Bipartisan Support for Traumatic Brain Injury Program

While lawmakers in Congress don’t agree on many issues, it has been encouraging for California bicycle accident lawyers to find consensus on important traumatic brain injury legislation.

Traumatic brain injury is a serious public health issue in this country. In June, the House Of Representatives unanimously the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act. This is an important piece of legislation that has not received heavy publicity in the media, but is likely to impact public health policy in the United States for several years to come.

This legislation is designed to provide resources to persons who suffer from traumatic brain injury, and also increase investments in education and research on traumatic brain injury, its treatment and prevention. The bill has been approved by the Of Representatives, and will now move on to the Senate. We hope the Senate will also approve the bill.

As many as 2 million Americans in the United States suffer from brain injury, and are currently living with these traumatic injuries. However, much of the public spotlight on these injuries tends to focus on injuries suffered by veterans, especially those returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also important to understand that the ordinary American is much more likely to suffer a brain injury in a slip and fall accident or a bicycle accident than on the battlefield. Every day, Americans suffer brain injuries when they tumble downstairs, play sports like football, or perform everyday tasks.

You can reduce your risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury. Wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or bicycle. Only wear a helmet that is strong, sturdy, meets federal specifications and is manufactured by a reputed manufacturer. “Fall-proof “ your home especially if you’re a senior citizen.

Bicycling and Brain Injuries

It’s no news that the bicyclist who is not wearing a helmet is at a much higher risk of suffering serious, and possibly even fatal brain injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, there were 800 bicyclist fatalities across the country in bicycle accidents, and more than 510,000 bicyclists bicycle accident-related injuries. Every year 26,000 bicycle injuries comprised of traumatic brain injuries.

These are some of the most serious injuries facing bicyclists, and a helmet can be a bicycle bicyclist’s sole chance of minimizing the risk of such injuries. Brain injuries are not only disabling and debilitating injuries, but also some of the most expensive injuries. An average brain injury victim can go through millions of dollars in expenses over a lifetime of care.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there has been a 30% increase in the number of hospital emergency room visits that are linked to traumatic brain injury. The findings were seen over a four-year period, and the researchers believe that the increase in the number of emergency room visits is possibly the result of greater awareness about the dangers of brain injuries, especially milder injuries like concussions.

You can minimize your chances of suffering a brain injury in a bicycle accident. Wear a helmet every time you bicycle. If there are other people in your family who bicycle, make sure that they are all helmeted too. The helmet must be properly fitted, and must meet federal safety guidelines.

Children must be protected against these injuries, because their brains are still growing, and may be much more vulnerable to the long-term effects of injury. If your children refuse to wear a helmet, get them involved in the process of buying a helmet.

Take care to avoid being involved in an accident. Ride with the traffic flow, and not against it. Make sure that you’re aware of all traffic signs and signals, and follow all traffic rules stringently. Learn the correct hand signals and use these correctly.

Bicyclists Cannot Afford to Ignore Brain Injury Risks

Last year, a study found that in spite of all the attention that is currently being paid to the risk of brain injuries affecting football athletes, it is bicyclists and not football players who have the highest risk of sports-related brain injuries. This March, the Brain Injury Association of America commemorates Brain Injury Awareness Month, dedicating this month to increasing understanding about this devastating injury.

According to the research that was released last year by the American Association of Ideological Surgeons, bicycle accidents were involved in approximately 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related brain injuries that resulted in a visit to an emergency room in 2009. Football only accounted for approximately 47,000 of those injuries, in spite of all the attention that is currently being paid to the link between brain injury and football. The National Football League is currently embroiled in a national controversy that centers on its failure to warn players about the risk of brain injury while playing football.

Bicycling was also the single biggest cause of head injury in children below the age of 14. In this age category, the researchers counted more than 40,000 brain injuries in bicycling accidents, roughly double the number that were caused by the football.

Yet, you hear very little about preventing the risk of brain injuries involving adults and children while bicycling. There is a lot of research currently being conducted into the type of helmet that football athletes should wear to reduce the risk of multiple concussions to the head while playing the sport. You don’t see similar research being conducted on the best helmets to prevent brain injuries. You don’t even see that many awareness campaigns that promote bicycle helmet use among adults or children.

Need to Promote Bicycle Helmet Usage among Children

All bicyclists must wear a helmet while riding, and it is even more important that children, who may be more vulnerable to severe or fatal brain injuries in an accident, are adequately helmeted while riding. However, statistics in Los Angeles seem to indicate a worrisome trend among parents to allow their children out riding without wearing a bicycle helmet.

According to recent research that was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, just about 11% of children above the age of 12 in Los Angeles County who were involved in a bicycle accident that resulted in injuries, were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Some categories of children are slipping through the cracks, as far as helmet usage is concerned. In particular, California bicycle accident lawyers are worried about lower bicycle helmet usage rates among African-American and Hispanic children. Children from lower social economic groups were also found to be less likely to wear helmets while riding.

The Bike Helmet Safety Institute estimates that approximately 57% of all bicycle accident fatalities every year could be prevented if bicyclists were wearing a helmet while riding. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that bicycle accidents injure children much more seriously than adults. Children may be much more vulnerable to the kind of serious injuries that can result from a bicycle accident, like spinal cord injuries or head injuries.

The children who were included in the study had an average age of approximately 13, and 64% of the children were male. These findings seem to indicate that there is a greater need to focus on increased helmet usage among older children and adolescents as well as young male bicyclists.

New Brain Injury Research Uses Fruit Flies

Approximately 75% of all bicyclists who are involved in bicycle accidents every year suffer head injuries. Not every bicycle accident will result in a fatal injury. However, most of these accidents will result in brain injuries, that range all the way from a mild concussion that may not be life threatening, to a skull fracture or a traumatic brain injury with long-term consequences. Needless to say, brain injury research is a topic that almost every California bicycle accident lawyer is interested in.

A new study that has recently been announced makes use of an unusual subject to understand the dynamics of an injury. The research has been kicked off by a scientist at the University Of Wisconsin-Madison. He and fellow researchers have focused their efforts on understanding brain injury in humans, by focusing on the fruit fly.

The brain of the fruit fly is contained in a hard cuticle, and the researchers found that the basic mechanisms and operations of the fly’s brain and its effect on the nervous system, are very much the same as in mammals and human beings.

During the research, they found several similarities between brain injuries in human beings and flies. Just as with humans, few flies die immediately after suffering a head injury. They also found that after a period of treatment, the flies that received treatment showed many of the same long-term physical consequences of head injury as humans do. For instance, these flies were temporarily incapacitated soon after the head injury, and also showed other symptoms, like loss of coordination and inactivation of the immune response. These flies also suffered neurodegeneration of the brain, and were also likely to die earlier from their injuries.

The researchers hope that these similarities between flies and mammals will help them understand why brain injuries result in the kind of long-term consequences that they do.