Many Victims of Domestic Violence Have Undiagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury

The New Yorker reports that medical professionals often fail to diagnose traumatic brain injury (TBI) in victims of domestic abuse. Per this news analysis, when emergency room personnel examine women following an attack, they usually don’t order CT scans or MRIs. A diagnosis of TBI frequently indicates that the victims of abuse are likely to become victims of homicide later. Without the TBI diagnosis, in other words, abuse victims go home from the hospital unprotected, unaware, and perhaps in imminent danger.

Strangulation Attempts Cause TBI

Approximately half of women victims of domestic abuse have suffered strangulation attempts. Such incidents can cause mild to moderate brain injuries from the cutting off of the oxygen supply. The lack of diagnoses revolves around the fact that most injuries from strangulation are internal rather than external. Only a small percentage show wounds visible enough to photograph, and law enforcement often characterizes the injuries in reports as minor abrasions to the neck. In addition, since victims tend to have poor recall of strangulation, authorities often downplay the harm, which results in prosecution of the abusers on less serious charges.

People Who Work With Abuse Victims Need Training Regarding Strangulation Signs

Since strangulations dramatically increase the risk of homicide, anyone working with domestic abuse victims, including police officers, attorneys and shelter workers, should receive training in how to recognize it and the TBI it causes. In addition to acquiring evidence from brain scans, personnel should watch for symptoms such as memory problems, hearing loss, dizziness, headaches and anxiety. The training should also involve how to conduct an investigation and how to keep a victim safe. Increased prosecution of perpetrators of strangulation will lead to a decreased number of homicides among domestic abuse victims. The National Center for Violence Against Women provides information in how to deal with strangulation cases.

How Is the NFL Handling Its Concussion Problem? A Look at the Statistics

Football is a dangerous sport. Players across the nation of all ages and levels of talent suffer injuries every day, from sprained ankles and pulled muscles to serious concussions, torn ligaments and tendons, and shattered bones. Fortunately, for the past several years, teams and leagues have made conscious efforts to decrease the number of player concussions. During the 2013 year, the NFL reported that the league saw a drop in concussions by 13 percent.

During the preseason and regular season in 2013, a total of 228 players got concussed. In 2012, by comparison, 261 players suffered concussions. Helmet to helmet contact, responsible for 53 percent of concussions in 2012, was responsible for less than half of concussions in the 2013 season. The NFL believes this improvement stems from a number of rule changes enacted to protect players from injury. Striking another player with the helmet can now be penalized, and intentionally striking another player in the head with the helmet, known as targeting, can result in an ejection from the game, The stiffer penalties and changes in culture – along with a growing understanding of the dangers of concussions – have led to positive adjustments that will hopefully continue.

Another potential method of protecting players from concussions has also appeared on the scene: head impact sensors. These devices can be used inside the helmet (and inside the mouth guard) to measure the force from a blow to the head. Developers hope the sensors can contribute to more sensitive safety engineering.

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