According to published reports, the National Football League has suspended a program to track concussions with the use of helmet sensors. The sensors are ineffective in predicting concussions.
Helmets cannot prevent concussions and current technology cannot provide accurate information concerning the multiple forces being applied to the brain upon impact. In fact, since it is the brain moving within the skull that causes brain damage, an impact need not occur for a concussion to take place.
Simply put, football is a concussion delivery system. Helmets despite all of the rhetoric on the part of the NFL do not make the sport safe.
You can read the full story by clicking here.
New York Personal Injury Lawyer Shana De Caro elected to Board of Directors-Brain Injury Association of America
I am pleased to announce that my partner, Shana De Caro, Esq. has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America. Shana and I practice law together in the New York personal injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP. For over 30 years our nationally recognized personal injury law firm have represented individuals and their families following brain injury and other catastrophic injuries caused by vehicular, premises, construction accidents and medical malpractice.
Shana also serves as the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and is the Secretary and a Trustee of the Civil Justice Foundation, Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society and services as a member of the Advisory Board, Acquired Brain Injury Program, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Shana is a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers and is an elected Fellow of the Melvin Belli Society. She has been selected as a New York Super Lawyer.
The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE) will host a webinar, Stress and Anxiety Following TBI, as part of its monthly webinar series on Feb. 12, 2015 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST
Sign up for the webinar by clicking here
According to the sponsors, at the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:
- Describe the complex interaction between the effects of stress and anxiety during the recovery course of TBI.
- Examine and select strategies for treating co-morbid symptoms with the core symptoms of TBI.
- Discuss the integration of evidence-based practices into the assessment of stress and anxiety following TBI.
Here is the course description:
"Current research notes when injury or stress occurs, behavior reinforces the optimal biological conditions of survival. Similarly, when a brain injury occurs on the battlefield, the injured service member may experience both a TBI and a stress or fear response. If the threat or anxiety becomes overwhelming, the service member may revert to protective modes, including exacerbation of posttraumatic stress disorder, family conflict, alcohol or substance abuse, or other maladaptive reactions. The discussion will include a variety of evidence-based assessments and treatment strategies related to stress and anxiety following TBI."
The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force and the Brain Injury Association of America have set aside Wednesday, March 18, 2015 as Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.
The schedule of events for the day is:
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Brain Injury Awareness Fair
First Floor Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Briefing: Finding a "New Normal": Post-Injury Supports and Services That Make a Difference
121 Cannon House Office Building
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Reception Celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building
Plan to attend to network with other national and federal agencies and to visit with your Members of Congress regarding key issues affecting brain injury. The Brain Injury Association of America web site under government affairs will post further information.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is sponsoring a free webinar for individuals with brain injury and their families discussing strategies to assist in dealing with the consequences of brain damage.
Brain Injured Moments
Thursday Feb. 12, 2015
3:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Pacific
According to the announcement of this webinar by the Brain Injury Association of America:
TBI survivors may experience intermittent problems in cognitive functioning that may make them feel that they are at the mercy of their injuries. Fortunately, most cognitive impairments caused by TBI are not constant and only cause trouble at certain times in certain places and follow predictable patterns.
In this webinar for people with brain injury and their families, Dr. Maria Romanas will discuss strategies to help you pay attention to, write down, and understand your "Brain-Injured Moments." By doing this, you can discover your own particular patterns of Brain-Injured Moments so that you can learn to anticipate them and even prevent them from occurring. This practical approach can help you gain control control, accelerate your recovery, and maximize your functioning.
To register click here
Honored to be quoted in today’s New York Times on the dangers of football to our nation's youth. To Allay Fears, NFL Huddles With Mothers. Despite the marketing attempts by the NFL to create an illusion that football can be made safe, it cannot be. Football is a concussion delivery system!
As we approach the Super Bowl and the focus is on exciting and controversial new ads and whether the NE Patriots were culpable in the deflation of footballs, it might be better to concentrate on the disabling injuries sustained by players and the implications of the message that this new marketing scheme sends to parents and children about the safety of the sport.
