Many people who have suffered from debilitating injuries or illnesses in Illinois have trouble adjusting to the associated changes in their lives. These individuals may feel isolated or overwhelmed as they struggle with challenges that people close to them have never faced. Peer support groups can play an important role in helping these disabled individuals connect with others, regain confidence and find inspiration. In Chicago, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has recently started a group, informally called “Kirk’s Battle Buddies,” that seeks to offer members these same benefits. The new group provides disabled people with a chance to share their experiences and support with other people who face similar struggles. Sen. Kirk became inspired to form the group after he suffered a stroke and corresponded with another stroke survivor, a 12-year-old named Jackson. Jackson encouraged Sen. Kirk to put forward his best effort during rehabilitation rather than giving up on making a full recovery. Since that time, the two “Battle Buddies” have given each other support throughout their recoveries. It is Sen. Kirk’s hope that the new group will provide similar motivation to people who suffer from disabling conditions or have experienced serious health setbacks. Members can turn to each other for support as they heal, rehabilitate, set physical goals and work to accomplish those goals. The inspiration for the group’s name comes from the Battle Buddy Foundation, which helps veterans assist other veterans through groups and community events. The Chicago “Battle Buddies” group, however, is open to anyone who has suffered from a serious health problem and wishes to participate. The first group meeting was held in February at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The same month, members of the group participated in the Hustle Up the Hancock fundraiser. During the event, Sen. Kirk and two other “Battle Buddies” climbed the stairs at the John Hancock Center to raise awareness for lung disease research and education. The event gave group members a chance to achieve their physical goals or show support for other members. Besides providing motivation, groups such as the “Battle Buddies” can offer various invaluable services for disabled individuals. These groups can help members discover resources they might otherwise overlook, from financial and medical support to counseling. Group members can benefit from the advice of others who have faced similar challenges in their relationships, careers or everyday lives. Group participation also allows members to[READ MORE…]
Head injuries sustained by football players are sometimes played down as simple concussions. However, repeated concussions over time can lead to serious head injuries. For that reason, as we reported last year, 75 ex-football players filed suit against the National Football League (NFL) alleging that the NFL knew of the harmful effects of multiple concussions as early as the 1920s but kept that information from players until 2010. While that lawsuit is still pending, another similar lawsuit in California was recently settled for $4.4 million dollars. In this tragic case, a young player sustained a serious brain injury while playing football for his high school team, as explained in a Yahoo article: The (settlement) comes as the problem of head injuries in football has gained prominence due to lawsuits brought against the National Football League by former players complaining of ongoing life struggles from concussions. Scott Eveland, now 22, was a senior and a linebacker with the Mission Hills High School Grizzlies in San Marcos, a town 30 miles north of San Diego. He collapsed on the sidelines after playing the first half of a game on September 14, 2007, and was rushed to the hospital where doctors were able to save his life by removing part of his skull. But the heavy bleeding inside his brain caused him extensive damage. This horrible accident resulted in Mr. Eveland’s confinement to a wheel chair and he remains unable to stand or speak as a result of his injuries. It’s a tragic case and is yet another example of the dangers of head injuries. As we’ve repeatedly said in the past, traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries that have been ignored for far too long. Hopefully, high profile personal injury lawsuits like this one will help to further raise public awareness regarding the dangers and long term effects of repeated concussions and other similar types of traumatic brain injury. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
With the new year came new laws, including a new California car seat law that requires children to use a booster seat until they are age 8 or 4 feet, 9 inches tall.Â The previous California law only required children to remain in car seats until they were 6 years old or weighed 60 pounds.Â The new law eliminates any weight requirements.Â Â Although children over the age of 8, but under the height requirement, are not required to use a booster seat, Californiaâ€™s Office of Traffic Safety has stated that it considers the use of a booster seat in the cases to be â€œbest practice.â€ Because seat belts are designed to fit adults, a booster seat â€œboostsâ€ a child up to allow the adult-sized seat belt to fit properly.Â In order for a seat belt to fit correctly, the lap belt should be low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, with the shoulder belt crossing the chest without touching the face or neck, according to the Office of Traffic Safety.Â If the belt is ill-fitting (for instance, it crosses the stomach instead of the hip bones), a child can be severely injured by the seat belt itself in an auto accident.