Traumatic brain injuries not only cause initial damage to the Central Nervous System but increase the risk of additional neurologic problems and dramatically impact the ongoing costs associated with caring for the patient, says Alabama personal injury lawyer Keith T. Belt.
When a helmet-to-helmet hit renders the football player unconscious the diagnosis is a concussion, which currently can cause continuing irreparable brain damage and affect the players for the rest of their lives. Plus many athletes have sustained previous blows to the head that result in the signs and symptoms of a concussion but have not been diagnosed with a concussion. These injuries are associated with increased rates of loss of consciousness and higher symptom scale scores with future concussions. as found in a recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
However, in the near future, those woozy players may be able to use an inhaler to ingest a drug that protects against further brain damage, helping mitigate a harmful biochemical cascade in the brain that follows the initial blow. The drug compound being studied — oxidoreductant — will not prevent concussions. But researchers believe it can lessen the brain damage that continues to occur after the initial blow.
This could be a reality in the not too distant future due to ongoing research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham funded as part of a $1.5 million grant package to institutions for sport-related medical research by NFL Charities, the charitable foundation of the National Football League owners. The UAB research is especially timely as the nation seems to be waking up to the long-term deleterious effects of the common football injury.
“We are developing a therapy which will be beneficial after you received the concussion,” said Candace Floyd, associate professor and director of research in UAB’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “The drug is going to lessen the damage or protect the brain after the initial mechanical injury to the brain at impact.” With a concussion that initial impact sets off a biochemical chain reaction that further damages the brain. Floyd likens it to a forest fire burning out of control. The drug helps stop the fire from spreading.
“It doesn’t put out the campfire, but stops it from spreading to a forest fire,” Floyd said., but emphasized: “It’s not a repair, it’s a protective agent.” She said the compound is a lot like antioxidants in face creams. In fact, a cream may be the method of ingestion or an inhaler — that aspect is still being tested, Floyd said. And the compound could be used not just in the football stadium, but by rescue workers on car crash scenes or military medics on the battlefield.
The study, which started in February, is about halfway through, Floyd said and “We should know results by spring,”
Millions of people a year suffer a traumatic brain injury and in the blink of an eye, their lives may be changed forever. Not only do the injuries have a major impact on the everyday life and future of the patient, but negatively affects the lives of their family and friends.
If you or a loved one were hurt due to a head injury and sustained a concussion or other traumatic brain injury, call our catastrophic injury lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.