April 15, 2014

Surprising Housing and Commute Facts: What Contributes to Personal Injury in Hollywood and other Cities

A new report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has weighed in on the country’s health by county and has concluded that some surprising things that could affect health. According to researchers, more than 29 factors can affect health. These include some of the obvious factors such as smoking, exercise, and eating. However, researchers also concluded that an overcrowded home, a poor kitchen, bad plumbing, education, employment, and other factors may also play a larger role in health than many think. For example a long commute can negatively affect your health – not to mention increase your chances of a car crash in Hollywood or your community.

St. Johns was ranked the healthiest county in the state, as the area had less poverty, crime, obesity, and other health concerns when compared with many other regions of the state. Miami-Dade county made it into the top five when it came to health in the state. Hollywood’s Broward County ranked fourteenth in the state in terms of health. For much of the state, health factors remained static when compared with previous years. The rate of obesity among Florida adults, for example, has stayed close to 26 percent for the past three years.

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The report concluded that rural areas struggled more when it came to health, with researchers concluding that the issue was resources. People in rural areas may have fewer resources to stay health, according to the report. The least healthy Florida county was found to be Union County, although Washington County, Putnam County, Baker County, and Hamilton County also ranked low on the list.

The report also considered fatalities caused by personal injury deaths and violent crimes when compiling the rankings. Personal injury in Hollywood and other communities as well as physical assault in Hollywood and other serious crimes obviously affect health and well-being.

Overall, the report found that about 76 percent of workers across the country commute by themselves. This is in part due to access limits when it comes to public transit. This can contribute to pollution and obesity. It can also place workers at increased risk of accidents, since public transit collisions in Hollywood and all cities are much lower than the rates of car crashes.

Another thing that contributes to traffic accidents in Hollywood and other communities across the country has to do with the length of commutes. The report found that about 30 percent of all workers across the country drive over 30 minutes each day on their commute, with commuters in the Eastern part of the U.S. driving longer hours when compared with their Western counterparts. This long commute time increases stress, the risk of road rage, and the risk of collisions.

Unintentional personal injury in Hollywood and other communities also leads to fatalities and injuries, which can affect a county’s health rankings. The report found that across the country about 59 Americans per 100 000 suffer fatal unintentional injuries and injuries caused by violence. In the healthiest counties, this number drops to about 49 percent. In the worst 10 percent of the counties across the United States, the figure can be as high as 105 per 100 000. In Broward County, the figure for injury deaths is about 62 per 100 000.

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April 10, 2014

Therapies That Can Help Spinal Cord Injury Patients in Homestead and Other Florida Cities

Patients with spinal cord injuries in Homestead and across Florida have more hope now than ever before, thanks to new research. Typically, patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury in a traffic collision in Homestead or through another incident are first treated by emergency personnel. Emergency responders first check to see whether a patient’s heart is beating and whether the patient is breathing. In some spinal cord injury cases, patients need a ventilator or a breathing tube as well as other life-saving treatment because their heart and lungs are affected by the injury.

The second part of treatment for a spinal cord injury is to prevent the patient from moving. Emergency responders at the site of a trucking accident in Homestead or other accident scene will immobilize a spinal cord injury patient by using a backboard and cervical collar before taking the patient to hospital. The immobilization ensures that further movement doesn’t cause additional injury.

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At a hospital, doctors will typically work to determine whether a spinal cord injury has occurred. If it has, steroids are usually given within eight hours of the injury in order to decrease swelling and inflammation in order to reduce the amount of damage. In addition, the patient may be immobilized with a halo device, traction, or through some other means in order to provide some stability to the spine.

Many spinal cord injury patients also need surgery for their injuries. Surgery can help remove any pressure on the spinal cord caused by broken vertebrae and can help provide more stability to the spine by adding rods, plates, or metal screws to the affected areas.