Â It can also be dangerous for children to put the shoulder belt behind their back or arm as it can increase the risk of head and spinal cord injuries. Parents or drivers can be fined a minimum of $475 and receive one violation point on their driving record for each child under 16 who is not using a booster seat as required by the new law. The use of booster seats has been shown to increase a childâ€™s chance of surviving a crash by 45 percent, according to Christopher J. Murphy, director of Californiaâ€™s Office of Traffic Safety. Illinois Seat Belt Laws Illinois law also requires that all children younger than 8 years of age be properly restrained in a child safety seat.Â Additionally, as we recently reported, a new Illinois law that went into effect January 1, 2012 requires that everyone in a vehicle buckle up (with a few exceptions), including backseat riders.Â Previous Illinois law only exempted backseat riders over 18 from the requirement to use a seatbelt. The new Illinois law exempts passengers in ambulances, taxis, school buses, delivery trucks that make frequent stops and do not exceed 15 mph, and anyone with a physical[READ MORE…]
Parents should be aware of a nationwide recall of children’s bicycle helmets. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission recently recalled approximately 30,400 Little Tricky kid’s bike helmets after tests determined that helmets failed to meet safety standards. Bicycle helmets are an important part of bicycle safety and their use helps to prevent severe head and brain injuries, as explained in this East County Magazine article: â€œItâ€™s estimated that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by approximately 85 to 90 percent”… â€œHead injuries have potentially the most severe consequences in the both the short and long term,â€ said Sue Cox, Director of Trauma Services for Rady Childrenâ€™s Hospital. â€œAccording to HHSA, medics noted traumatic injuries to the head or neck in more than half the patients that were not wearing helmets at the time of their injuries.” Bike helmets help to prevent injury by virtue of their unique design and are intended to bear the brunt of an extreme impact occurring during a bicycle accident by protecting “the top and upper part of the forehead and back of the head.” Because bicycle helmets are such important safety devices, it’s particularly distressing when children’s helmets are recalled for safety violations, as is the case with the recent Little Tricky helmet recall. This wpbf.com article describes the reason for the recall and the specific helmets that were recalled: In a news release, the CPSC said children who use the multipurpose helmets produced by Triple Eight Distribution Inc., of Port Washington, N.Y., could suffer impact head injuries in a fall.According to the CPSC, the Little Tricky helmets are marketed for children and youth and feature a large Little Tricky logo on both sides of the helmet… The helmets were sold at bicycle and sports stores and other retailers nationwide and online from August 2006 through November 2011 for about $40. You can learn more about the recall in that article, including specific descriptions of the affected helmets and informational phone numbers. The Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handlesÂ workersâ€™ compensation andÂ personal injury cases. You can reach the firm by calling (312) 346-8780.
Image via Wikipedia Did the NCAA fail to protect student-athletes from concussions and their repercussions?Â According to a lawsuit filed in September 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by two former college football athletes, it did.Â The class action lawsuit claims that the NCAA turned a blind eye to coaches who instructed their players to use their heads for tackling, failed to establish a system for screening head injuries, and failed to fulfill its financial obligations to injured student-athletes who require ongoing medical treatment. The lawsuit points to a growing body of evidence linking concussions to depression, dementia and early-onset Alzheimer’s, among other medical problems, and accuses the NCAA of failing to to enforce safety measures that it enacted in the 1970s to protect its student-athletes. The plaintiffs seek to force the NCAA to institute a medical monitoring program to track the long-term effects of head injuries in former college football players and to pay for any medical care required as a result of the head injury. According to a 2003 study, college football players require a full seven days to return to pre-concussion health, and that athletes with a history of concussions are more likely to sustain future concussions. Despite this information, the current NCAA system allows athletes to return to the field the day after sustaining a concussion. The name plaintiffs in the class action litigation are former University of Central Arkansas wide receiver Derek K. Owens and former Northwestern University offensive lineman Alex Rucks, both of whom claim that have suffered irreparable brain trauma as a result of concussions sustained during their college football careers. This is not the first lawsuit of its kind that has been filed against the NCAA.Â Earlier in September, former Eastern Illinois player Adrian Arrington filed a lawsuit alleging that the NCAA â€œfailed its student-athletes — choosing instead to sacrifice them on an altar of money and profitsâ€ by neglecting to adopt stricter standards for promoting safe play and tackling techniques.Â The NCAA calls the most recent lawsuit â€œmerely a copycatâ€ of the Arrington lawsuit and says that it â€œcontains gross misstatements.â€ According to the Brain Injury Association of America, an estimated 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year.Â Amidst growing concerns about head injuries to young athletes, the NCAA now requires member schools to enact concussion-management plans whereby schools[READ MORE…]
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