March 2013 Archives

Concussions cause long-term damage to brain

Alabama residents who have sustained head trauma or who work in risky professions may be interested in a new study from New York University's Langone School of Medicine, which has found that even mild traumatic brain injuries, such as those suffered in a concussion, can result in long-term structural damage to the brain. Approximately 1.7 million people each year suffer a traumatic brain injuries, about 75 percent of which are classified as mild. These injuries can occur due to a blow to the head or during an accident in which the victim experiences whiplash. The study examined 28 patients with mild traumatic brain injury along with a control group of 22 people. Some of the participants were subjected to an MRI one or two months after injury and then again one year later. Even after a year, researchers found measurable differences in brain volume and damage to certain regions in the brain when victims of brain injury were compared to the control group.

Alabama man charged with hit-and-run

A 23-year-old man was arrested and charged with leaving an accident with injuries in connection with a crash that injured a pedestrian. The car accident occurred on Fortner Street in Dothan, Alabama, when the driver struck a man who was standing on the right-of-way. The pick-up truck fled the scene as the victim lay on the ground. According to authorities, the pedestrian suffered multiple injuries; no information has yet been released on the extent of the physical trauma. The suspect is being held on a $2,500 bond. There is also no word from authorities on how they tracked down the suspect, but they did state that they had a description of the vehicle before they made the arrest.

Car crashes associated with staggering costs

Recent statistics indicate that Alabama has one of the highest numbers of car crash deaths per year when compared to the other states. One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted driving, which includes texting while driving, an activity that has been shown to increase the chances of being in a car accident by 2,300 percent. The costs of car wrecks are high: From an emotional perspective, collisions can cost people their friends and family. Teens are especially at risk for collisions, with car accidents being the leading cause of death among teenagers. 16-year-old drivers have been shown to have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age. Two of three teens who are involved in a car accident are male. 

Commercial fishing is a dangerous business

Alabama residents may know that commercial fishermen have the highest fatality rate of any job in the United States. Most of these deaths occur in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, there were 116 deaths for every 100,000 workers, and there were more than 500 wrongful death from 2000 to 2009. Sinking fishing vessels are the primary cause of these deaths. Approximately 33 percent of the deaths occurred when a person fell overboard. Of the remaining deaths, a large percentage were the result of entanglement with machinery on board the ship, such as the deck winches. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports three winch-related injuries during each year of the nine year span studies. This number may be inaccurate because researchers believe that not all injuries were reported. 

Two persons injured in rear-end collision

Three cars collided on Alabama 21. All three vehicles were traveling south at the time of the car accidents. Police do not believe that cell phone use, alcohol or drugs were contributing factors. Investigators believe that a Dodge Ram collided with the rear-end of a Pontiac Vibe. A Nissan Frontier was stopped in front of the Pontiac. The force of the collision drove the Pontiac into the Nissan. All three vehicles were removed from the scene by a tow truck. The 46-year-old Dodge driver did not report any injuries. The 29-year-old Pontiac driver and the 59-year-old Nissan driver were both treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Regional Medical Center and then released. There were no passengers in any of the vehicles.

I-65 Chilton crash kills 1, injures 4

A fatal crash on Interstate 65 in Chilton County, Alabama killed one man, when the vehicle he was in was rear-ended, and injured four others. A total of four vehicles were involved in the various car accidents stemming from the initial rear-end collision. The victims' injuries ranged from life-threatening to minor. Four vehicles collided at mile marker 222 near the Jemison/Thorsby exit. An 84-year-old man who was a passenger in a Ford Explorer that was rear-ended was killed instantly. The driver of the Ford Explorer suffered life-threatening injuries. The victim who died was from Livonia, Michigan. 

Highway 21 crash claims two lives, injures five

A deadly collision on AL-21 north of Sylacauga during the late evening hours of March 1 is still being investigated by state police. As is often the case immediately after many car accidents, the chain of events leading up to the collision is not apparent, but it has been revealed that a 35-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were killed in the wreck. Five other individuals were injured, four of which were children.

2-vehicle accident in Alabama causes critical injuries

Police are investigating the cause of a two-vehicle car accident that caused serious injuries to one woman. The incident occurred on the morning of Feb. 23 on Scenic Road in Fort Payne. A 54-year-old woman from DeKalb County was driving south in a 1987 Nissan Maxima when her vehicle crossed into the northbound lane and struck another vehicle, a 2012 Nissan van. The driver of the Maxima sustained serious injuries as a result of the car accident and was listed in critical condition at a local hospital. The driver of the van, a 24-year-old male, was also treated in a local hospital and has been released.

Children particularly vulnerable to head injuries

In the wake of recent controversy over traumatic head injuries sustained by NFL players and a Harvard statistic indicating that professional football players' lives are, on average, 20 years shorter than that of average males, all manner of sports have come under close scrutiny for their injury potential. While many Alabama children are encouraged to participate in youth sports, the possibility of a brain injuries is even greater for them than it is for grown adults. The chair of the Alabama Statewide Sports Concussion Taskforce, or ASSCT, notes that young, undeveloped brains are particularly susceptible to injury, and the younger the brain, the more recovery time that is needed to recover from trauma. This much-needed recovery, however, conflicts with the child's need to keep up with learning in school; a two- or four-week recovery period could put a child behind in school.

University of South Alabama wrongful death suit dismissed

The University of South Alabama police headquarters was the scene of a fatal shooting following Mobile's annual BayFest celebration. The incident involved a campus police officer and a former Wetumpka High School student. Parents of the victim filed a wrongful death suit that has since been partially dismissed by the judge hearing the case. After two separate incidents where the student "assaulted two people in two vehicles," according to the police chief, the student attempted entry into the police station. Surveillance camera footage revealed the former student had removed all clothing and was sweating profusely. An officer approached, drew a 9mm and fatally shot the victim. At issue is the fact that the officer had other options available, including pepper spray and a baton.

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