After emergency treatment and surgery, spinal cord injury patients usually face a long period of rehabilitation and therapy in order to recapture mobility or in order to deal with reduced mobility. Patients may also be given drug therapy or other forms of treatment to deal with chronic pain and other issues. In addition, patients need to deal with the many complications that can arise with spinal cord injury. These complications include infections, pressure sores, blood clots, and other risks. Patients need to be monitored for these issues and the complications may need to be treated as they arise.

Fortunately, spinal cord injury is the focus of many types of research and it is possible that some day there may be even more advanced options for treating these injuries. For example, a recent study in the journal Brain revealed that one treatment that involved placing electrodes near the spine helped some patients with spinal cord injury recover some control over their limbs – even two years after their initial injury. The therapy involves administering currents of electric energy to an area of the spine just below the site of the injury while the patient works on practicing movement. The initial results are very promising, although researchers say that more testing is needed. In addition to this study, a number of studies have suggested that stem cells could be used to successfully help some personal injury patients in Homestead and other communities recover mobility and motor function.

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April 8, 2014

Florida Wants to Crack Down on Trauma Fees in State Hospitals

Recent investigative reports by the Tampa Bay Times and I-Team found that trauma patients found that some state hospitals charge very high fees to trauma patients. Attorneys and Rep. Greg Steube of the State House agree that more needs to be done to protect victims of freeway accidents in Miami and other cities as well as other trauma patients who may face bankruptcy and serious financial losses after an accident. Steube has already stated that he is willing to act to address the fees, which is likely good news for truck accident victims in Miami and other patients across the state.

According to the investigative reports, the average fee for trauma patients at six Florida trauma centers is $27,000. Some of the fees reported have been $29,000 or even $33,000 per patient. The fees at these six hospitals are about four and a half times higher than the fees at other area hospitals. The money is expected to pay for advanced training, medical equipment, on-call medical staff, and other costs. However, there is a concern that some patients have fees that are much higher. There is also some concern that the fees have increased very quickly over the past few years, causing considerable problems for patients who struggle to pay the costs.

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There is also a concern that the fees are not for imaging or testing. The fees are known as a “trauma response fee” and trauma centers and hospitals are permitted to charge these fees to patients. However, trauma centers charge varying fess, with some charging tens of thousands of dollars in addition to any treatment provided. Investigative reporters uncovered that these fees are charged even in cases where a trauma center does not have a specific specialist and sends the patient onto another center, which means that some facilities charge about $1000 per minute for what amounts to basic first aid.

According to Steube, part of the concern is also that patients in a trauma situation – after a serious motorcycle accident in Miami or another community, for example – are transported to the nearest hospital or trauma facility. They may not be given the option of choosing a more affordable treatment hospital and indeed may be unconscious when transported and unable to make such a decision anyway. Steube thinks that legislation or the board of health will take a look at the fees in the next few weeks in order to address patient concerns.

The investigations highlight what personal injury attorneys in Miami have known for some time: unexpected medical expenses, especially those caused by a car collision or other serious type of accident, can be especially devastating financially, especially with rising medical costs.

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April 3, 2014

Sports Injury A Very Real Concern for the Home Gym and Neighborhood Gym in Hollywood and Other Communities

Doctors and health experts are always advocating the importance of exercise and as a result many people are investing in exercise equipment at home or joining gyms in order to get healthier and lose weight. The goal of exercise is to make you feel better, but as many personal injury attorneys in Hollywood and other communities know, home gyms and community gyms are not without their risks. Each year, people are seriously injured and even killed when trying to whip their bodies in shape.

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To avoid a serious injury that will set you back in your get-fit program, be sure to follow these tips:

1) Talk to a doctor first. Before you start any exercise program, whether it’s using a home exercise machine or a gym, get a checkup. Discuss with your doctor what appropriate fitness goals would look like for you and review what exercise options are best for you. If you are out of shape, your doctor may recommend starting slowly or even keeping tabs on your heart rate when you work out to ensure you don’t overdo things.

