Posts tagged with "brain injury"

Can I Sue for my Child’s Brain Injury During Sports?

Organized sports can be an extremely positive experience for adolescents and teens, where they practice setting personal goals, cooperating with a team, and competing with rivals. Unfortunately, youth sports can also lead to serious injuries and even death. What happens if your child is injured while playing a game in an organized school sport? Can you sue your public school?

In a word, no.

High school sports like football are known to be dangerous, and injuries including concussions are a foreseeable risk that players and their parents are aware of when they choose to participate. It’s expected that cheerleaders may take an unexpected tumble now and then. Both minor and serious injuries are risks people accept when they play.

What’s more, Massachusetts protects its public institutions, including schools, from lawsuits. This is because municipalities could go bankrupt if enough lawsuits were resolved, and the state legislature wanted to prevent that from happening.

 

Serious Injuries From Other Causes

 

What happens if the injury was caused by a faulty piece of equipment, such as a helmet that failed to protect a player’s head? That is a potential product liability case, but from our experience, those cases are difficult to win.

Here’s another scenario: A high school pitcher gets mad and throws a baseball at his own dugout, walloping a teammate in the head. The victim gets a serious injury. Can his family sue the pitcher’s family?

This is a little tricky. As we’ve written before, civil suits are not for harm caused intentionally such as an assault. Those are criminal matters, and theoretically, this would be a criminal matter and not grounds for a lawsuit.

It’s rare that someone would admit he threw the ball and tried to injury another player. Most likely, he would say he never meant to hit anyone, or he lost control and didn’t realize what he was doing. Still, it’s difficult to find a firm that would take that case.

Here’s another scenario: The coach is driving a student home from practice and gets in a car accident. The player is injured. This could be grounds for a lawsuit, against the driver or of another person who causes the accident, but this isn’t really a school sports scenario anymore. There’s nothing inside the game you can sue for, but we’re not outside the game and into the world at large.

 

What can you do?

Every case is unique. If someone in your family has been hurt in any scenario, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your options.

New discovery sheds light on connection between Traumatic Brain Injuries and depression

Over the past ten years, doctors and medical researchers have stepped up efforts to learn more about the ways in which traumatic brain injuries affect patients’ lives. In some cases, the long-term effects of a TBI are not only physical and cognitive, but emotional, as well. Recently, researchers from Ohio State University published a study that may explain why some of those who have suffered mild TBIs develop depression later on in life.

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, compared the brains of mice that had suffered TBIs with the brains of mice that had not. The injured mice exhibited some physical symptoms in the time immediately following their injuries, but each one seemed to fully recover in about a week. After 30 days, researchers examined the brains of the injured mice. They discovered that the injured brains showed signs of continued inflammation caused by a heightened immune response. This inflammation corresponded with depressive symptoms observed in injured mice that were not observed in uninjured mice. The researchers believe that these problems would have worsened over time had they continued to monitor the mice.

In an uninjured brain, cells called microglia act as the primary defenders against infections and injuries by producing inflammation triggering chemicals. This inflammation is not severe enough to cause damage, but rather is just enough to help the brain repair itself. After a brief period, the inflammation subsides.

In injured brains, however, the microglia go on high alert and generate an immune response that causes excessive inflammation. Under these circumstances, even if a patient appears to have recovered fully from a TBI, his brain is damaging itself with its own immune system. In some cases, it may take years before this damage begins to exhibit itself, and it may be the cause of depressive symptoms.

This study is important because it provides essential insight into possible treatments for those with TBI related emotional issues. First, it may be possible to develop drugs that stop the brain’s natural immune response in the time after an injury, which would reduce inflammation and help prevent long-term damage. Second, knowing that depressive symptoms arise due to an inflammatory response explains why patients with TBI related depression do not typically respond to antidepressants.

Treatments that prevent or reverse the brain’s immune response are likely years away, but understanding the problem is the first step to helping those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.