Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Here we go again! The S. Carolina 'resource' officer was fired for his over the top response to a CHILD being "non-compliant".  People have said that there are consequences for your actions and that is precisely what has happened here.  The officer, thankfully, isn't going to be "retrained" or moved to another situation. 

There is a reason why choke holds are illegal in many states, especially for police.  It further endangers the suspect and can lead to brain injury or death.  The same can be said about throwing someone across the room.  There can also be spinal injury, which can lead to a situation, like acquired hydrocephalus.  Anything that disrupts the flow or production of the cerebral spinal fluid (csf) has the potential to cause dangerous accumulation of pressure around the brain.

I don't care if the child, any child, hit an officer.  That is a ticketable offense, not something that rises to the level of this kind of violence.  We had a situation here a few years ago where an officer used excessive force on a teenage girl who threw a shoe at him and, supposedly, said something nasty about his "mother".  That officer also body slammed the teen, only this was against a cement wall.  He was the adult--the TRAINED adult.  The same with this situation.

So this officer apparently lives with a black woman.  Big deal.  Who is to say he doesn't toss her around the house from time to time.  I think it is fair to say that he out weighs said girlfriend and if he blows up because of a backtalking teen and has a history of overreaction/excessive force, then it isn't much of a stretch to theorize that he takes those behaviors home.

There needs to be more logic applied to how everyone, from the teacher in the classroom to the Principal of the school handles these kinds of situations.  Not to mention finding good officers for resource work who aren't hotheads with bad judgement.  I've said this before, this is also about how officers are trained.  Many, fortunately not most, don't have proper regard for the damage they can do that will take a productive (or potentially productive) person and make them vegetables, or worse.

I don't care what this particular child said or did.  It didn't rise to the level of the response that was taken, by anyone.  Also, I find it disturbing that a school that knew about this resource officer's behavior condoned it and let it continue!  Parents send their kids to school for an education, not to be terrorized.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October, 2015 Meeting

The October meeting was small, but very productive.  We had one conference call with Kim--she was out of state this month.

We did talk about 'Stir' and that led to talking about making adjustments to life when things suddenly change.  I really hope that more people read this book and that it opens a dialog with families about sudden changes in life and how we deal with it.  I do think that I came to this book with a very different experience than, say, my mother.  She had a whole different experience as the single parent dealing with the 'professionals' and a young child with challenges.

We also discussed ways to increase visibility in the community, as well as increase membership.  Unfortunately, we know that there are still people who keep hydrocephalus a secret or who feel alone in their experience.  It is far more common than they may have been led to believe.  One thing all of us do is remind folks that we meet on the third Saturday of each month from 12:45pm - 3:00 pm in the Casey Conference Room.  No reservations are required and kids are welcome to attend.

We are, as always, also looking for more 'stuff' to include in our booth at Brain Awareness Week's open house, usually held in March.  The date and time are to be announced.  But, again, as always, I'm planning the next one even before the present one is under way! 

CTE also came up as a topic of discussion, as it often does.  Hydrocephalus never seems to be part of the CTE discussion, in a general sense.  But it is often discussed at our meetings, because one way of acquiring the condition is through traumatic brain injury (TBI).  With the recent deaths of some high school students in Washington state and the definitive report on the cause of former NFL player, Adrian Robinson, Jr., it was bound to be discussed by us again.

Looking forward to the November meeting.  Hoping to see both new and familiar faces.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Just saw the news online about Adrian Robinson, Jr.'s post-mortem diagnosis of CTE at only 25 yrs old!  So sad.  So avoidable.  Such a tragedy.

With every article we see the same general information.  Players who played hurt and decisionmakers who failed to take concussions seriously.

I'm sure that this will be a topic of discussion at the meeting on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Reminder: October Meeting on 10/17

Just a quick reminder, this Saturday (10/17) will be the October meeting, from 12:45 pm to 3:00 pm in the Casey Conference Room at Swedish Hospital's Cherry Hill campus (17th & Jefferson, Seattle).  Drop ins & kids are welcome.  It should be an interesting meeting.  Some members will be calling in and we'll be talking about 'Stir'!

Monday, October 12, 2015

'Stir': A great read!!

I spent last night reading one of the best books I've read in ages!  'Stir', by Jessica Fechtor (author of the 'Sweet Amandine' blog) is a great book, but those of us in the world of TBIs and other great brain journeys, can identify with her memoir about suddenly going from one life to another, unexpectedly.

I started it last night at 9pm and didn't look at the clock again until 1 am!!  I swore I'd read just a chapter more when I got up this morning, but four chapters later I was rushing to get out the door on time.

I immediately emailed members of the group about it.  Everyone needs to read this, whether they are new to the experience, a seasoned veteran or anyone around us--friends, family, etc.  Can't say enough about this.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


The feature on the local Seattle Fox News station was quite interesting.  Locally this has been an issue in the news a lot, with an increasing amount of coverage being given to the research being done at the University of Washington on the subject.  One of the research projects at the UW has evolved into a business, specifically developing a helmet to be used in sports.

The serious approach to the development and implimenation of this helmet is interesting.  But Dr. Ellenbogen and others have also always mentioned that more concussions and other TBIs are acquired through riding bicycles than through football, specifically.  But honestly, ANY activity in life can involve a TBI at some point, some more damaging than others.

I always emphasize education and prevention, because as good as any helmet may be, it isn't the whole answer.  Everyone, parent, child, young adult, adult--needs to have the information and take it seriously.  Part of the problem, in my opionion, is that if someone has no experience with TBIs or the aftermath, they aren't going to come at it with the whole picture of potential issues.  There will always be those who will disregard, or feel they have a balanced point of view,  and those who feel the risks are too much, for them or their loved ones.   It is a personal choice.

I felt that the FOX feature was interesting, thorough and worth the time.

One of the reasons for the attention to this issue locally is the recent loss of Evergreen High School Sr., Kenny Bui, after being injured in a football game.  Our group's prayers and thoughts go out to Kenny Bui's family and friends.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I saw the Fox News piece on last night's news and they spoke about a special they will be airing tonight about the inner workings of the brain.  If their previous work is any indication, this should be excellent.

Last night they had a teaser where they interviewed two prominant docs from the University of Washington--one was neurosurgeon Richard Ellenbogen and the other was a sports medicine specialist.

A big part of the reason for the special and the smaller segments devoted to brain injury is because Washington state has already had something like four TBIs with high school football players.  As much as the high school football gets the attention, other sports (LaCrosse, soccer, softball, etc.) are also impacted.  Statistically, more brain injuries occur from bicycle accidents than sports.

There is also the added attention to the Lystadt Law, which requires any high school coaches/trainers to remove a kid from play if a concussion is even suspected.  Kids aren't allowed back in the game until they have been evaluated by a medical professional.  I believe they said that now all states have some form of the Lystadt Law in place to protect kids in sports.

I'm looking forward to watching tonight.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Our group's hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by the shooting at UCC in Roseburg, Oregon last week.  If we can be of any help to those facing survival with brain injury know that we are here.

Our October meeting will be on October 17th, from 12:45 pm to 3:00 pm in the Casey Conference Room at Swedish Hospital's Cherry Hill campus (17th & Jefferson, Seattle).  Drop ins & kids are welcome to attend, as well as anyone with an interest in hydrocephalus.  We offer moral support and information to families, friends, caregivers & those, of all ages, living with the condition.