2) Try a low-impact exercise first. These days, boot camps, marathons, and other forms of exercise that promise fast results are very popular. High-impact exercise also increases your risk of injury, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while. Start with walking, swimming, or gentle jogging before you start putting in heavy hours at a gym.

3) Research home gyms or neighborhood gyms before investing. Check safety ratings carefully and choose machines or gyms that seem to have a low risk of injury. Keep in mind that each year products liability claims in Hollywood and other cities are launched due to unsafe sports and workout equipment. Don’t just assume that a machine is safe because it is in a catalog or at your gym – check to see whether others have been injured.

4) Take the potential for injury seriously. Sports injury in Hollywood and other communities can don’t just happen on the field or in the area. You are also at risk in your home or at the gym. Take your safety and health seriously.

5) Get some help from a professional or personal trainer, especially at first. While it is an investment, a qualified trainer can show you how to use home gym or local gym equipment effectively and safely. They can also help you create a work-out regimen that is appropriate for your fitness level.

6) Wear proper exercise gear. Any loose or baggy clothes can get caught in machines and can pose a tripping hazard. In addition, incorrect shoes can hurt your feet or even your back so invest in proper footwear.

7) When using any exercise equipment, follow the rules. Do not use machines as they were not intended. When setting up your home gym, especially, carefully check manuals so that you understand how equipment is meant to be set up or used.

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April 1, 2014

During Tax Season, Workplace Violence is a Real Concern in Miami and Other Cities

Tax season can be very stressful not only for taxpayers, but also for the financial professionals who help clients file tax returns and resolve taxation issues. In February of this year, workplace violence affected three tax preparers in different parts of the country. In Florida, a tax preparer working in an office had a bullet narrowly miss her head. In addition, IRS officials sometimes receive threats of harm.

Safety experts say that more violence is possible as tax deadlines on April 15 draw near. Frustrated taxpayers may act aggressively or may resort to violence in some cases. In addition, tax preparers and other financial professionals are under additional pressure at this time of year and many offices hire seasonal workers for tax season. All of this can add up instances of workplace violence and other safety issues.

According to industry experts, it is important for tax preparers and tax preparation services to take steps to provide adequate security on their premises. If they do not and violence affects workers, clients, or others, the business could be held liable in an inadequate security claim in Miami or their city.

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There are many things that tax preparers can do to curb violence in the workplace:

•Install security cameras, surveillance systems, or metal detectors, if needed
•Hire security guards
•Have a written safety policy that helps workers deal with aggressive clients and other safety issues
•Properly screen new workers, including seasonal and temporary workers
•Secure the premises with properly functioning doors and windows

If you are a taxpayer and have been injured when visiting a tax preparer or tax preparation service, you may be able to seek compensation that can help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. This is the case whether your injuries were caused by violence, inadequate security, or a slip and fall accident or other preventable injury on the premises. When you visit a business, you expect the business owner to take steps to keep you safe. If they do not take reasonable measures to keep you safe and you sustain injuries as a result, you may have a legal claim.

If you are a tax preparer and have been injured in the workplace, you may have a workers compensation claim in Miami or your city. You may also have a premises liability claim if your workplace was not adequate secure and your employer did not take adequate measures to keep you safe. If you have sustained a work injury in Miami or any Florida city, contact a good personal injury attorney to review your legal options.

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March 27, 2014

Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Malpractice Cases in Miami and Florida

Miami is known for its cosmetic surgery clinics and patients from across the country and around the world travel to the city for cosmetic procedures. Many have excellent outcomes and have the opportunity to work with world-class cosmetic surgeons in the city. Unfortunately, in some cases patients are injured or even suffer fatalities due to medical negligence in Miami and surrounding area clinics and hospitals.

While cosmetic surgery procedures have come a long way in the past ten years, they, like any surgery, carry risks. Cosmetic surgery requiring anesthesia can bring about the same complications as any major surgery, including fatality, coma, incorrect anesthesia dosage, and other complications. In addition, patients may suffer from infection, dangerous drug interactions or reactions, and other complications.

