geldefenderTM Blog

  • Iowa jury awards high school head injury victim nearly $1 million

    An Iowa high school football player was awarded $990,000 in damages and medical fees this week after his school was negligent in how it handled a potential head injury.

     

    During the 2012 season, Bedford High freshman Kacey Strough complained to his coach that his teammates wouldn’t stop throwing balls at his head. Though the coach told him he’d take care of it, nothing was apparently done, and Strough wasn’t removed from play for evaluation. Due to a condition Strough had called cavernous malformation (wherein blood vessels in the brain form abnormally and normal blood flow is disrupted), the incident caused more damage than it might have otherwise.

     

    A few days later, when Strough began showing signs of brain trauma, he was taken to the hospital, where a blood clot near his brainstem was discovered and operated on. Now, more than two years later at the age of 18, he still uses a wheelchair and has permanent brain damage.

     

    The court case accused the school administration of failing to inform coaches of Strough’s condition and consequent increased risk of head injury and of failing to respond to the bullying. It also said the school didn’t comply with the state’s concussion laws, which mandate that coaches and referees must remove athletes from play if a head injury is suspected and cannot allow them to return to the field until being cleared by a medical professional.

     

    The nearly million dollars Strough’s family was given marks the largest payout yet in a high school head injury case and sends a strong message to other high schools that blows to the head absolutely must be taken seriously. Hopefully this ruling will make those responsible for student-athletes pay closer attention to the issue because incidents like this, wherein a possible injury is brushed off or overlooked, cannot continue in our schools. There’s too much at stake.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • A tragic week in athletics across the globe

    A tragic week has passed on the international sports stage, with two athletes dying and another in the hospital after head injuries on the field.

     

    Australian rugby player Nicholas Tooth died Sunday at the age of 25 after a head injury Saturday. He collapsed after a botched tackle attempt and was airlifted to the hospital, where he passed away.

     

    Indian cricket player Ankit Keshri died Monday after losing consciousness during the CK Nayudu national championship Friday. The 20-year-old’s coach, Joydeep Mukherjee, called the knee-to-neck collision with a teammate “one of the worst sights [he had] been witness to on a cricket field.”

     

    And now another 20-year-old cricket player, Rahul Ghosh, is in the hospital after getting hit in the head during a match on Tuesday. At the last report, he is doing well and will be discharged early next week.

     

    It has been a week of sobering reminders of the dangers that head injuries present. We wish Ghosh a speedy return to full health as he continues his promising recovery, and our thoughts and condolences are with Tooth’s and Keshri’s families, friends, and teammates.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Veterans and CTE: The long-term effects of brain injury

    It is a heartbreaking reality that many members of our military suffer TBIs, and they come home to new struggles in their everyday lives as they adjust and recover. But though the short-term results of their injuries have been highlighted many times, it’s rarely been noted that they risk the same long-term neurological effects as professional athletes.

     

    Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a condition similar to dementia that can only be diagnosed postmortem and has been a factor in several suicides, is a real danger for our veterans who have suffered concussions and other head injuries while deployed. All the risks that athletes are now so aware of also apply to other repeated head injury victims, among whom our armed forces are foremost.

     

    It’s easy to remember athletes’ brain injury risks because every week, every day even, we sit in front of our televisions or in stadiums and watch those injuries as they happen. We aren’t similarly reminded when it comes to our armed forces, but we should be just as (if not more) aware.

     

    Head injuries in the line of duty are not typically high-profile and don’t affect fantasy rosters, but they deserve our attention and concern, and their victims help deserve our help – through their short-term recovery and through whatever consequences may surface down the road. Let’s not forget them.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Study shows that head injuries age the brain prematurely

    While head injury has been linked for some time with age-related brain diseases, a new study has shown that head injuries can physically age the brain prematurely.

     

    The study, led by Dr. James Cole of Imperial College London and published in the Annals of Neurology, scanned the brains of 99 people who had suffered brain injuries, some merely one month after the injury and others as many as 46 years later. When compared with the brain structure of healthy people the same age, the head injury victims’ brains appeared an average of five years older.

     

    The study developed a computer model that measures the brain’s white and gray matter to arrive at the estimates, and the scientists are hopeful that it could be useful in the future to identify brain injury victims (and healthy people) who are at greater risk for neurodegenerative diseases later in life. Further study would be required to discover if there are links between “older” brains and such conditions, but if so, people who are at a greater risk could be enrolled in trials and maybe even prescribed pre-emptive treatments. It could be a breakthrough for not only understanding head injuries but also treating neurological disorders before they even surface.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Michigan football player leaves program over concussion concerns

    Following the example that 49ers linebacker Chris Borland set recently, Michigan center Jack Miller has announced that he is leaving football due to concerns over head injuries. He will not be returning to the team for his senior year.

     

    After previously announcing that he was leaving the program, he came forward last week to explain his reasons: that the consequences of concussions scare him and that his health and happiness are more important to him than a game.

     

    Though Miller has already had a few concussions as a player, he feels lucky to have not had adverse symptoms so far. "It's nice walking away before things could've gotten worse,” he explained.

