Category Archives: College

Better Educated Athletes Recover Quicker from Concussions

People with more years of education may be better able to recover from a traumatic brain injury, according to a study published in the April 23, 2014, online issue ofNeurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study examined people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, most of which were from motor vehicle accidents or falls. All were taken to the emergency department and spent time in the hospital after the injury and also for inpatient rehabilitation.

“After these types of injuries, some people are disabled for life and are never able to go back to work, while other people who have similar injuries recover fully,” said study author Eric B. Schneider, PhD, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “We understand some factors that lead to these differences, but we can’t explain all of the variation. These results may provide another piece of the puzzle.”

The cognitive reserve theory is that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve, or the brain’s ability to maintain function in spite of damage. The concept has emerged for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, where people with higher levels of education have been shown to have fewer symptoms of the disease than people with less education, even when they have the same amount of damage in the brain from the disease. But few studies have looked at how cognitive reserve may affect traumatic brain injury.

The study involved 769 people at least 23 years old and who had been followed for at least a year after their injury. Participants were grouped by education level. A total of 185 participants, or 24 percent, did not finish high school; 390, or 51 percent, had 12 to 15 years of education, or had finished high school and some post-secondary education; and 194, or 25 percent, had obtained at least an undergraduate degree, or had 16 or more years of education.

One year after the injury, 219 of the participants, or 28 percent, had no disability and were able to return to work or school. Only 23 people, or 10 percent, of those with no high school diploma were free of disability, compared to 136, or 31 percent of those with some college education and 76, or 39 percent, of those with a college degree.

“People with education equal to a college degree were more than seven times more likely to fully recover from their injury than people who did not finish high school,” Schneider said. “And people with some college education were nearly five times more likely to fully recover than those without enough education to earn a high school diploma. We need to learn more about how education helps to protect the brain and how it affects injury and resilience. Exploring these relationships will hopefully help us to identify ways to help people recover better from traumatic brain injury.”

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College Athletes Say ‘Protocol’ Is the Issue

In a lengthy story that appeared in the University of Richmond student newspaper, one current student athlete and another who just finished his eligibility and has hopes of playing in the NFL discussed what they believe to be an integral part of the concussion problem.

Ben Edwards, who was the school’s senior wide receiver in 2013, and Michael Strauss,who will be the starting quarterback, discussed “protocol” as the main issue.

“The protocol is the problem,” Edwards told the paper. “There are around 20 broad symptoms that are very vague: trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue. I’m tired every day but it has nothing to do with my head.”

Both men told the paper that they know when they have suffered a real concussion. Strauss pointed to incident in the fall when he took a hard hit..

“My first thought was to make sure I didn’t stand near a trainer or give a coach the chance to ask if I was OK,” he told the paper..


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Lawyer Involved in Concussion Litigation Joins Sheppard Mullin

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has announced the addition of eight partners to the firm’s Insurance and Business Trial practices, including one — R. Randal Crispen – who is involved in concussion litigation. Crispen, who will join Sheppard Mullin’s San Diego office, previously practiced at McKenna, Long & Aldridge.

Crispen specializes in litigating complex business disputes, with an emphasis on representing insurance companies in major coverage and bad faith lawsuits.Randal Crispen

He currently represents a major insurer in coverage litigation arising out of the National Football League and NCAA players’ concussion injury litigation.

Crispen also has obtained defense verdicts as lead trial counsel in state and federal courts throughout Southern California. He received a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley – Boalt Hall in 1985 and a B.A., highest honors, from University of California, Santa Barbara in 1981.

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