After suffering a serious complication due to surgery or drug issue in Miami or another community, patients may face severe pain or may require multiple additional surgeries to fix disfigurement. Some suffer brain damage or other serious complications that mandate assisted living facilities and around-the-clock care. Some are unable to return to their normal lives.

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Investigative reports have focused largely on discount cosmetic surgery services and clinics. These clinics and surgeons sometimes offer low-cost alternatives but may do so because they do not have the experience and expertise that more established practitioners have. Another issue is that some spas and beauty salons offer services such as Botox and other procedures which some doctors feel are best left to professionals. Doctors are especially concerned about so-called Botox parties and procedures performed at unlicensed clinics and in private homes.

Anyone who is considering a cosmetic procedure should check with their doctor first to ensure that they are healthy enough for the surgery. Cosmetic procedures that require anesthesia, especially, should be treated as seriously as any major surgery. Patients should research cosmetic surgeons carefully and ask for referrals. A good plastic surgeon should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, should have extensive experience with the surgery procedure being considered, and should have hospital privileges.

In addition, patients will want to ask about their anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist in the procedure should have extensive experience and no malpractice claims against them. The clinic or hospital where the procedure is to be performed should also have excellent reviews and provide good patient care. It is important to keep in mind that the surgeon is not the only one responsible for patient care; everyone involved in the process can affect the outcome of a procedure.

Of course, even when patients are careful and conduct careful research may end up being injured by malpractice. Even if a surgeon has certification and satisfied patients, that does not mean that malpractice won’t occur. Many patients only find out about a clinic’s previous lawsuit and issues after they have been injured and consult with a personal injury attorney in Miami or their community.

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March 25, 2014

How Safe are Your Workplace and Favorite Stores? How Inadequate Security in Hollywood Could Hurt You

Employers are expected to provide a safe work environment for their workers and stores and other businesses are expected to provide a safe environment for patrons. Unfortunately, not all employers and business owners are careful about security and this can lead to violence in the workplace, injury, and workers’ compensation claims in Hollywood and other communities.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) over 2 million workers suffer due to violence each year. Many business patrons and customers also are subject to violence and injury.

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According to OSHA, workers are especially subject to violence and crime if:

•Their work involves exchanging money with the public
•They work with aggressive people
•They work in isolated areas or alone
•They offer services and care as part of their job (healthcare professionals, customer service agents, health care professionals, delivery personnel, public service employees, and law enforcement, for example, are all more at risk of violence)
•They work somewhere where alcohol is served
•They work late at night or outside of business hours, when there are fewer people around
•They work in areas with high crime rates

Not surprisingly, customers are also at risk in similar situations. For example, customers at banks are more at risk if someone decides to rob a bank or steal money, since ATMs and banks make attractive targets. Customers are also more likely to be a victim of a crime at a business if there are few people about, if the business is located in a high-crime area, or if the business attracts aggressive people. Customers of a bar in a higher-crime area, for example, may be more at risk than customers shopping in a well-lit mall on a Saturday afternoon.

Employers and business owners are expected to take steps in order to prevent crimes on their premises. They are expected to be aware of the dangers in their place of business and to take steps to keep patrons, clients, customers, and workers safe. This may involve:

•Hiring security personnel
•Putting up security cameras as well as warnings that cameras are in place
•Screening employees for aggression and violent tendencies
•Keeping doors and windows secure
•Providing extra security for isolated areas
•Having a written policy for safety in the workplace or business
•Keeping all areas of the business well-lit
•Posting clear warnings in dangerous areas where customers or workers should not venture
•Putting up signs and warnings if there are crimes occurring in the area

When employers or business owners are negligent and a crime or violence occurs, the victims of crime have rights. Many do not realize that they may have a civil claim or an inadequate security claim in Hollywood or their community. If an act of violence has occurred because a property owner did not take adequate precautions, however, the victim of a crime can seek to file criminal charges as well as a personal injury claim.

