Off The Rails

A Maryland public school superintendent acknowledged that peers and scientists might believe that he is “damn nuts” for giving students chocolate milk to help them recover from a brain injury.

Nevertheless, Clayton Wilcox plans to buy $25,000 worth of a specific brand of chocolate milk and distribute it to student athletes, after an unpublished study from the University of Maryland concluded that players who drank the product after every game or practice did better on post-concussion cognitive tests than those who chose not to imbibe. The product’s manufacturer did not offer any basis to support the brain health benefits of its chocolate milk, other than to say that the milk is concentrated and contains high levels of protein, electrolytes, and calcium. The milk also contains high levels of sugar: its 42 grams per serving is almost the entire recommended daily allowance in a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Neuropsychologist Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, from the Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey, speculated that the study “may be just telling us that regular hydration and nutrition for athletes is important for brain health and neuroprotection, which is what we already know.”

Congress has investigated some companies for making false claims about their products and their effectiveness at reducing concussions.

Traumatic Brain Injury

About 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with a TBI each year, and 80 percent of them are rushed to a hospital emergency room. Despite these huge numbers, and despite all the attention that sports-related concussions have received in the media, the chocolate milk imbroglio underscores the fact that there the amount of knowledge that doctors possess is still rather small.

Some of the more common causes of a TBI are:

  • Motor Vehicle Crash: The second impact, when a victim’s head strikes a hard object, like the dashboard, may cause serious head injuries. Additionally, during a crash, unsecured items become high-speed missiles.  That includes the brain, which while encased in the skull, can be thrown around inside the skull slamming against that unforgiving surface and thus causing TBI.  These are sometimes referred to is post traumatic concussions, coup contrecoup injuries.  
  • Slip and Fall: In this type of incident, or in the case of a fall from a height, only a thin layer of bone protects the brain from hard concrete or other surface.
  • Assaults: In a barroom fight or a dispute between workers at a construction site, the damage is often far worse than surface trauma injuries.

In all these cases, the most at-risk groups are young children under 10 and older adults over 75.

Brain injuries are also permanent, because dead brain cells do not regenerate. But, after extensive rehabilitative therapy, neighboring areas of the brain may learn to assume the lost function, so the victim can live a more normal life.

Damages in a brain injury case typically include compensation for economic losses, like lost wages and rehabilitative therapy, and non-economic losses, such as loss of enjoyment in life or loss of consortium.

Seek Legal Counsel Today

A brain injury has lifelong consequences. For a free consultation with a compassionate personal injury attorney in Fayetteville, contact the Wade Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a personal injury case.

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