No Pain No Gain: Gone too Far?

August 30, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you were in an auto accident, hurt at work, fell victim to an improper football tackle or even fell down a flight of stairs head injuries are the most concerning for paramedics, doctors, and rightfully so, you. 

Initial signs of impairment after impact to the head could be far worse than the things we initially dismiss them away as being.  It may be far worse than a headache, memory loss or a minor concussion.  The throbbing pain, tightness or even longer-term memory loss may be more dangerous and detrimental to your neurological system than you originally thought.

We are all built and equipped differently to handle injuries and even endure pain at different levels.  It’s not worth the risk to dismiss away these symptoms rather than facing the possibility that you may have just sustained a traumatic brain injury.  Seek emergency medical treatment if you or those around you believe that is necessary.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury and now you’re left picking up the pieces call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo today.  It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.  Our number is 877-333-1000.

The Ultimate Fumble

August 18, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Like a dark cloud in a southern afternoon thunderstorm, tragedy blanketed the area of Atlanta over the weekend. A young man died during a weekend football practice as he prepared to return to the game in August when he broke his neck during a routine play. The whispers of his possible scholarship to Kentucky were quickly muddled as the news of his condition seeped through the walls of the Atlanta hospital and into the streets of his beloved College Park home.

This is an unfortunate occurrence of how dangerous some activities may be. While I think it is important to continue living life as one would despite the possible risks from an activity, it is also important to be aware of them and the realities that could follow.

This incident is not the first of its kind. No—not at all. In fact, this happened just a few short years ago during the same private training program that is used to supplement school sponsored practices. Obviously, emergency treatment is the best option after something this tragic happens, but with this or serious brain injuries, even emergency treatment may not be enough to put the pieces of the newly shattered life back together.

The difficulty I and most others likely have with this situation is the fact that it happened just a few short years ago. I often question what changes or safety measures were put in place after the first incident, and the common knowledge that even plays performed with the utmost safety and precaution could still be dangerous. Were any changes made? How often is this particular play performed? Regardless of how this plays out, please keep the family and his friends in your hearts as we move into this football season.

If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please give us a call. The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo is prepared to help you handle the heavy challenges that you have ahead. Our number is 877-333-1000. Or you can request a free case evaluation at www.demayolaw.com

3 Ways to Help Someone Who Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in North Carolina

May 1, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your husband hit his head after he slipped on icy side walk outside a Raleigh café; or your son suffered seizures and a concussion at a Charlotte football game, you need to help your injured loved one get medical treatment and readapt to life. It’s not an easy project that you face; it’s not a particular joyful one. However, you love the injured person dearly, and you want to do everything you can to make that person’s life easier, simpler and safer. Here are 3 tips for moving forward.

1. Document everything that could possibly be relevant to the brain injury.

Did the football coach send your high school aged son back into scrimmage after he complained about a splitting headache? Did the doctor give your husband complex instructions about what to do in the event of an adverse pharmacological reaction? Write down what he said. Do you personally have frustrations, worries, or “bright ideas” about how to proceed? Write them down. When in doubt, write down the details. You don’t need to get fancy or overly organized about it. A single Microsoft Word document will do. You want to keep this records not only to help you parse what treatments work and what don’t but also to (potentially) lay the ground work for a North Carolina traumatic brain injury lawsuit against the liable party.

2. Take care of yourself.

Yes, there will be times when your injured child, spouse, or other loved one will need your attention, and you will need to sacrifice sleep, sanity, and peace of mind to help the person. But all too many caregivers find themselves in a regretful position. They sacrifice and/or suppress their own needs for extended periods of time. As a result, everyone loses. The TBI victim might suffer as well, not just because he or she can sense your resentment but also because he or she almost certainly wants you to be happy. Plus, you can’t “give your best” if you have nothing left to give.

Pay extra attention to your own needs. Do you need a warm bath? Do you need a night out? Do you need a good meal? Do you just need someone to talk to? Make sure you meet those needs, so you can meet the needs of the person you love.

3. Avoid “going it alone” or “reinventing the wheel.”

Being a caregiver for someone who is sick or seriously injured can be an extremely isolating experience. But it doesn’t have to be! You can find other people and institutions and resources to relieve some of your burden or at least help you with certain “sub projects” related to larger project of getting the TBI victim treated and safely rehabilitated. For instance, one project you may need to deal with involves the “legal stuff.” Was someone or some company responsible for the injury? If so, what kind of legal actions can you take or should you take? The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to provide a free, thorough, confidential consultation about what to do next. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for thorough help now.

Despite Growing Awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury Risks, Football is More Popular Than Ever…

March 21, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Five years ago, very few people had even heard about the condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a.k.a. “boxers’ dementia.”