The Brain Injury Alliances of Oregon and Washington will be hosting The 13th Annual Pacific Northwest Brain Injury Conference 2015 “Living with Brain Injury & Neurological Changes: Thinking Outside the Box” on:
Thursday March 12th through Saturday March 14th 2015
The location of this year’s conference is:
Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel
8235 NE Airport Way
Portland, Oregon 97220
You can obtain more information or to register by clicking here.
The Brain Injury Association of Delaware will host its 24th Annual Brain Injury Conference on Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 8 AM to 4 PM at Dover Downs, 1131 N. DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19903
For more information or to register go to the Brian Injury Association of Delaware web site
Virginia Brain Injury Association: 14th Annual Conference: Opening Doors: Communities, Partnerships, Opportunities Brain Injury Association of Virginia
The Virginia Brain Injury Association has announced its 14th Annual Conference: Opening Doors: Communities, Partnerships, Opportunities Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Date and Location:
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Westin Hotel, Richmond, VA
Registration Deadline is February 27, 2015
"This one-day event provides professionals, persons with brain injury, and caregivers an opportunity to learn more about current issues and resources for those involved with the brain injury community. Examples of session topics include: Prescribed Drugs and TBI, Assessing & Treating Co-occurring PTSD and TBI, Cognitive Linguistic Impairment After TBI, and Return to Learn after TBI."
Visit the Brain Injury Association of Virginia website for more information and a detailed brochure.
Vermont Brain Injury Association Studying Incompetence to Stand Trial as a Result of a Traumatic Brain Injury
In 2014, the Vermont legislature passed Act 158. Act 158 addresses the commitment of a criminal defendant who is incompetent to stand trial because of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It provides the court with the authority to commit a criminal defendant who has been found incompetent to stand trial because of a TBI to the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.
The Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are conducting a research study to identify promising and/or evidence-based practices for treating individuals who are found incompetent to stand trial due to TBI or not guilty by reason of insanity in support of this change in legislation. The study focuses on reintegration into the community consistent with public safety.
he Brain Injury Association of Vermont and Flint Springs Associates are seeking insights from brain injury organizations as part of this research effort. If you are able to help, please take a few minutes to respond to the questions below, or provide contact information for the person(s) who may be able to assist, and send them to:
Trevor Squirrell, Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of Vermont
1. What happens to people with TBI in your criminal justice system who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of law?
2. Is there a process currently dictated by statute, in your state, to address individuals with TBI who are unable to conform their behavior to the requirements of the law?
3. Do any programs, either institution and/or community based exist for justice-involved persons with TBI in your region/state?
The following year end legislative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
Administration for Community Living (ACL)
The appropriations bill includes a new general provision to support the transfer of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Independent Living, and Assistive Technology Act programs to the ACL in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law in July.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Funding was reduced to $9.3 million (down $23,000) for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program that funds grants to states to increase access to service delivery and to state Protection & Advocacy (P&A) Systems to provide advocacy assistance to individuals with TBI.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH received a little over $30 billion. Several institutes received support in connection with the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative.
Congress noted that Comprehensive Rehabilitation Research Centers serve a high volume of Medicare and Medicaid patients with brain injury, strokes, multiple traumas, and wartime injuries. They included language to urge HHS to evaluate the current prospective payment rate with the goal of maintaining these centers of excellence and continuing the high quality of care provided by these centers.
The bill encourages HHS to investigate the development of new and better standards for testing sports equipment to ensure that athletes have state-of-the-art gear that significantly reduces sports-related brain injuries.
The NIH Rehabilitation Coordinating Committee (NIH RCC) was directed to host a trans-NIH State of the Science Conference on Medical Rehabilitation Research to develop and regularly update a trans-NIH plan for medical rehabilitation science and to better coordinate the grants to adhere to the definition of rehabilitation research recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Medical Rehabilitation Research. BIAA has been a longtime supporter of legislative efforts to enhance the stature and visibility of medical rehabilitation research at NIH.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The bill includes $170 million for Injury Prevention and Control activities, including $6.6 million for TBI and $28.9 million for injury prevention activities.