In this situation, a personal injury claim can be filed even if the perpetrator is never caught. The claim can help a victim pay for medical care, counseling, property damage, lost wages, and more. To start a claim, someone who has been injured simply needs to contact a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or their community in order to find out whether they have a case.

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March 20, 2014

Workplace Bullying and Violence Leads to Serious Injuries in Southern Florida

According to safety experts, workplace violence and bullying often go hand-in-hand to create unsafe work environments and work injury in Homestead and other Florida communities. While a lot is said about bullying in schools, however, not enough is said – and done – about the same problem in the workplace. In fact, bullying is often seen as a problem that just affects our youth. While it is a problem that causes child injury in Homestead and other communities, ignoring it in the workplace can lead to injuries and instances of violence.

In the workplace, bullying can involve threatening behaviors, verbal abuse, disrespectful behavior, intimidation, offensive behaviors, humiliation, and other actions. Bullying is repetitive and is done intentionally, often targeting one person or one group of people.

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Bullying in the workplace can create an unpleasant atmosphere at work and can contribute to:

•Absenteeism
•High worker turnover rates
•Poor performance and decreased productivity
•Negative work environment
•Business problem, including a bad image for the company or decreased profitability
•Conflict
•Physical violence

The biggest problem, of course, is that bullying can escalate from verbal abuse to more controlling behaviors and even physical violence. According to psychologists, adult bullies are usually people with little empathy, poor social skills, and considerable insecurities. In some cases, they may have other issues that could potentially make them violent.

One thing that allows bullying in the workplace to continue is the lack of recognition of the problem. Employees may complain about having to work with someone who is “difficult” but don’t always recognize bullying behavior. There are fewer educational campaigns about adult bulling when compared with bullying in the playground or schoolyard. In cases where the bully is a boss or other person in authority, it can be especially intimidating or challenging for workers to report the issue.

There is no doubt that workplace bullying and violence is a real problem, though. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, there were 12,827 workers murdered in their places of work between 1992 and 2010. In fact, murder is the second leading cause of fatalities in the workplace. Each year, there are about 2 million reported instances of workplace violence across the country.

If you are being bullied in the workplace, it is important to take action quickly – before the bullying can escalate to violence. It can be helpful to document the evidence of incidents and keep a list of any witnesses. Speaking with a supervisor or the HR department is also important to report the incidents. If the bullying continues and leads to violence or injury, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney in Homestead or your community.

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March 18, 2014

The Steps of Your Personal Injury Case in Hollywood

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Hollywood or another community or have suffered an injury some other way, you may know that you need to speak with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights. Many people who should seek legal advice, though, hesitate to speak to an attorney because they do not know what to expect. If you need to speak with a personal injury attorney in Hollywood or your community because you are filing a claim, the process will take a few steps:

1) Initial contact. You will likely call or otherwise contact the attorney. You will be asked some basic information about the accident that caused your injuries and some specific information about your situation. This is so that the attorney can offer legal advice. You can then speak to the attorney about your case, find out more about your options, and get answers to any questions you may have.

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2) Hiring the attorney. If you decide to hire an attorney and file a claim, you will start working with the attorney and at this stage they can tell you what you will need to do next. If your attorney is working on a contingency fee basis, you will not even need to worry about legal costs. Once the attorney has recovered compensation or a settlement for you, the attorney will be paid from that money. At this stage, you will be assigned an attorney or primary contact and this will be the person at the law firm you can contact at any time if you have concerns, questions, or new information.

3) The claims process. Attorneys at full service law firms such as Flaxman Law Group can take care of all the details of the case. They will investigate the accident or incident that has led to your injuries. For example, if you have been in a bicycle accident in Hollywood or another city, the attorneys may work with private investigators, medical experts, and others to get more details and information. The attorneys will also draw up demands for the insurance company with medical bills and other evidence of damages. They will also file a claim or negotiate with the insurance carrier so that you can secure compensation.