But CTE is now famously known as the kind of brain damage that professional football players develop after years of concussions and sub-concussive events.

As Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, and the rest of the Ravens bask in the victory glow from the so-called Har-Bowl, America’s passion for the game of football is as ardent as ever. We love our football, in spite of all the serious health risks that our gridiron warriors endure.

In fact, the game’s popularity only seems to have increased, since the revelations about chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The massive, 4,000-plus plaintiff lawsuit against the National Football League has not dampened our collective love of the game.

So we face a kind of paradox — or, better put, a bind — about what to do. On the one hand, we all want to make the sport safer, both at the professional level and at the college/high school levels. On the other hand, we appear to be willing to allow players to put themselves in dangerous situations, for the love of the game.

On January 31st, author Ben McGrath discussed the state of affairs in his article “Does Football Have A Future?” The author quotes former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Dave Pear, who views professional football as “hazardous to your health, like smoking cigarettes.” Pear says that the game once served up “instant death” back when it was far less regulated. Today, it serves up the equivalent of “slow death.”

The article paints a sad portrait of this ex-pro: “You could say that Dave Pear holds a grudge: he has a minuscule pension, is uninsurable, and estimates that he has spent $600,000 on surgeries and other medical issues…related to his football career.”

Given all the conflicting data and the highly emotional nature of traumatic brain injury recovery, you may need a help of an experienced brain injury law firm to build a case and maximize your chances for obtaining compensation.

Give DeMayo Law a call at 1.877.529.1222 right now to schedule your free consultation.

New Focus for Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention: Helmets That Protect the Brain Rather Than Just the Head

March 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s a subtle shift in perspective, but it could be an important stride towards reducing the number of traumatic brain injury events and the severity of those events.

New football helmet technology may reshape how athletes and non-athletes alike think about brain injury prevention. According to popular science author, Tom Foster, 3.8 million athletes in the United States every year suffer a sports-related concussion. Most helmets in sports like football, rugby, hockey, etc focus on protecting the head during collisions.

But this focus ignores the fact that concussions are complicated events. The forces exerted on the head certainly matter, but so does the way the brain responds to the magnitude and movement of those forces. For instance, some hits can cause the structures of the brain to swirl and release floods of neurotransmitters, which can have cascading damaging effects.

As we’ve talked about before on this blog, one signature of many traumatic brain injuries is that glucose metabolism in the brain gets depressed for days afterwards. This depressed glucose metabolism seems to coincide, at least in some cases, with increased risk for Second-impact Syndrome.

Foster reports: “concussions happen deep in the brain’s white matter, when forces transmitted from a big blow strain nerve cells and their connections, the axon. To understand how that happens…[we need] to recognize that different types of forces — linear and rotational acceleration — act on the brain in any physical trauma.”

While we understand the linear forces pretty well — they’re easier to map and more intuitive to understand — we have a harder time understanding how rotational forces mess up our brains and brain structures.

A new strangely shaped helmet constructed in Sweden, created by a biomechanical engineer named Peter Halldin of the Royal Institute of Technology, may offer renewed hope.

Foster described Halldin’s Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS): “The plastic layer sits snugly on a player’s head beneath the padding. By allowing the head to float during an impact, MIPS can eliminate some of the rotational force before it makes its way to the brain.”

In other words, some force imparted to the helmet/head system gets pivoted away from the brain itself. Preliminary testing has offered sanguine data. Foster quotes Halldin: “We can reduce rotation in all directions, and it’s significant in most directions. We might get 35% in one direction, 25% in another direction, 15% in another.”

For help with your North Carolina TBI case, look to the team here at DeMayo Law for a free, fair, and thorough consultation. Call us at 1.877.529.1222 today to set your appointment.

New Business Week Article Suggests That Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits Could Spell the End of Professional Football. Is That What We All Want?

March 14, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our traumatic brain injury law blog has spilled a lot of “virtual ink” on the topic of NFL concussions and brain damage.

The suicides of Junior Seau, Andre Waters, Dave Duerson, and others have shaken up the NFL, big time. To-date, 4,000 former NFL pros and their spouses have sued the league for purposefully covering up evidence of the risks of TBI. But the nature of this litigation is in flux. The rash of lawsuits could force tremendous changes on the National Football League — a $10 billion a year industry. Football is also America’s most popular sport, by far, so our collective love affair with the game makes the brain injury situation that much more difficult to metabolize.

If no one really cared about football, perhaps the sport would just die off. But because the game is such a deeply embedded part of the American cultural experience — in some high schools, for instance, well over 50% of the boys play football, and millions of people play the game at the Peewee, amateur, and college levels every year.

That said, the stakes could not be higher for the game. And it’s not just the bone crunching smash-mouth smashups that have researchers concerned. New research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has caused a new logistical headache (so to speak) for those who would want to save the game.