Medicare Payment Advisory Board (MedPAC)
Current law requires that MedPAC be comprised of a mix of individuals with expertise in the financing and delivery of health care services and have a broad geographic representation. These include, but are not limited to, people with rural backgrounds and experience. The Government Accountability Office is directed to continue to follow the statute when making appointments to MedPAC.
Department of Education:
Rehabilitation - Client Assistance Program
The bill includes $1 million in increased funding for Client Assistance State Grants to help people with disabilities obtain competitive, integrated employment through advocacy and the enforcement of their rights under the Rehabilitation Act.
The bill includes $2.5 million for a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities and $11.8 million for the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID).
Social Security Administration (SSA):
The bill includes $35 million for a disability early intervention initiative as part of the research and demonstration budget. This demonstration project will test innovative and evidence-based approaches to help individuals with disabilities who are not yet receiving Social Security disability benefit remain in the workforce. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is directed to work closely with the Departments of Labor, Education, HHS, and other agencies as appropriate to develop and administer the project, including determining the appropriate target population and the types of interventions or services to be tested. SSA is also to ensure that participation in any demonstration is voluntary and that individuals are not required to waive any of their rights under the Social Security Act.
Veterans TBI Care Improvement Act
The Senate also passed H.R. 4276, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act, which amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The act makes changes to the 2008 Assisted-Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI) pilot program to place veterans with these severe injuries in residential living programs. Among the provisions, the legislation replaces references to "assisted living" with the term "community-based brain injury residential rehabilitative care."
Provisions were included to alter the reporting requirements under the pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assistance to eligible veterans with TBI to enhance their rehabilitation, quality of life, and community integration. In accordance with the legislation, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is to submit reports to the congressional veterans committees on the pilot program for each quarter occurring between Jan. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2017, with regard to:
• the number of individuals who participated in the pilot program;
• the number of individuals who successfully completed the program;
• the degree to which pilot program participants and their family members were satisfied with the program; and
• the interim findings and conclusions of the Secretary regarding the success of the program and recommendations for improving it.
Roughly 200 veterans have participated in the program since its inception. In August, Congress extended the AL-TBI program until 2017. BIAA has championed this program from the onset and has worked to continue its funding and viability.
On Dec. 16, the Senate passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and sent to the president for his signature. The ABLE Act allows for the creations of tax-exempt savings accounts for people born with disabilities or who are diagnosed with a disability by the age of 26. Families may set up accounts and deposit as much as $14,000 per year to pay for services that include transportation, health care, and other long term needs. Accounts can accrue up to $100,000 without impact on eligibility for government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid.
Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income following a Brain Injury--New Webinar
The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey will be hosting a webinar intended to be an introduction to issues surrounding social security eligibility for brain injury victims. ersey
Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015; 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
The New Jersey Brain Injury Alliance has described the content of this webinar as appropriate for nurses, parents, caregivers, or anyone who has sustained a brain injury.
According to the brain injury alliance, participants will learn:
* A short description of SSDI v. SSI,
* Preparing to Apply – what documentation is needed, specifically for brain injury,
* Submitting your application,
* And navigating the appeals process
You can obtain further information regarding registration by clicking here.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is sponsoring two brain injury related webinars for the month of December 2014. The following information has been received from BIAA:
Yoga and Neuropharmacology: A New Path Forward
Thursday, December 4, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific
Yoga and Neuropharmacology may be more similar than you may think.
Join Eric Spier, M.D. and Sarah Adleman, PYT as they discuss how yoga and neuropharmacology can work together to provide a holistic approach to brain injury rehabilitation.