     

    His actions are the most recent in a new trend of athletes leaving their sports as a preventative measure against brain injury. It’s a sure sign that the realities are hitting home for the people they are affecting most closely, and if others continue to follow, it could throw the future of those sports into uncertainty.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Chris Borland leaves 49ers over concussion concerns

    San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland walked away from a promising career last week in order to keep his head healthy as long as possible.

     

    In a surprising move, the 24-year-old rookie announced his decision because, he said, “I don't think it's worth the risk." Through research and conversations with those close to him, he came to the undoubtedly difficult conclusion that he valued his head’s safety more than his football career. Though he has not personally felt any less mentally sharp following concussions he’s sustained, he said he wants to be proactive.

     

    “I'm concerned that if you wait till you have symptoms, it's too late," he explained.

     

    Borland is not the first to take such a dramatic step in order to protect himself from the harmful effects of concussions, but he is one of the most high-profile. The decision displayed both courage and a great deal of foresight. Perhaps, going forward, his actions (and those of others like him) will prompt others to think more deeply of what they risk when they put their brains in harm’s way.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Sideline concussion test proven effective for children

    Parents and coaches may soon have a new tool for evaluating their child athletes for concussions. Researchers from the NYU Langone Concussion Center have determined that the King-Devick test is an effective way to gauge head injuries in children as young as five years old if no physician is available.

     

    The test, developed in 1976, has been applied to college-aged athletes before, but this is the first it has been used to assess children. The study, published in the new Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, showed that the test gave reasonably accurate readings on head injury in the 243 children it followed over a single season.

     

    Here’s how the test works: At the beginning of each season, players are shown a series of three cards with numbers written on them and are asked to read the numbers from left to right as fast as they can. Each card reading is timed, and the three times added together make up the player’s baseline score. After a suspected head injury, the process is repeated and the results compared.

     

    Of course, such tests are never 100% accurate and cannot replace a trained medical professional in diagnosing concussions, but this low-tech tool may be able to give coaches and parents some direction after a hit to the head.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Brain Injury Awareness Month 2015 is here

    After a brief and involuntary technology-mandated break from our posts, we’re back just in time to welcome Brain Injury Awareness Month.

     

    When the terrible dangers of concussions were first brought to the attention of the public, they took the athletic world by storm with all the intensity of a flash fire. It would have been reasonable to assume that, like so many fads with similar starts, the flame would fizzle out relatively quickly, leaving the sports it had touched essentially unscathed.

     

    But here we are in 2015, and the hot-button topic continues to be at the front of our minds, mostly in a low simmer, but flaring up now and then when the flames are fanned.

     

    March is one such time, and with it comes an opportunity both to enrich your own knowledge of head injuries and educate others and them. Events to raise awareness are being held all over the country, so avail yourself of the opportunities to learn and to help others learn. Let’s make this Brain Injury Awareness Month count.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • Rugby's George North continues play after losing consciousness

    The rugby world had a rude awakening this week when Wales’s George North played through a head injury unnoticed until after the match.

     

    He and a teammate bumped heads, and he fell briefly unconscious (less of a red flag, more of a giant neon sign that reads “PROBABLE CONCUSION HERE!”). But he immediately awoke and did not leave the field. It was his second worrying blow, having been taken off the field earlier in the match after being kicked in the head. But he returned after eight minutes, seemingly having been cleared for play.

     

    World Rugby said in a statement that North should have left the field after the incident and that their rules were violated. But also they absolved the Welsh Rugby Union of any wrongdoing since the team’s medical staff and the independent doctor at the match didn’t see the hit. It appears that while the incident was clear on television footage, those on the sidelines did not have a good line of sight and did not see it.

     

    The response to the unsettling event has been startling in its intensity and has turned the head injury spotlight firmly on rugby. Hopefully, it will prompt more vigilance and better protocols so that rugby will be a safer sport for heads in the future.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • NFL protocols must be observed, even when stakes are high

    The term “Concussiongate” has been thrown around every now and then over the last few years as various head injury-related news stories have come and gone. It saw another revival Sunday when New England’s Julian Edelman stayed on the field during the Super Bowl after a helmet-to-helmet hit.

     

    To be fair, “Concussiongate” might be a bit of a misnomer, as whether or not there was any actual concussion is in question. Reportedly, Edelman did undergo the NFL’s protocols and was cleared for play. And if he didn’t actually have a concussion, then great. We’re happy he wasn’t injured.

     

    But it was some time later before he could have had the chance to know that for sure because he didn’t leave the field immediately. The collective cringe of millions of viewers as they watched the hit and the brief wonderings whether he would be taken out of the game were ended with sighs of relief from Patriot fans when the camera cut to the huddle and Edelman was with his teammates.

     

    And that’s the real issue: he wasn’t pulled, even when he was slow to return to his feet after subsequent plays (one of the symptoms specifically mentioned in the NFL protocols for getting a player checked out).

     

    Pointing this out may seem repetitive. We’ve said all this before: same song, different verse. But while it was not the first such occurrence this season, it was the last and by far the most high-profile. The players, the NFL, and the fans can’t keep looking the other way when it’s convenient. Hopefully, next season will see more concern for players’ heads, and we’ll be able to retire the song for good.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

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