Monday, April 15, 2013

HELMETS SHOULD BE REQUIRED




As an injury lawyer, I have handled many cases involving Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Often the diagnosis is not made right away, but only becomes clear over time.

I recall a particular workers compensation case I handled where a man was struck by a machine while wearing a hard hat. Even though he did not need a single stitch, that blow caused his brain to bleed. Over time, his personality changed radically and he became irritable, angry and lacked the ability to concentrate.  His memory became so limited that he would leave pots on the stove for hours and either double dose his medication or not take it at all. Eventually, that single blow caused him to become disabled. 

Motorcycle helmet use is currently at issue in Tennessee. Some want to repeal the helmet ban and allow adult motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, like in Arkansas.  The National Institutes of Health said in Pennsylvania, after dropping the ban, helmet use among riders in crashes decreased from 82% to 58%. Head injury deaths increased 66%. Motorcycle-related head injury hospitalizations increased 78%. Helmet law repeals jeopardize motorcycle riders, and their long-term care for a TBI eventually falls upon all of us.

The very young and the elderly account for many TBI cases. Approximately 18% of all TBI-related emergency department visits involved children aged 0 to 4 years. Approximately 22% of all TBI-related hospitalizations involved adults aged 75 years and older.

Males are more often diagnosed with a TBI (59%). Blasts (such as IEDs) are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.  The NFL gridiron is also rife with head injuries. Over 3,000 players, spouses and other relatives or representatives are suing over TBIs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a few of the leading causes of TBI are:

Falls (35.2%) Falls continued to be the leading cause of TBI (35.2%) in the United States. Falls cause half (50%) of the TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 61% of all TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older.

Motor vehicle – traffic (17.3%) Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause of TBI (17.3%) and resulted in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8%).

Struck by/against events (16.5%) Struck by/against events, which include colliding with a moving or stationary object, were the second leading cause of TBI among children aged 0 to 14 years, with 25%.

Assaults (10%) Assaults produced 10% of TBIs in the general population; they accounted for only 2.9% in children aged 0 to 14 years and 1% in adults aged 65 years old and older.
Very little is understood about concussions and other brain injuries. Some are not properly diagnosed. Tests sometimes do not show the injury. 

Insist on helmets for your loved ones. Fact is, we might ought to all be wearing helmets all the time!

www.PeelLawFirm.com