Category: Brain Injury

Helmets a Poor Source of Protection from Concussions

by John McKiggan

Obviously a football player would never go onto the field without his/her helmet. But a new study concludes that helmets may provide a false sense of security when it comes to protecting players against the effects of concussion.

Concussions a Major Risk for Young Athletes

One of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Frank Conidi stated “protection against concussion and complications of brain injury is especially important for young players, including elementary and middle school, high school and college athletes, who’s still developing brains are more susceptible to the lasting effects of trauma”. Conidi is the Vice Chair of the American Academy of Sports Neurology Section.

Only a 20% Risk Reduction

Researchers tested the ten most popular football helmet designs to see how well they protected against traumatic brain injury. The office of the study found that football helmets only reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury by about 20% compared to wearing no helmet at all. While 20% is not insignificant it is a surprisingly low figure and one that seems counterintuitive.

Hockey Players Sue NHL for Concussion Claims

by John McKiggan

It’s the time of year that hockey is on the minds of many Canadians as we gear up for a Christmas tradition, watching the World Juniour Hockey tournament in Sweden.

Concussion Class Action

But in the United States, hockey is in the news for a different reason. Ten former National Hockey League players have filed a class action against the NHL claiming the league concealed evidence of the risks posed by repeated concussions and failed to protect players from head injuries by failing to implement rules that would protect players from head shots and other high risk behaviour.

Hockey Canada insurance doesn’t cover concussions! Say what?

by John McKiggan

As a personal injury lawyer I have seen many examples of the dangers of brain injuries in sports. In particular I have written about the potential lasting effects that brain injuries can have on child athletes. See for example:

Sudden Impact: Liability for Sports Related Concussions

Brain Injuries: Minor Hockey Players 10x More Likely to Suffer Brain Injuries

Predicting recovery time from concussions: New research may help brain injury claims

by John McKiggan

As a personal injury lawyer in Nova Scotia I commonly deal with clients who have suffered head injuries and concussions.

One thing that I have noticed is the symptoms and severity of head injuries, and how long it takes the patient to recover can vary greatly.

One of the challenges brain injury lawyers face is proving what the long term consequences will be for someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. I discuss this in more detail in my public legal education guide: Brain Matter: The Survivor’s Guide to Brain Injury Claims.

Halifax Concussion Scanner: Can new technology protect our kids?

by John McKiggan

Affordable Scanner Detects Brain Injury

Prominent Dalhousie University neuroscientist, Ryan D’Arcy, hopes to use his portable Halifax Consciousness Scanner to assess concussions and brain injuries at hockey rinks and hospitals.

His state-of-the-art scanner uses brain-wave patterns to detect brain damage. Addressing its applicability to hockey, D’Arcy explains that his device could be used pre-season to determine the normal brain function of the athletes. Then, following a hit, the device could quickly determine if there is any deviation.

Mooseheads player fights back after concussion

by John McKiggan

The Halifax Mooseheads start the second round of the playoffs tonight against the Olympiques. The Mooseheads have had an incredible season, setting numerous team and league records in the process.

Marty Frk is one of the major reasons they have done so well, scoring 84 points this season. But he knows what it is like to be down and out.

Last season Marty suffered a terrible concussion and was forced to sit out for over 3 months. The 19-year-old winger said it was the toughest time of his life.

Blood tests for brain injuries: Will new test protect our child athletes?

by John McKiggan

Concussions are a “trending” injury in sports nowadays. I have been trying to help raise public awareness about concussions – the causes, effects, and how we can avoid them, by writing about the issue in past blog posts.

I think it is fair to say the public is finally becoming aware of the dangers of concussions and how often they can happen. The recent Canadian study that linked half of all concussions in child athletes to hockey was an eye opener to many.

The study suggested many brain injuries are being caused by checking from behind. Something that has been against the rules for 20 years.

CTE- The Long Term Consequences of Head Injuries in Sports

by John McKiggan

The results of a study done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) on the brain of legendary NFL linebacker Junior Seau revealed symptoms consistent with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowler, committed suicide on May 2, 2012. An autopsy revealed no illegal drugs or alcohol in Seau’s body.

Seau’s family offered his brain for the study. The NIH conducted a blind study of 3 brains, one of which were Seau’s, found that Seau’s brain had signs consistent with those found in people who have been exposed to repetitive head injuries.

Sudden Impact: Liability for Sports Related Concussions

by John McKiggan

I have been asked to post a copy of the article I wrote for the December 14, 2012 issue of The Lawyers Weekly magazine.

Representing Injured Athletes in Canada

Nothing went well for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but it could have been worse. I’m talking about game 2 when Tigers pitcher Doug Fister took a line drive to the head from Gregor Blanco.

Do Helmet to Helmet Collisions Perpetuate Brain Injury Myths?

by John McKiggan

Last month Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was on the receiving end of a crunching helmet to helmet hit that saw him unconscious on the field for ten whole minutes. While Heyward-Bey gave the crowd a “thumbs up” as he was stretchered off of the field, it comes as no surprise to anyone that he was later diagnosed with a concussion and neck strain.

Fortunately the young wide receiver is expected to make a full recovery.

If you have watched much football you have likely heard the echoing crunch that comes from a helmet on helmet collision. As a brain injury lawyer I can’t help but cringe every time I hear that noise.