Registration closes Tuesday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific
Comparing CBT and Supportive Psychotherapy for Treating Depression Following TBI|A Mitchell Rosenthal Memorial Research Series Live Webinar
Thursday, December 11, 2014
3:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific
Please join Teresa Ashman, Ph.D., ABPP-Rp, FACRM, Director of Neurorehabilitation Psychology at the Shepherd Center, as she compares cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and supportive psychotherapy for the treatment of depression following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Registration closes Tuesday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern,
2:00 p.m. Pacific
To register for either webinar, click here.
Contratulations to Brain Injury Association of America for securing passage of the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act
The following legisilative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the voice of brain injury in the United States:
Traumatic Brain Injury Act
The TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Nov. 13 and is on its way to the President for his signature. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.). In today's legislative environment, it was no small feat to pass this bill, which had strong bi-partisan support, including Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), who co-sponsored a similar bill in the House, and who co-chair the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force..
The bill authorizes funding through FY 2019 for grants to States and Protection and Advocacy Systems to improve access to rehabilitation and community services and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct surveillance and public education programs. The bill also allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to move the program from its current agency at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to another agency within HHS. New provisions were added calling for the Secretary of the HHS to develop a TBI Coordination Plan and for CDC to conduct a scientific review of the management of children with the TBI.
BIAA, along with the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) support moving the program to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to join other disability and aging programs administered by the agency. As Policy Corner readers know, the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2014, which was signed by President Obama in August, transferred several of programs from the Department of Education to the ACL, including the Independent Living Center, Assistive Technology, and the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research. BIAA and its partners will work with appropriators to move the HRSA TBI programs to ACL as well.
Listen to my interview on The Pulse discussing the unfairness of the NFL Settlement.
When Judge Brody , 15 minutes into the initial presentation of the terms of the settlement and why it was such a good deal interrupted that attorney for the NFL to ask what he meant when he used the term, “TBI” I knew that the 20,000 players who this settlement was supposed to be about were in big time trouble.
I can go on and on about how disgusted I was in listening to the class action attorneys describe what a great job they did and what a terrible case this was except I have to pause to ask the question, if it was such a bad case why was the NFL willing to cough up close to a billion dollars?
In the end, I am saddened to say that this settlement will be approved and the odds of ever getting to the truth of what the NFL knew and when they knew it will never be revealed.
You can read more of my thoughts Brain Injury Attorney Slams Settlement
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy-not effective in treating post concussive brain injury according to new study
Over the years there has been much interest and controversy in the use of high pressure oxygen therapy (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.
According to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association –Internal Medicine (JAMA Internal Medicine) oxygen therapy administered in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is not any more effective than compressed air for the treatment of those suffering from post-concussive traumatic brain injury.
The research involved 72 service members with chronic post-concussive symptoms. The researchers found that the service members who received high pressure oxygen therapy did not better than patients who were treated with only slightly pressured regular air leading the physicians to conclude that there was only a placebo effect for the use of oxygen therapy in both groups.
The research is the latest in a series of studies sponsored by the Defense Department to determine the effect of oxygen therapy following a traumatic brain injury.
An estimated 2.3 million adults and 450,000 children in the United States currently suffer from epilepsy.
Epilepsy or seizures are well known to be caused by accidents and brain trauma. Traumatic epilepsy or traumatic seizure disorder is frequently induced by traumatic brain injury. The epileptic seizure disorder may be triggered by brain injury whether mild, moderate, or severe. Traumatic epilepsy may develop following brain injuries with or without losing consciousness. Both penetrating and non-penetrating head injuries have been found to be the source of epileptic seizures in victims of traumatic brain injury. The risk of developing epilepsy increases with the severity of the initial brain injury.
Seizures can take place days, weeks or even months following a traumatic brain injury.
Attorneys frequently encounter posttraumatic seizure disorders in clients that have fallen, been have been struck by a falling object, or involved in vehicular accidents. The mechanism of injury is diverse, and does not require actual physical contact between the head and another object, but may only involve violent motion of the brain within the skull from sudden acceleration or deceleration. A history of a piercing brain injury or a brain hemorrhage should alert an attorney to the possibility that the trauma that the client has sustained might precipitate traumatic epilepsy. In clients exhibiting symptoms of the post-concussive disorder, a referral to a neurologist to rule out traumatic epilepsy is recommended.