4) Visiting a doctor and other professionals. If you have not been to a medical professional, your attorney will generally want you to see a doctor to start treatment and to document your injuries. If you need a car rental or other resources, your law firm may also be able to help with this.

5) Follow up. From time to time, you will get updates from the attorneys about the recovery process.

6) The settlement of the case. Once you have been awarded a court win or a settlement, you will need to receive the money. In some cases, your attorney may finalize subrogation, which will involve securing the compensation and even negotiating the costs related to your injuries.

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March 13, 2014

Cruise Ship Injuries in Miami and Other Ports

Most people take cruises in order to reward themselves and in order to enjoy a great vacation. For most travelers, this is exactly what happens. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong it can be challenging for passengers to get answers and justice. According to safety experts, cruise ship injuries and even crimes on board cruise ships can hamper vacations and can lead to fatalities or life-long injury.

Personal injury attorneys in Miami and across Florida understand that currently there are laws protecting cruise ship passengers. Unfortunately, when something goes wrong on board, passengers may face a number of obstacles. They may not be able to call authorities for help because cruise ship lines are in charge of handling things. This can make it hard to get answers right away, since cruise ship lines and crew are usually acting to protect the cruise line as well as the passengers.

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Many attorneys strongly support legislation that would require cruise lines to report crimes and instances of people falling overboard. Congress has pressured the larger cruise lines to report crime statistics online. According to these statistics, in 2013 the four largest cruise lines reported 78 crimes, including 29 rapes, 14 thefts, and 19 sexual assaults. According to attorneys and safety advocates, however, currently no one is checking those numbers since they are self-reported. There is some concern that actual numbers may be higher. The problem is even more significant when public records show that over a one year period since 2013, police were called to five ports in Florida more than 300 times.

Some safety advocates would like to see better record-keeping of crimes on ships, more transparency on the part of cruise lines, and more video surveillance to keep guests safe. So far, it is unclear whether any firm action will be taken, despite concerns expressed.

In addition to crimes on ships, there is also a concern about injuries. While cruise lines provide first-aid training for crew as well as plans for guests who become injures or sick, injuries do still occur on ships. Slip and fall accidents on Miami ships and other common cruise ship injuries in Miami and across the country’s coasts cause severe pain and suffering and in some cases lead to fatalities.

The Cruise Line International Association notes that traveling by cruise ship is still a safe option and notes that the industry does all it can to keep passengers safe. Safety experts agree that cruise ships can be a safe option but warn passengers to carefully research their cruise lines before booking their vacation and advise passengers to check carefully to make sure they understand safety procedures for the ship. If a crime or injury does occur on board, they recommend following up with a personal injury attorney at home in order to find out what options may exist for reporting the incident and seeking fair compensation for the injuries.

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March 11, 2014

Study Weighs in on Brain Injuries and Helmets

Safety advocates have long touted the benefits of helmets as one way to prevent serious head trauma and brain injury in Homestead and other communities. Helmets, studies have shown, can help protect you from injury in a bicycle accident in Homestead, a sports injury, or a motorcycle accident.

A new study, however, suggests that more needs to be done to prevent brain injuries and serious accidents. According to a new study from the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology, football helmets, for example, do little to prevent concussions caused by impact to the side of the head. Impacts that create rotational force – a force that causes the head to rotate on the neck and therefore causes the brain to rotate from the impact – aren’t prevented by the helmets.

The study comes on the heels of studies and research that repeat head injuries and trauma can lead to serious brain injury, including a brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). CTE is a degenerative disease that causes moodiness, depression, memory loss, confusion, cognitive problems, motor skill problems, aggression, and other symptoms. It is only diagnosed after death in most cases. Some studies have also shown that serious brain trauma can increase the risk of early fatalities by as much as threefold.

