flipped Husyev over and frantically began sticking his fingers into Husyev's mouth. Husyev's tongue was apparently blocking his airway, leaving him unable to breath.
As Officer Recovers, Alleged Shooter Again Deemed Unfit for Trial
Alexandria Times / March 31, 2014
A little more than a year after nearly losing his life in the line of duty, police officer Peter Laboy is back on the job. Chief Earl Cook said the one-time motorcycle officer has begun returning to the department’s West End headquarters building several days a week as part of his ongoing recovery. Laboy, 46, suffered a traumatic brain injury after being shot in the head in February 2013. “He is still a long way from deciding what his life is going to be,” Cook said. “But he’s there and he’s starting to recover and we love that.”
MMA Brain Injury Risk Higher
ESPN / March 31, 2014
About one-third of professional mixed martial arts matches end in knockout or technical knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. University of Toronto researchers examined records and videos from 844 Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts from 2006 to 2012 for the study published this month. They found that 108 matches or nearly 13 percent ended in knockouts. Another 179 matches, or 21 percent, ended in technical knockouts, usually after a combatant was hit in the head five to 10 times in the last 10 seconds before the fight was stopped.
Snowboarder Kevin Pearce on His Traumatic Brain Injury: My Brain Is So Fragile Now
The Huffington Post / March 28, 2014
World champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce was a strong contender to win gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when an accident during a training session changed his life forever. A botched trick attempt left Pearce in a week-long coma and in critical care for 27 days. He shared the story of his recovery on HuffPost Live. "It was crazy how I just kind of had to relearn everything," he told host Nancy Redd. "I had to learn how to talk and walk and swallow and eat and do everything all over again."
Navy Football Player Will McKamey Died This Week from Brain Injury. Who's to Blame?
The Daily Beast / March 27, 2014
The year was 1893 and a Navy football player named Joseph ”Bull” Reeves was warned by his doctor that he would suffer “instant insanity” or death if he suffered another head injury. Reeves responded by going to an Annapolis shoemaker. The result was the leather headpiece that Reeves wore as the world’s first football helmet during the Army Navy game of 1893. He survived to become an admiral known as the Father of Carrier Aviation. In the meantime, football helmets evolved in an attempt to minimize the damage that players suffered when they inevitably received blows to the head. But however advanced the design and materials, however much cushioning was added, there was no way to eliminate the danger entirely.
Brain Injuries Can Lead to PTSD
U-T San Diego / March 26, 2014
Military personnel who suffer traumatic brain injuries during active duty are much more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over time, according to a recent study by a team of San Diego-area scientists. The study, led by researchers from the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, also found pre-deployment PTSD symptoms and high combat intensity were significant factors in developing PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder which can be caused by experiencing or witnessing life-threatening events. The most common sufferers include military personnel after active duty, individuals who have experienced serious accidents or victims of assault.
How a Thumb-Sized Gauge Is Revolutionizing Traumatic Brain Injuries
The Daily Beast / March 24, 2014
In 2011, Scott Featherman was in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a scout platoon leader with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division. He patrolled on foot, and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) filled the donkey paths that crisscrossed the wadis and hills. “I was hit several times when I was over,” he says, “and you have no clue if you’re hurt. You get back up, say “Am I good? Looks good.” And then you go back out.” Was Featherman really “good,” though? How can you tell? If he wasn’t bleeding out, had all of his fingers and toes, knew what day it was, and had no nausea or headache, was he good? A recently released report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) says maybe not. Surveying the current research, the IOM found large gaps in our knowledge of the medical impacts of explosive blasts.
Starbucks CEO Donates $30M to Help US War Veterans
Townhall.com / March 24, 2014
Here’s something that will definitely make that $5 cup of coffee go down a little smoother: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced Wednesday that he will be donating $30 million to help our war veterans. The donation will mostly go toward traumatic brain injury and PTSD research, he told CBS News. "Depending on who you’re talking to, 20, 30, 40 percent of the two million people who have served are coming back with some kind of brain trauma or PTSD. So we’re going to fund the opportunity for significant research and for medical practitioners and science to understand the disease and, ultimately, hopefully, come up with some — a level of remedy.”
High Rate of Emotions in Vets with Mild Brain Injury
USA Today / March 21, 2014
A survey of several hundred veterans with mild brain injury, most coming in combat and from exposure to blast, shows that 60% reported suffering a neurological condition that involves exaggerated emotional responses such as crying or laughing. "We were little surprised by the findings for this population," said Regina McGlinchey, director of the Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders at a VA hospital in Boston. "We didn't expect to see that high of a prevalence." It is possible that many combat veterans suffer from the affliction but do not talk about it, she said.
Avoid Sleep Debt After Traumatic Brain Injury
DoD Live / March 20, 2014
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury can be painful enough in itself but recovering from one can be rife with its own kind of agonies. Anthony Panettiere, National Intrepid Center of Excellence Neurologist and Sleep Medicine specialist, says in many cases symptoms like headaches, dizziness, irritability and memory and focus problems can last up to six months after the initial injury (for some people, they can last even longer). He says that sleep is crucial to healing from these injuries and alleviating the subsequent systems. However, sleep disturbances are also a regular side-effect of TBI. “In patients with TBI and [post-traumatic stress disorder], sleep is almost universally affected. The most common symptom is insomnia (difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early),” he says. Sleep-disordered breathing can also be a contributing factor to sleep disturbances, affecting up to 50-60 percent of the TBI and PTSD patients he sees at the National Intrepid Center’s overnight sleep study.