It Opened My Eyes: “Unmasking Brain Injury 2.0” Videographer Shares his Thoughts

As a videographer, a big part of what I do is capture moments and create experiences out of those moments through storytelling. As I build a story through editing, it’s crucial to carefully listen to each interview in its entirety to put together the most cohesive final product. Often times during my editing process, I cannot help but immerse myself into the story being told by that individual. Prior to each interview with the brain injury survivors, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect, but what I learned is that you can overcome any adversity with great support and the desire to keep moving forward in spite of. I was informed during many of the interviews that brain injuries are sometimes undetectable to the average onlooker. Through the testimonies of these survivors, I’ve witnessed the obligations they have to reinforce to others that, even after their unfortunate causes and situations, they are still human beings who are capable of joy, love, and deserving of happiness. This project was special to me because it opened my eyes to a situation that is poorly represented and discussed. However, I am excited that these survivors have a platform such as the Brain Injury Association for Michigan to tell their story, inform the masses, and possibly give hope to other survivors just like themselves. This experience has been great for me and I am glad that I had the chance to be a part of it! Thank you, Sean Bowman Captured Screens Productions, LLC

Lids for Kids

No one debates the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike, but hardly anyone knows just how critical this one piece of safety equipment is in preventing injury. So here’s a relevant statistic: Roughly 88% of bike-related brain injuries and deaths could be prevented by wearing a properly fitted helmet. That’s the good news. What’s not so good is the percentage of bikers who actually wear helmets. That statistic is a sobering 18 percent. And even worse, only 15 percent of bikers under the age of 15 wear helmets. It’s the disjunction between the effect helmets have in preventing injuries and saving lives, on one hand, and the number of riders who actually use them, on the other, that prompted the Sinas Dramis Law firm to conceive and develop the Lids for Kids program. “In serving victims of vehicle accidents, which includes bicyclists,” reported Tom Sinas of the Sinas Dramis firm, “we saw firsthand the dangers posed by forgetting or even refusing to wear a helmet. We want people to wear helmets and we know this habit must be cultivated at an early age.” The statistics cited above are also what prompted the BIAMI’s interest in participating with Sinas Dramis as a co-sponsor. “As the conduit between brain injury survivors and Michigan’s extensive and outstanding network of brain injury professionals, we witness the impact of brain injury every day and have recognized the importance of prevention from day one,” said BIAMI President Tom Constand. “When our friends at Sinas Dramis discussed the prospect of BIAMI co-sponsoring these events, there wasn’t a second’s hesitation on our part. It completely aligns with our mission to reduce the incidence and impact of brain injury, and we’re proud to play a part in the continued and overwhelming success of this program.” Lids for Kids is a bike helmet giveaway and helmet-fitting program that serves kids in underserved neighborhoods. Since the program began in 2003, more than 10,000 bike helmets have been donated and the event has expanded from Lansing to also include helmet giveaways, trained volunteer fittings, and bike raffles in Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Recent events have even become community fun fests, with face-painting booths, prizes, police and fire department activities for kids, mascot visits, and live radio remote broadcasts. This caliber of success for Lids for Kids would not be possible without the support of local partners – BIAMI members Agevix in Traverse City, Origami in Lansing, and Mary Free Bed and Hope Network in Grand Rapids – not least because their staff member volunteers play key roles in the continued growth of this amazing program. 2018 has been the program’s most successful year to date with a combined total of over 1500 helmets given away and properly fitted. That’s a statistic worth bragging about, which is why the BIAMI would like to thank all Lids for Kids event sponsors, partners, and volunteers – with a very special thank you for the foundational efforts of Sinas Dramis and their ongoing and very much hands-on work in program administration, logistics, personnel, and financial support! There’s clearly a long way to go in promoting widespread bike helmet use and ultimately reducing the number of bicyclist injuries and deaths, but efforts such as Lids for Kids are indeed having an impact on the statistics and keeping our very youngest riders in particular safe from bike-related head injuries.