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has scheduled in new practical Webinar “Practical Strategies for Managing Deficit Awareness After Brain Injury”
People are often discharged from rehabilitation before they have fully grasped how their brain injury affects them day to day. Deficit awareness is a key component in:
• improving safety awareness;
• willingness to participate in continuing rehabilitation;
• use of compensatory strategies; and
• improving emotional reactions to others.
This webinar will offer an overview of what "deficit awareness" is, and offer strategies and tools to help the family and the person with a brain injury better manage their deficits as they continue to recover.
The webinar will be broadcast on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern 12:00 p.m. (noon) Pacific time.
Registration closes Monday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 p.m. Pacific
For registration, click here.
The North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) will be hosting its 12th Annual Conference on Brain Injury on April 29th – May 2, 2015 at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.
The abstract tract submission site is now open. NABIS welcomes submissions in the areas of neuro-trauma and neuro-rehabilitation. For information on abstract submission, click here.
Accepted abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Planning Committee and published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.
FOR GENERAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.
Congratulations to my partner, Shana De Caro for her induction on October 9th as a fellow of The Litigation Counsel of America. (LCA)
LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of elite trial and appellate lawyers throughout North America. Fellowship election into this honorary society is highly selective.
Shana was also elected this year to be the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Shana’s legal practice consists of representing individual’s seriously injured as a result of automobile, bus and truck collisions, injuries that take place as a result of hazardous construction sites, unsafe buildings or as a result of medical negligence and hospital malpractice. More information can be obtained at our website, BrainLaw.
The Brain Injury Association of America will be sponsoring a webinar: Understanding Social Security Disability that is free for persons with a brain injury and their families on October 9, 2014 3:00 p.m. Eastern, noon Pacific
The one hour webinar will cover:
• The difference between the Social Security Disability Programs
• The application and appeals process
• The chances of success at different points in the process
• Analysis that is used by the Social Security Administration to determine disability
• The importance of understanding the system to improve the chances of approval
Click here to register
Jim McMahon and Jeremy Roenick Launch Players Against Concussions (PAC) Foundation To Support Concussion Awareness and Prevention—Kickoff event scheduled for Monday, October 6th in Westchester, New York
Players Against Concussions (PAC) is a new nonprofit organization founded by Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick with the goal of preserving sports while making them safer
The PAC mission begins on Monday, October 6th, when celebrities and professional athletes from across the country converge on the Pelham Country Club in Westchester, New York to participate in the First Annual Players Against Concussions Golf Outing.
A morning brunch and press conference is scheduled from from 10am – Noon, followed by an afternoon round of golf, and will conclude with a cocktail hour and dinner beginning at 5pm.
“This is a deeply personal issue for me as both a player and a parent,” said McMahon. “I loved every minute of the football I played as a kid and during my professional career, but I’ve also felt the effects of the concussions I suffered on the field. I’ve seen the lasting effects on teammates and friends, and now I see the statistics that point toward an epidemic of concussions among young athletes. The idea that kids are sustaining head injuries that have the potential to cause permanent, lifelong damage is just unacceptable. We know many of these injuries are preventable, and in terms of protection, we know we can do better through research and innovation. The goal of PAC is to keep athletes of all ages playing the sports they love, but without having to risk the lifelong, debilitating effects of head injuries.”
For more information on PAC, or to request RSVP for the October 6th Players Against Concussions Golf Outing, please contact Mark Ballard or Sabrina Levine at 212-680-0179 or email
Help Elevate Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health--Brain Injury Association of America Legislative Action Alert
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has issued the following action alert today regarding important rehabilitation legislation that is pending in the United States Senate:
• S. 1027 is designed to enhance the stature of rehabilitation and disability research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
• S. 1027 is bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), two individuals who know first-hand the impact that quality rehabilitation services can have on one's ability to regain health, function independently, and return to work, following an illness, injury, disability or chronic condition.
