Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) December 19, 2011 – Finally, there is a program that may better analyze if someone has sustained a traumatic brain injury.
“It used to be that when a young person played football, they got their uniform, cleats and helmet and were slotted into training. No one mentioned head injuries. They were simply accepted as something that ‘just happened’ when playing football. No one complained and no one admitted they felt dizzy if they did sustain a concussion. Now concussions are being discussed and diagnosed more quickly than ever,” added Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
For those that think concussions are just an accepted part of playing a sport, consider the latest figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicate that concussions or traumatic brain injuries among young athletes have increased by 60 percent in the last 10 years, resulting in a startling 248,418 brain injuries nationwide.
Take the case of a local young football player who was violently hit in a football game. He hit the ground hard and injured his neck as well. The linebacker did not think too much about it as he wanted to get back into the game and keep going. The next morning he woke up feeling like he had been run over by a truck. He had no idea that he was suffering from a concussion. He had just shrugged off the sensations he felt after the hit.
“It is stories like this that have brought a greater awareness to the sports world about the seriousness of traumatic brain injury. This change in attitude isn’t much of a surprise in light of the recent revelations about the sudden deaths of three National Hockey League enforcers thanks to the cumulative effects of concussions,” Schuelke outlined. “There were further case studies done on dead football and hockey players’ brains, and the conclusion was the same: that sustained trauma to the brain gravely affected players.”
Often, it is better late than never to have precautionary measures put into place for injuries such as this, which makes the latest Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing program (ImPACT) an exciting addition for diagnosing concussions earlier. This program spots changes in brain function and is a tool to help coaches and team doctors figure out if a player may have a head injury and when they may return to play.
“At an initial cost of $600, this assessment tool may become one of the most used items in a team’s medical arsenal. Players initially take a 20 minute baseline test before they start the football season to measure a variety of things like working memory, attention span, etc. If they suffer a concussion during play, they take the test again and the results are compared to the baseline,” Schuelke explained. “A word of caution though. This program is being used to determine when a player can hit the turf again. It only diagnoses changes in the brain, it does not diagnose concussions.”
To be fair, some say that changes in the brain are an indication of concussion. While that may be the case, they may also be due to something else. Even though ImPACT has the potential to be a diagnostic tool, it would seem there is a way to go before it does diagnose a concussion. In the meantime, it appears to be an excellent tool to use in conjunction with other medical testing.
“If you have been on the receiving end of a nasty hit while playing sports and you sustained a concussion, give me a call. I would be more than happy to discuss your case with you. You need to know what your legal rights are and whether or not you have a personal injury case,” said Schuelke.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944