Clinton on Clinton: TBI

Last Wednesday, at the Democratic National Convention, former President Bill Clinton spoke, explaining why he believes his wife, Hillary Clinton, is the best candidate to lead this country for the next 4 years.  He spoke of their courtship, their time as new parents, her time as a Senator, etc.  Bill’s speech was long, many say too long, but interesting.  Of particular interest was Bill’s statement that, “she worked for more extensive care for people with traumatic brain injury.”

Mr. Clinton’s statement came right after he discussed Hillary’s time on the Armed Services Committee.  Because of her time on the Committee, many of the TBI-related pieces of legislation she sponsored were directed to those in Service.  For example, she sponsored the Heroes at Home Act of 2007 (S.1065) which “directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a program on training and certification of family caregivers of veterans and member with traumatic brain injury”.   However, the TBI-related legislation that she co-sponsored was not necessarily directed solely towards the troops.  As an example, the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2008, which includes 6 Sections, “authorizes the Secretary, acting through the Director of CDC, to conduct a study to (1) determine the incidence of traumatic brain injury and prevalence of traumatic brain injury related disability; (2) report national trends in traumatic brain injury; (3) identify common therapeutic interventions which are used for the rehabilitation of individuals with such injuries; (4) identify interventions and therapies that can prevent or re-mediate the development of secondary neurologic conditions related to traumatic brain injury; and (5) develop practice guidelines for such rehabilitation”.

Given that former President Clinton stated that Clinton worked tirelessly for those suffering from traumatic brain injury, one would think her efforts would be more evident.  However, legislation review seems to show that former President Clinton’s statement is correct.  It is those who suffer from traumatic brain injury and their caregivers to decide if public knowledge of legislation or the legislation itself is of more import.

Tax Returns Could Trump Trump’s Philanthropy Claims

Donald Trump often speaks of all the donations he makes to various charities.  In January, Trump held a fundraiser for at least 40 veterans-focused nonprofits, which raised $4.5, $5.5, $5.6 or $6 million, depended on which member of his staff you ask and when you ask them.  Some of this money was donated by Trump himself, with the majority of the money coming from fundraiser attendees.  The Bob Woodruff Foundation received a check for $75,000, which Woodruff said, “We can put it to very good use to help our vets and their families.” Also, in May, “[Trump] gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.”

Recently, The Wall Street Journal looked into the history of donations from the self-proclaimed philanthropist to all charities throughout the years.  The title of the article that followed this investigation is “Trump promised millions to charity.  We found less than $10,000 over 7 years.”  (I think the title of this story explains the findings of the Journal, although it can neither be proven nor repudiated without Trump’s tax returns.)

Conventions Are Staged, Too


DaPresident Dana White delivers a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is not an athlete, but he works in athletics.  He is not involved in politics, but yesterday he spoke at the Republican National Convention.  And Dana White doesn’t have a brain injury, but he makes sure other people do… And it’s with the help of Donald Trump that he can do this all.

In a 4 minute speech, White used the knowledge he acquired from acting as a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promoter, to promote Trump for President.  He describes Trump as his friend, noting that, “Just for the record [he] has nothing to do with my business.”  (To counter that statement, know that the first 2 UFC fights were fought at the Trump Taj Majal, and Trump continues to host UFC events at his Atlantic City casino.)  He then goes into Trump’s three characteristics that will make him a great President.*

When UFC fighting first came out, in 1993, it was considered a blood-sport.  The description of the sport is not simply rhetoric, as, after time in the ring, fighters drip with blood.  Last year, Wanderlei Silva, a former fighter, claimed that the UFC fixes its games.  (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. admits to fixing their games.)  However, if we accept the games as being fixed, that doesn’t make them any safer.  For example, the comparatively tamer World Wrestling Entertainment is being sued by more than 50 former fighters for the brain trauma they suffered in the sport.  Since the sport is essentially “fake”, being scripted and choreographed, the WWE is “directly responsible for wrestlers’ injuries”, according to the lawsuit.

According to a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, about one-third of professional MMA matches end in knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts.  “The researchers [of this study] at the University of Toronto proposed introducing rules like in boxing where a fighter gets a 10-second count and evaluated after a knockdown. They also proposed more training to help referees to identify fighters who are defenseless or have lost consciousness so they can stop fights more quickly.”  This year, the UFC extended its partnership with the Cleveland Clinic in the “Professional Fighters Brain Health Study”.

Yes, the UFC is trying to better its sport, to prevent head injury thereby allowing athletes to stay in the sport longer.  Technically, Trump is supporting this investigation.  However, do you think that the man who likes to see head collisions in football wants to make the UFC safer?  Will the sport continue to be as popular if its rings are not filled with blood after a fight, thereby decreasing his game sales?  Assuming the UFC is here to stay, Trump needs to think about his point of view.  It’s one thing to except that a sport is going to happen, it’s a whole other thing to give it a place to happen.