Urge Your Legislator to Vote No on HB 5013

Last Thursday, HB 5013 passed out of committee and now sits on the House floor for a vote. This bill will likely be brought up on the floor for a house vote this week, with a second reading on Wednesday and vote on Thursday. Mayor Duggan, a number prominent Detroit Business men and corporations, and members from the Michigan Chamber are working hard to advance this bill. Additionally, HB 5013 will increase the amount of Medicaid spending by $80 million in ten years. IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. We strongly encourage you to join us at the Capitol and oppose this legislation, which would:
  • Authorize unprecedented dollar cap limitations on no-fault benefits
  • Give insurance companies greater control over patients' medical care
  • Greatly increases the power of the insurance companies while taking legal rights away from patients
  • Only offers temporary premium rate reductions, if any at all
A strong showing of folks opposing this bill outside the house floor both days is important. Anticipate two long afternoons especially on Thursday. Session on Thursday starts at noon. We will meet, receive a short update, gather materials and have lunch across the street from the House Office Building at the Central Methodist Church basement, 215 North Capitol from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM on Wednesday and from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM on Thursday. Salad, pizza, and beverages will be provided on Wednesday at about 11:45 AM. Lunch on Thursday will be ready about 11:00 AM prior to the start of a noon House session. We need your help if we are going to make sure this bill is defeated. If able, we strongly encourage you to join us. If you are unable, there are still ways you can help and make your voice heard.
  1. Email your legislators. We’ve provided a pre-written form letter (link no longer available), but feel free to make changes or write your own letter and send it. If you write your own, be sure they know your situation and what you stand to lose if this passes.
  2. Call your legislators.We’ve provided talking points (link no longer available), but feel free to make changes or include your own. Be sure they know your situation and what you stand to lose if this passes.
  3. Use social media to share your position and stories regarding your health care situation and be sure to use the hashtags #ProtectNoFault and #NO5013. Tell your story and let people know that the care being received would be impossible under the Duggan-Leonard plan.
Help us protect defend the system of care critical to so many Michiganders who have been, and unfortunately will be, auto accident survivors and their families.

A Response to the Recent CTE Study

Written by Or, Sean Rose A newly published research study, titled “Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of American football’” diagnosed CTE in 110 of 111 former NFL players, and overall in 177 of 202 former football players with varying amounts of playing exposure. This is an important study because it included the largest number of CTE cases in football players ever published. However, it's important to put these results into the right context. Understanding two different research principles is necessary when interpreting the results: levels of scientific evidence and selection bias. There are multiple levels of scientific evidence, from weak to strong. Opinion and anecdotal findings (for example, when a doctor notices a pattern in a few of his/her patients) are the weakest types of evidence. Randomized trials and compilations of multiple trials are the strongest. A case series: which means that the people included in the study were chosen based on their medical condition, is considered to be one of the weaker types of This study is a case series because the football players were already known or suspected to have CTE. Case series are unable to establish a cause-effect relationship or the incidence of a disease. "Selection bias" means that the people who are included in a study are not randomly chosen, and the group chosen is not representative of the population that needs to be studied. For example, if you want to know what percentage of students at a school have strep throat, you would bias the results by only testing those students complaining of a sore throat. In this study, the player or his family chose to donate his brain to be studied for CTE, likely because he was having symptoms and other brain problems before he died. Farmer football players who do not have symptoms before dying are less likely to donate their brains to be studied for CTE. Keeping in mind these two research principles, it becomes clear that focusing on the percentage of football players diagnosed with CTE in this study is misleading. The high frequency of CTE in this group of patients could represent the high degree of selection bias. As the authors of this study acknowledge, “Caution must be used in interpreting the high frequency of CTE in this sample, and estimates of prevalence cannot be concluded or implied from this sample." Much more research, involving study types with stronger scientific evidence, is needed to determine the risk factors for developing CTE. Studying a random group of former football players' brains, or following a group of youth football players through their years of participation, would provide that stronger evidence. As we await the results of ongoing research in these areas, we should be thoughtful in the way we handle the current evidence. CTE does develop in some football players, as well as other athletes and non-athletes who are exposed to repetitive head impacts. We don't know the degree of risk, but it is reasonable to assume that there is a dose effect (i.e. more head impacts increase your risk). Taking results from studies of NFL players and applying them to children is problematic. In the current study, CTE was not seen in any individuals who only played football in grade school, and seen at a low frequency in those who only played through high school. It is also important to note that the current study findings have not been replicated in better designed studies. For example, in a study of over 400 individuals (average age 68) who played high school football from 1946-1956, there was no increased risk of dementia or other neurodegenerative diseases compared to classmates who did not play a contact sport.1 The bottom line is that while concern about CTE in former NFL players may be an appropriate response to this study, putting it into the right context highlights the need to conduct substantially more research using different stud y designs before we make dramatic conclusions and statements about CTE and contact sports participation in general. 1. Savica R, Parisi JE, Wold LE, Josephs KA, Ahlskog JE. High school football and risk of neurodegeneration a community-based study. Mayo Clinic Proc. 2012;87:335-340.
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