Traumatic brain injury and other such diseases can waste the brain’s 1.5 kilogram mass by a third

The National Football League and the Canadian Football League have faced many suicides of players stricken with traumatic brain injury. Cumulative head trauma is the culprit.

Another well known sports personality has died: Ted Toogood, a former Toronto Argonaut. Over the years he played the sport he loved, he was battered about the field in many ways, including having his helmet torqued to one side. The neurons inside his brain would die, leaving in their wake protein that forms clumps, which then lurk in the brain tissue.

The time bomb starts ticking. The more head trauma, the more clumps. The more clumps, the more it affects an individual’s ability to function. Only death reveals the tau protein clumps that build up and turn the brain into a deadly liability, leading to death.

Toogood, like many other players in both football leagues, prided himself on his ability to take hits – hard hits that rocked the brain around inside the skull pan. When he died, a victim of Alzheimer’s, his autopsy showed he also had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Repeated concussions over the course of his athletic career opened the door to Alzheimer’s and led to his eventual death. Although his was not a death by suicide, he was still a victim of a silent killer; one that is rearing its head and sounding a warning call to those that play contact sports.

But, CTE does not only dog athletes. Its study and evaluation may also help battered children, hard working laborers, victims of car accidents, and even the elderly, who are subject to slips and falls. Certainly the concussions sustained in the sporting world have drawn big press, but the problem extends far beyond a playing field. It is just easier to spotlight athletes because they are readily available.

A healthy brain weighs in at about 1.5 kilograms. However, if that brain is subjected to neurodegenerative diseases, it can waste away by one third. Over time, the brain tissue atrophies, the small ventricles enlarge and what was once compact matter begins to slacken. Is the CTE process similar to Alzheimer’s? No one is sure about that, and studies will continue to ascertain if there is a link between the two, such as brain trauma. However, for now, it is a well known fact that Alzheimer’s may arrive as the result of a transient ischemic accident.

For now, death by CTE cannot be determined unless there is an autopsy. Research is striving to find a way to assess concussions faster, while the subject is still alive. The prevailing hope is that if CTE can be discovered earlier, treatment would become possible.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

Toddler run over by truck does not survive

When an emergency call goes out for help involving a child, the crews know it will be a tough call.

This story had one of the worst endings possible, the death of a toddler. A three-year-old boy was run over by a truck backing up through a parking lot. For some reason, like most small children do, the boy bolted away from his mother and ran off. A short time later, a truck ran him over. Although the boy was only pinned under the truck for a short period of time, it was enough for him to sustain life-threatening injuries. He died at the hospital later that day.

Stories like this bring home the very real safety issues that we all need to be concerned about. Small children simply do not understand why they can’t run free in places like parking lots, and drivers in those lots, and other locations need to be on constant alert to avoid accidents like this one. Drivers need to be even more cautious during holiday seasons, as there are far too many distractions for everyone.

Although many people condemn the use of child leashes as being inhumane and humiliating, a restraint such as that would have saved this boy’s life. Perhaps the most important thing to consider in keeping a child safe is not what looks odd or punitive, but what will keep them alive when they are out in dangerous situations, even if they are with a parent.

Being with his mother in the parking lot did not help this three-year-old, and once he had broken free from his mother, there was no way she could catch up to him before the accident. It’s a devastating blow to watch a child get run over, not only for the parents, but for the driver that struck the boy.

In this instance, there will be more questions to answer before the police get a clear picture of how this misfortune happened. For instance, was the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was the driver texting while driving? Or otherwise distracted and not paying attention? Not to mention the biggest question of why was the truck driving backwards through a crowded parking lot? It is not clear whether charges will be laid, but should law enforcement discover the truck driver could have avoided the accident, but for a negligent action, there may be charges pending.

