Specializing in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation
with Emphasis on Trauma to the Brain
San Diego, California
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|What do Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Stan Humphries, Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontain, Dale Ernhardt, Jr., and George Clooney all have in common?
All have suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion. Any concussion is a brain injury, a short paralysis of the brain, although many do not realize that. With the exception of George Clooney, all of these football, hockey and NASCAR stars were wearing state-of-the-art helmets when they sustained their brain injuries.
George Clooney, who received his concussion while filming the movie, “Syriana,” may have struck the back of his head when the chair he was tied to in a scene in the movie was kicked over. According to George Clooney’s father, the physicians have concluded his son’s brain injury occurred not when the chair toppled over but in the snapping of his head back and forth taking simulated punches. In any event, a couple of days later, George Clooney started to suffer excruciating headaches and serious memory loss. This went undiagnosed for almost a year until one of his neurologists found spinal fluid leaking from Mr. Clooney's nose. George Clooney reports that his pain was so unbearable he wanted to kill himself.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in its August 2005 publication, “Facts About Brain Injury,” 1.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year in the United States; 50,000 die; 235,000 are hospitalized; and 1.1 million are treated and released from an emergency department. The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown. There are currently 5.3 million Americans living with a disability as a result of a TBI. (CDC: "Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury.") 80,000 to 90,000 of those suffering TBI each year experience long term or lifelong disability. (CDC: "Living With Brain Injury.")
TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in persons under 45 years of age, occurring more frequently than breast cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, combined. (Brain Injury Association of America: "TBI Incidence.") These results are also described and graphically illustrated in a report from the University of Pennsylvania, “Traumatic Brain Injury: A ‘Silent Epidemic.’”
Children are at particular risk. As reported by the Council for Exceptional Children, approximately one million children and adolescents receive a head injury each year. Of these injuries, 16,000 to 20,000 will be serious enough to cause lasting effects, and one in 500 will be severe enough to cause hospitalization. As the CEC describes:
Loss of consciousness or even impact of the head against a hard surface is not required to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Such injuries can occur where there is a “whiplash” or other sudden movement of the head causing the brain to move rapidly within the confines of the skull, tearing, shearing and bruising areas of the brain with the inside surface of the skull. It appears that George Clooney’s brain injuries likely resulted from this whiplash-effect as his head snapped back and forth from simulated punches.
A traumatically brain injured individual may appear normal and not exhibit any obvious signs of a brain injury. But, if after having suffered trauma to your head, you feel differently about your ability to resume normal life activities at home, school or work, you should insist that your medical treaters pay attention to your complaints.
David L. Goldin
750 B Street, Suite 3300
San Diego, California 92101
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