• S. 1027 was introduced in 2013 and the bill seeks to elevate the stature of rehabilitation science, better coordinate the $300 million spent annually on this type of research, and deliver the maximum return on the federal investment. The bill is expected to be budget neutral.
• This legislation is important to the brain injury community. It is critical to maximize the outcomes of rehabilitation and disability science in order to translate findings into better treatments for individuals with brain injury.
• Please join your colleagues, Sens. Kirk, Hatch, Murkowski and Johnson and cosponsor S. 1027.
Please call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and you will be connected to your Senators Office. Please tell the staff you are a constituent, ask to speak to the Health staffer and please use the above talking points.
Specifically, BIAA is asking the following Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to cosponsor this important legislation.
Democratic Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee:
Barbara A. Mikulski (Maryland)
Patty Murray (Washington)
Bernard Sanders (Vermont)
Robert P. Casey (PA)
Kay R. Hagan (NC)
Al Franken (Minnesota)
Michael F. Bennet (Colorado)
Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)
Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)
Christopher S. Murphy (Connecticut)
Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)
Brain Injury Association of America files motion in federal court disputing the terms of NFL settlement
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) filed a motion today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking permission to appear as a friend of the court )amicus curiae to explain concerns it has with the proposed NFL brain injury settlement..
Similar to concerns raised by my partner, Shana De Caro who chairs the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Group and myself in our numerous op-ed pieces that have appeared on the Huffington Post and in the National Law Journal, the Brain Injury Association believes that the settlement unfairly discriminates among different groups of players and fails to provide any compensation to the majority of NFL players who sustained life altering traumatic brain injuries as a result of playing professional football.
Following are some of the areas of concern noted in the affidavit filed in support of the motion to intervene:
•The settlement excludes numerous physical and behavioral consequences of brain injury from the list of qualifying diagnoses for treatment and compensation. A concussion results in a wide range of neurological, physical, cognitive, and neuropsychological impairments that can appear immediately or many years after injury, requiring specialized treatment on an ongoing or intermittent basis.
•The approach to diagnosing impairment is “deeply flawed” and will exclude many former players from receiving compensation. The determination of eligibility is heavily weighted towards those with severe memory dysfunction and/or evidence of neuromuscular abnormality. If a player has impairment in language or visual function, but not in executive function, learning or memory, he will not qualify.
•The downward adjustment of compensation based on the number of seasons played, the age of the player at the time of diagnosis, and incidence of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI) prior to being admitted to the class, demonstrates a serious lack of understanding of concussion and mild TBI. A single concussion, whether diagnosed or not, can result in debilitating physical, cognitive, and behavioral impairments that interfere with the activities of daily living and require a lifetime of treatment. Therefore, the nature and extent of the impairment – not the number of seasons played – should be the determining factor in any monetary award.
•The limitation of pharmacy vendors to mail order pharmacies. Some medications require distribution that controls for temperature, light, vibration, and other conditions and cannot be reliably distributed by mail order. In addition, use of mail order prevents a physician from making quick and immediate medication changes.
•The BAP Supplemental Benefits program fails to recognize the full extent of the treatment team that may be required. The standard of care for patients with TBI dictates that rehabilitation and other medical treatment plans are developed and carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of licensed, credentialed clinicians working in specialized settings and accredited programs. These include endocrinology, physical medicine, ophthalmology, neuro-optometry, otolaryngology, psychiatry, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, and neurobehavioral therapy, among others.
Copies of the motion and affidavit filed by BIAA can be obtained on their website.
The 7th Annual Journey of Hope Gala fundraiser is scheduled for October 28, 2014 at the Union League Club in New York City. Tickets are available on the BIANYS website. This year, the Gala recognizes Wayne A. Gordon, PhD, ABPP with the Champion of Hope Award, Joseph Sandford, PhD with the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award, Judith Avner, Esq. with the Leadership Award, Steven Miller with the Victory Award. Click here for updates and honoree information.