In a wrongful death case such as this, parents may wish to speak with an Austin injury lawyer. They need to know what their rights are and how to move forward with a lawsuit seeking compensation for the sudden death of their loved one. Avoid dealing directly with insurance companies, as their main goal is to settle quickly and cheaply. They do not consider the agony of the parents. They are more interested in their fiscal bottom line. Take any questions about personal injury accidents to an Austin injury lawyer, particularly if you want justice.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

Car Wrecks: What Should I Bring To My First Meeting With A Lawyer?

You should bring everything you think is relevant, and probably more.  We always want too much information rather than not enough.  In an automobile accident claim, you should consider bringing the following:

1. ACCIDENT REPORT. In most car wreck cases, you’ll have either the short blue or brown form filled out by the parties at the scene or the full accident report from the investigating officer.  Whatever you have, bring it.

2. PHOTOS/VIDEOS. If you have photos or video of the accident scene, the other parties, or your injuries, then bring those in. Photos can be priceless in helping tell your story.

3. A LIST OF DOCTORS/MEDICAL PROVIDERS. Prior to your consultation, you should prepare a list of doctors and medical providers who you have seen for the wreck We’re going to ask you for that in the meeting. Instead of you being put on the spot and trying to think of those items off the top of your head, try to prepare the list in advance. I’ve found that clients who prepare the list in advance (without the stress or being rushed) do a much better job of naming everyone that needs to be on the list.

4. MEDICAL RECORDS AND BILLS. If you have any medical records or bills, bring those to the initial meeting.

5. YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY/MEDICARE or MEDICAID INFORMATION. It might not occur to you, but it helps to have your health insurance policy. Because of subrogation principles, your health insurance is probably going to be asked to be reimbursed for any medical expenses it pays on your behalf. The same is true for Medicare, Medicaid, VA Benefits and any number of other groups that pay for your medical care. To help us prepare for your subrogation claims, please gather your health insurance policy, Medicare or Medicaid records, or any additional information that you think might help us pursue those subrogation claims.

6. YOUR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY. Again, you might not think about this, but we want your automobile insurance policy. We’ll need that policy to help you determine whether you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM), which may help you with your claim.

7. CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY/DEFENDANT. If you have already started receiving communication from the insurance company or the other side, we’ll want to know about that. Please bring that information to the first meeting.

As the case goes on, we’ll need more information, but this is a good starting list.  If you have any other information that you think we will need, feel free to bring that as well.

Car Wrecks: Traffic Fatalities Continue To Mount

It’s been less than a week since I posted about last year’s record number of traffic fatalities, and already we’ve seen a number of 2013 traffic fatalities.  On New Year’s day, a father and son were killed in a motorcycle accident, and on Thursday, a 19 year old was killed in a rollover accident on IH 35 near the Texas 45 toll road.

Combining those wrecks with two fatal accidents from earlier in the week, this has already been one of the most deadly weeks we’ve seen.

It’s speculation at this point, but the likely culprits in these wrecks were the same ones we see over and over:  speed, distracted driving, or alcohol.

If drivers would avoid those three items, we would probably avoid about 90% of the car wrecks that we see.

Austin Car Wrecks: Let’s Reduce Traffic Fatalities This New Year

2012 is finally winding down, and sadly, it has been the deadliest year for Austin car wrecks in over a decade.  As of December 27, Austin had 77 traffic fatalities, the most since 2000.  Fortunately, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is looking to do something about it.

In a December 29 Austin American Statesman story, Acevedo outlined a number of steps the Austin Police Department planned to take to reduce traffic fatalities.  For example, Acevedo intends to increase the number of  “no refusal” weekends (alcohol has been a factor in at least one-third of this year’s fatalities), increase patrols, give out more tickets rather than warnings, and crack down on pedestrian law-breakers.  He also stated that he wants to get together with other law enforcement officials in the area.

I’m hopeful that these initiatives will work.  We see first hand the devastation caused by traffic fatalities to family and friends of those who are killed.  It’s appropriate that we do more in the new year to help reduce those losses.


Schuelke Law maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke

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