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Researchers at the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology used a standard drop test system to test football helmets. This is the test used the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. The test involves placing the helmets on a test dummy. In the Florida test, the dummies had a neck and also sensors to test the rotational and linear impact of trauma. When 12 mile-per-hour impact occurred, researchers found that the helmets reduced the risk of linear impacts much better than the risk of rotational impacts.

The football helmets reduced skull fracture risk by 60-80% when compared to no helmet and reduce the risk of bruising brain tissue by 70-80%. However, since the helmets did not help prevent rotational injury as well, they only lowered the risk of traumatic brain injury by 20% when compared with no helmet use.

Obviously, helmets should be worn because they can help prevent some sports injury in Homestead and other communities. However, what concerned the researchers is that the helmets did not do a better job of protecting athletes. This is important for children and high school and college athletes, especially, since brain injuries to minors and children in Homestead and other communities can result in more severe impact. Brains are still developing before adulthood, so a brain injury sustained early on can creating lasting trauma and can make the child vulnerable to severe injury.

In the future, it is possible that more effective helmets will be engineered to help prevent head injury. In the meantime, it is important for parents to buy their younger athletes a good-quality helmet and to check safety recommendations before choosing a brand of helmet; the Florida researchers did find that some brands of helmets are better at protecting wearers than others. Finally, there needs to be more of a focus on preventing head injuries in the first place, especially since helmets cannot prevent all injury. Less aggressive play and more skills building for athletes, for example, can help keep players safer on the field or the rink – no matter what kind of helmet they wear.

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March 6, 2014

Tests Could Help Diagnose Sports Injuries in Hollywood and other Communities

When sports injuries in Hollywood or other communities occur, one of the big challenges is evaluating the injuries to determine what next steps need to be taken. Whether the injuries affect a child or a professional athlete, coaches and other staff need to decide whether the player is well enough to return to the game or whether medical treatment is needed.

In many cases, serious head injuries in Hollywood and other communities rely heavily on this initial assessment. If a player has sustained a concussion or other head injury, it is important that they not return to the game before they have been properly evaluated by a doctor. If returned to play too early, they risk a secondary and more serious brain injury.

The problem with many brain injuries is that they are hard to detect, especially on the sidelines in the middle of a game without a doctor present. According to the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual Meeting, however, a good diagnosis can be given in many cases by administering the King-Devick test and other simple tests to players who have been injured.

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The King-Devick test is a simple vision test that requires injured athletes to read a serious of numbers within a specific period of time. The numbers are placed on three cards and become harder to read because of the way they are arranged. An athlete without an injury should be able to read all the numbers within a minute.

According to Dr. Laura Balcer of the Langone Medical Center at New York University, the King-Devick test works because visual pathways are so important to the brain. The idea is that if the brain is injured, these are likely to be injured as well, so a vision test may be more effective in detecting concussions when compared with standard cognitive tests. The King-Devick test can also help detect some of the more common visual problems that signal a concussion, such as:

•Double vision
•Coordination problems with the head or eyes
•Blurred vision
•Difficulty focusing

In a University of Florida study, 217 athletes were given a series of tests, including a cognitive test known as the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) test, as well as the more physical Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) test and the King-Devick test. Researchers concluded that the King-Devick test was more accurate in finding concussions. The King-Devick test provided a 79% accurate detection rate. When all three tests were administered, however, there was a 100% rate of success in detecting concussions.

Since sports-related child injuries in Hollywood so often involve head injuries and since college and professional athletes are also at risk, it seems that administering all three tests when a player is injured is an excellent way to ensure that injured players are not let back into the game before they have had a chance to heal.

Of course, part of the challenge will be to ensure that coaches administer the tests correctly each time a head injury is possible. Currently, Dr. Balcer is conducting more research with hockey coaches, to see how effectively these tests can be administered by coaches in game situations.

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