Here’s how a recent Business Week article summarized the CTE situation: “New research suggests the peril players face may not be limited to car wreck hits. It may extend to the relentless, day-in-and-day-out collisions that are the essence of the game. If science one day determines that merely playing serious tackle football substantially increases the danger of debilitating brain disease — as smoking cigarettes makes lung cancer much more likely — it’s conceivable that the NFL could go the way of professional boxing.”

This isn’t the first time that the game of football has faced a brain-injury-related crisis, amazingly.

Ever since the game’s inception, detractors have worried about the violence:

•    In the early 1900s, after 18 collegiate athletes died due to head injuries, the keepers of the game initiated reforms, such as forward passing, to make the game safer.
•    In the 1970s, an article in Sports Illustrated claimed that the game of football was “headed toward a crisis” because of all the injuries, lawsuits, and insurance problems.
•    In 1994, the NFL formed a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee to figure out what could be done to improve the state of play.
•    But the league continued to pump out propaganda that glamorized the violence. The Businessweek article quoted a DVD called the Moment of Impact — released just in 2007 — which advertised “suddenly you’re down, and you’re looking through your helmet’s ear hole … pain? That’s for tomorrow morning.”

If you or someone you care about was hurt playing football or any other contact sport — or if you suffered a brain injury in any other context — investigate your legal rights sooner than later. Let the team here at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo guide you correctly. Call the offices now at (877) 529-1222 to book a free consultation with us.

New Hope for Brain Injury Victims Who Have HIV/AIDS-Induced Damage

March 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Breaking research published in the FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) suggests that HIV/AIDS patients who have disease-induced brain damage may find relief with the treatment of a neurosteroid called DHEA-S.

International scientists from Morocco, Thailand and Canada discovered that this neurosteroid can, for complicated neurochemical reasons, possibly protect the brains of HIV/AIDS patients. The researchers found that patients’ neurosteroid enzyme levels were surprisingly suppressed. They then looked at animal models that showed that DHEA-S treatment stopped this neuronal damage by undoing the harm created by the HIV.

Neurosteroids represent an exciting class of drug, and TBI specialists already use them to manage a diverse array of conditions, including depression, epilepsy, PTSD, and brain injuries. The research doesn’t prove that DHEA-S is the solution to HIV/AIDS-induced brain damage, nor does it suggest that this treatment might be useful for other types of brain damage. So if you suffered a concussion in a Charlotte car crash or got a puncture wound during a fight or workplace accident, DHEA-S therapy — even if it were possible — might not apply.

But the news is positive. It indicates that TBI research is diverse, fecund, and often full of serendipities. The brain is obviously unfathomably complex, and traumatic brain injuries are extremely diverse in their etiology. But perhaps continuing breakthroughs in medical technology — like this one — can help at least some people regain function and/or prevent the loss of function.

Traumatic brain injury patients (and their families) often have so much to worry about that they neglect to take effective legal action before it’s too late. Please talk to the team here at DeMayo Law to build a plan to obtain monetary recovery for your past, present, and future damages.

Hypochondria After a Traumatic Brain Injury

March 7, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you got concussed playing lacrosse in North Carolina, or you fell in the shower and hit your head hard on the marble tiling, you’ve suffered greatly over the past few days or weeks.

In the immediate wake of the hit to your head, you probably felt horrendous symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, body aches, and worse. You may have even “redded out” or blacked out — and suffered lacerations, internal bleeding, bruising, etc. It was not a pleasant experience. But at least you’re through it now.

Whether you recently came back from the ER with a clear CAT scan (hopefully), or you’re just starting to research your potential legal options, you’ve discovered an additional problem — hypochondria.

Hypochondria is unwarranted fear of illness or injury, characterized by mental chatter about health anxiety that won’t go away and that creates anxiety.

Hypochondria can be debilitating and unnerving. But when combined with a real illness — especially a confusing health problem, like TBI — it can downright take control of your life.

While the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can provide a consultation about rights after a Charlotte traumatic brain injury, we cannot offer psychological and medical advice.

That said, here are three good strategies to manage hypochondria related to your case:

1. Become a master of self-observation. Write down your thoughts, feelings, and symptoms.

Our minds are intrinsically bad at separating objective truth from emotional intuition. To get a handle on a situation that’s chronically distressing, write down your observations, thoughts, and feelings in a journal, so you can show them to other people (such as a doctor) and track the reality (or lack thereof) of recurring thoughts.

2. Use “if/then” constructions.

Maybe you stress out over even the slightest headache, because you worry about what it might mean for your TBI prognosis. To keep yourself from either ignoring a real problem or letting a non-problem drive you crazy, you might write out an “if/then” statement like the following: “IF I get a small headache, THEN I will track it, tell my wife, and call my doctor within x minutes if I’m super concerned.”