FRONTLINE’S new season begins on September 30 at 10pm ET with League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. With the NFL under fire in the news recently for its abysmal denial regarding its useless corporate guidelines on domestic violence, FRONTLINE will air a 90-minute rebroadcast of League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis. It is projected that more than 150 NFL players will suffer a concussion this NFL season.
Researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology are conducting a research study investigating community life and wellness for caregivers of individuals with a Traumatic Brain Injury and the individuals they care for. To participate in our anonymous 30-45 minute survey, you must be 18 or older, and have either experienced a brain injury or be a family caregiver for an individual with a brain injury. Participants can enter a raffle drawing for the chance to win Amazon $20 gift cards. To participate, please click (or copy and paste into your browser) the appropriate links below:
If you are a caregiver of an individual with a brain injury click here
If you are an individual with a brain injury click here
For additional information about this study, please contact Samantha DeDios-Stern by email
Yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Delaware highlights the need for better enforcement of safety regulations against bus companies and their drivers involved in interstate bus travel.
I was honored to be interviewed yesterday by NBC News about this bus rollover accident which caused two deaths and many severe injuries to the bus occupants. Click here for news story about this fatal bus crash in Delaware
As a member of the interstate bus accident advisory board of the American Association for Justice Interstate Bus Accident Litigation Group, our law firm has handled many cases against bus companies resulting in severe injury and death caused by negligent bus drivers and negligent bus companies.
According to published reports the tour bus company, AM USA Express of Chinatown, New York, had been stopped by federal agents for inspections 30 times since August 2012, and had been cited for 18 safety violations during that period. The most recent of these inspections, on July 23, resulted in two citations for driving the bus in excess of permitted time rules.
Interstate Bus Accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury on our nation’s roads and highways. Thousands of injuries are caused every year due to negligent driving of bus drivers, the failure of bus companies to properly train and supervise their bus drivers, and bus companies’ faulty inspection and maintenance of their fleets. Hundreds of needless deaths are caused by driver error and the poor bus company safety records. Recent deadly bus accidents in New York highlight the urgent need for more state and federal oversight of bus drivers and bus companies.
Bus occupants have a right to expect that a bus driver is properly trained and licensed, well-rested and capable of operating a bus in in a manner so as to protect the safety of all passengers. Passengers, and the public at large, have right to expect that buses are properly inspected and designed, and that all parts of the bus are properly maintained.
When bus accidents occur due to driver error or fatigue, due to improper and unsafe bus maintenance, including defects in the bus or its tires, or a company’s failure to supervise and train its drivers, the victims of these disasters should be able to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
The following legilsative update was prepared by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) who successfully led the coaltion for reauthorization of the TBI Act.
BIAA is pleased to announce the United States Senate passed the TBI Reauthorization Act of 2014, S. 2539, on Tuesday, September 16.
The TBI Act reauthorizes appropriations through FY2019 for TBI prevention and surveillance or registry programs. BIAA worked closely with Senate staff to add language to the legislation that requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a review of the scientific evidence relating to brain injury management in children, identifying ongoing and potential opportunities for research, and to report to Congress on the results of this review.
Susan Connors, BIAA's president and CEO commended the Senate for directing CDC to conduct more research into the management of brain injuries in children. BIAA thanks Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for introducing the bill on the Senate floor and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for moving it through the Senate HELP Committee.
Originally passed in 1996 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2008, the TBI Act represents a foundation for coordinated and balanced public policy in prevention, education, research, and community living for people with TBI. The TBI Act specifically allocates federal funds for programs supporting individuals with brain injury to federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the Health Resources Administration (HRSA).
The House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the House version of the TBI Act in a floor vote on June 24, 2014.
The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Hatch on June 26 and passed out of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 23. The House of Representatives will vote on the TBI Act during the lame duck session which begins November 12. BIAA thanks the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) for their collaboration on TBI Act reauthorization.
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