Brain injury has been moved to the forefront of national news by virtue of the N.F.L.’s recent settlement with former players who have developed neurologic syndromes associated with head injuries and concussion. While sports-related head injuries are getting much attention, it appears that another segment of the population is being neglected: women who sustain concussions.
Discussion at a recent Institute of Medicine meeting focused on the fact that almost no public attention has been paid to head injuries in women and girls. The issue arose when some medical studies showed that women are actually more susceptible to brain injury than men due to differences in head and neck structure and cerebral blood flow. For example, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine issued a report that includes findings on post-concussion syndrome in women such as the following:
- In sports where men and women compete under similar rules, women experience more concussions
- Women typically have more severe symptoms and take longer to recuperate
- Greater angular acceleration of the brain occurs with head impact in women because of “a decreased head-neck segment mass”
- Estrogen and blood flow in the brain may heighten the effects of concussion in women
But brain injury in women is not limited to athletic contests. I have handled a number of cases involved brain injury following trauma from a motor vehicle accidents, including one case involving a car hitting a female pedestrian that resulted in significant permanent neurologic deficits. In fact, my experience with these cases is so vast, that on one occasion, I recognized the spectre of traumatic brain injury (TBI) before the client’s treating physicians did. Subsequent testing confirmed my suspicions and ultimately resulted in a multimillion dollar recovery for the client.
In light of the growing evidence showing that TBI is underdiagnosed in female athletes, it is important for Ohio injury lawyers to consider this diagnosis when evaluating personal injury claims on behalf of clients who have sustained significant head trauma in a car, truck or motorcycle accident.