Category: Head Injuries

Understanding Whiplash in Nova Scotia Car Accidents

by John McKiggan

No matter how severe a car accident may seem in the initial follow-up moments, suffering from whiplash and whiplash associated disorders (WAD) can quickly escalate what appears at first to be a minor incident into a serious medical emergency. 

“Whiplash” is the common term for an injury resulting from an abrupt back-and-forth flexing of the neck. This type of neck pain can vary tremendously individually, but in some severe cases the symptoms of whiplash can include things like harsh back pain, neck sprains, muscle spasms, shoulder pain, concussions, neck stiffness, chronic pain and much more.

These very painful and disruptive symptoms can greatly affect a car accident or sports injury victim’s quality of life, overall ability to provide an income for one’s self and family, and can even lead to emotional injuries like depression and social isolation in some extreme cases. No one should ever have to live with this kind of pain and suffering that can result from a whiplash injury — especially when the injury is caused directly by someone else’s negligent actions.

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.

Do bicycle helmets prevent head injuries? The answer may not be as obvious as you think.

by John McKiggan

Protect your noggin

If you were given the option of being hit on the head with or without a helmet, which would you choose? Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by approximately 85-percent. The choice seems obvious doesn’t it?

If the choice is so clear then why do one-third of Nova Scotian’s still not wear helmets when cycling? According to Statistics Canada approximately 35% of Nova Scotia’s still refuse to wear bicycle helmets on a regular basis.

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.

“Who is responsible when my child is hurt at school?”

by John McKiggan

School Board not liable

A British Columbia school district recently benefitted from a favourable ruling in a case against a former student. In October 2006 the student, Tylor Jackson, was the victim of a terrible assault from another student, Makwalla Hall. The two boys were grade nine students at the time. Makwalla punched Tylor in the head, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on a window. Tylor suffered from a traumatic brain injury and is permanently mentally and physically disadvantaged.

Should schools be responsible for schoolyard assaults?

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.

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.

Using Their Heads: New Study of Athletes and Concussions

by John McKiggan

As a lawyer who deals with personal injury claims, I frequently encounter clients who have suffered some form of brain injury.

In cases of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury the cause is almost always some form of concussion. The effects of concussions can be lasting, particularly in circumstances of repeat impact.

Athletes At Increased Risk