3. Lastly, find great support systems.

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you fight your TBI lawsuit, thus relieving some agitation that may be provoking the hypochondria. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

The Challenges of “Doing Nothing” After a Charlotte Traumatic Brain Injury

March 5, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you bumped your head on a table or suffered a concussion after a bar fight, you’ve received strict doctor’s orders to avoid doing much, if anything at all.

The brain is an exquisitely delicate organ in any event, and it may become geometrically more sensitive after serious trauma.

As we’ve been discussing in reviews of recent journal articles on TBI science, recently brain injured people stand at heightened risk of loss of cerebral regulation, which can lead to all sorts of scary complications, including bleeding in the brain, swelling, hematoma, herniation, and “downstream” effects, such as cardiac arrest.

To avoid aggravating a traumatized brain, you may be asked to avoid bright lights, stimulation, and even intense thinking. But that can be very hard for anyone, especially someone raised in the Western world, where we’re collectively (in some sense) addicted to thinking. Our academic curricula, for instance, focus on reading and analyzing. Plus, we’re perpetually exposed to a tremendous glut of new information via the Internet, TV, and other media. So we’re used to ingesting and processing (or at least trying to process) massive amounts of information.

You need discipline and will power to turn down this info-spigot — tough to do, even when you’re healthy. TBI patients may need to turn down the info-processing spigot way lower to protect themselves and optimize recovery.

Here are some principles to help you:

1. Find someone to help you process your thoughts and clear your schedule, so you can focus on “doing nothing.”

It’s a lot harder to be Zen for 18 hours a day, if you’re worried about who will care for your kids and pay your bills. Find a trusted person — or a group of people — to help you clear your plate, so that you can concentrate on recovery.

2. Be mindful of what “triggers” you and make corrections as needed.

Despite your best plans, you’ll discover that resting your brain creates strange new challenges that you didn’t anticipate. That’s fine. That almost always happens. Expect the unexpected, and react not by kicking yourself but rather by getting smart/creative.

3. Task someone who’s not injured with the responsibility to follow up on your potential case.

That person might consider connecting with the team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo to protect your rights as a TBI victim and help you obtain significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Weight Gain After a Traumatic Brain Injury: More Than Just a Deranged Appetite?

February 28, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether you suffered a concussion in Charlotte or a traumatic brain injury while driving on a North Carolina freeway, you’ve been recovering at home and trying to rest as much as possible. In fact, this is probably one of your first forays back on the internet since the accident. Unfortunately, you’re not just browsing the web for fun — although perhaps you have spent some time on Facebook and Twitter just out of habit.

The REAL reason you’re searching is that you weirdly gained weight since your accident, and you’re confused about why and what it might mean.

The typical way people think about weight gain is that it occurs because we overeat and/or don’t get enough exercise. While you have been bedridden — and perhaps less active than you used to be — you’re not eating particularly large amounts. You may have been eating less than usual because of your diminished capacity.

So what’s going on?

Weight gain actually is a fascinating and very poorly understood topic. There are probably more myths about fat loss than there are about any other medical topic out there. One reason why you might be gaining fat has nothing to do with the amount of calories you are consuming (or not).

Damage to the brain itself can trigger hormonal responses that can lead to excess fat storage, independent of changes in your overall eating habits, exercise patterns, etc.

Experiments in rats and in humans, for instance, demonstrate that lesions to the ventromedial hypothalamus and other structures in the brain can trigger acute changes in the hormonal tone of the body, causing both humans and mice (and other creatures) to pack on pounds.

This phenomenon is a medical curiosity — a paradox for many obesity researchers. But it might be useful for you to know about, because it could be a sign that your brain injury has been changing or has been causing distantly-related hormonal issues. In other words, the fact that your beer belly is swelling — or that you are gaining weight around your thighs — might actually indicate something about your brain injury.

It’s obviously impossible to diagnose in general what, specifically, is wrong with you — as we discussed above, obesity is an incredibly misunderstood condition, and myths abound even in the official obesity research community.

For some interesting historical background, check out science journalist Gary Taubes’ Good Calories Bad Calories, in which Taubes describes the studies on brain lesion induced weight gain.

Just remember: in the wake of your brain injury, pay attention not just to symptoms related to your head (e.g. headaches, dizziness, memory loss, etc.) but also to phenomena that you observe in the rest of your body because these phenomena can give you and your physician powerful insight into what’s going on with your traumatic brain injury.

For helping building a case against the liable person or party — someone who hit your car, for instance — connect immediately with the thorough, insightful, creative, and aggressive team at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo for a free consultation.