(Currently, in combat sports, there is a call from some for fighters to toss away their gloves and fight bare-handed.  That call sounds awful and horribly unsafe, and would increase hand injuries.  For the head, bare-handed fighting is actually safer (safer, not safe).)

*First, White says that Trump has excellent business instincts, presumably talking about his instincts with the UFC – even though, as White said, “[Trump] has nothing to do with it.”  Second, Trump is a hard worker.  Third, Trump is a loyal, supportive friend.  Being a good friend is a great feature, but I’m not sure how it applies to the presidency, though there was talk about Trump buddying up with Putin.

Trump & Sanders Ignore Woodruff’s Vets/TBI Letter – Clinton Responds

In 2006, Bob Woodruff was a star in the field of news reporting.  He had just earned the position of anchor of ABC’s renowned news show World News Tonight.  Being a diligent journalist, in January 2006, he traveled to Iraq to report on the ongoing war.  Then the unforeseeable happened: He and cameraman Doug Vogt stepped on a roadside bomb that then exploded.  The two men were immediately taken to the U.S. Air Force hospital south of Balad where Woodruff had head surgery to remove the most severely damaged parts of his skull.  Following his time in Iraq, Woodruff was transferred briefly to Germany, then to America.  In a hospital in Maryland, Woodruff was put in a medically induced coma for 36 days and finally, in March 2006, was transferred to a hospital in his hometown of Westchester, New York.

After this incident, Woodruff took a break from news reporting to recover and then in 2007 returned.  However, like many of those with TBI, he went back to his “old life” too quickly.  He was not successful in news reporting, forgetting words and similar things that happen to those who suffer a brain injury.  (Personally, I don’t think Woodruff was wrong for trying to go back on air when he first did.  He remembered what he loved to do and pursued it.  If he hadn’t done this, it would have haunted him forever and, more importantly, he wouldn’t have known what he had to improve before he could return to the air again.)  However, in time, he was able to return to work as a journalist and, “since then, he has reported from around the globe on a variety of subjects for the [ABC] network.”

It’s good to remember that, with every brain injury, there is something positive that comes out, whether it be one thing or many, whether it be in business, family, etc.  For Woodruff and his wife, Lee, their personal experience with brain injury allowed then to understand some of the struggles that veterans with TBI, PTSD and other neurological injuries face, leading them to found a nonprofit focused on veterans and brain injury, the Bob Woodruff Foundation.  The mission of this foundation is to “stand up for heroes so that we can find, fund, and shape innovative programs that help our impacted veterans, service members and their families thrive.”  The more than $30 million donated to the Foundation has been used to fund education and employment, rehabilitation and recovery and quality of life.

In January 2016, Woodruff sent a letter to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.  To date, the only candidate that has responded to this letter is Clinton.  For Mr. Trump, the lack of response is particularly surprising, as he often talks about how America needs to rebuild the military and says the VA is “absolutely unacceptable”.  As an American and a brain injury survivor, I am quite interested in the responses of Trump and Sanders to Woodruff’s questions.

Gabby Giffords: Supports Hillary Clinton’s Stricter Gun Laws, But Still Shoots

Five years ago, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D–AZ) was nearly fatally shot.  Specifically, “A deranged gunman killed six people and wounded about a dozen others, including Ms. Giffords, at one of her constituent events in Tucson in January 2011.”  Certain things, like speaking, are still more difficult for Giffords, but she has said that her incident made her a “stronger, better, tougher” woman.

Since then, Giffords has promoted stricter gun control, continuing with her message even after she resigned from Congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery.  With her husband Mark Kelly, she founded Americans for Responsible Solutions to “encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”  Now, she and her husband have been out showing their support for Hillary Clinton for President and Clinton’s proposed stricter gun laws.

Whether you agree with her or not, the fact is that Hillary Clinton wants to further restrict the rights given to us under the 2nd amendment of the Constitution.  It seems common sense that Giffords, a woman who was shot in the head, would support this and she does.  However, Giffords still appreciates the recreational use of guns, speaking to the press about how she likes shooting at a gun range near her home.  She and her husband are avid gun owners.  Her husband says, “There’s no reason why we can’t have our right to ownership and at the same time, do everything we possibly can to keep guns [away from certain people].”

That’s a tricky issue.  One way to look at this is that Giffords and her husband promote the fact that Clinton wants to further dictate what others can do, but they find no need to follow the rules themselves.  However, another view is that by controlling who can buy a gun, they are trying to save lives.  In 2010, for example, 11,078 deaths were attributed to homicide by gun.  But is the solution to simply take guns away from the people who are most likely to misuse them, like the mentally ill?  Consider the fact that the number of people mortally wounded by guns is equal, for example, to that of motor vehicle accident death.  (The number of deaths by gun fire also includes suicide, which is the largest cause of gun death.  Motor vehicle accidents are much less likely to be suicides, so presumptively taking away guns from those inclined to commit suicide, simply means that those people would have to think of new ways to kill themselves.  It would likely not save lives.)

In further restricting who is allowed to buy a gun, the government would be taking away guns from the many people who do not and would not misuse them.  I see no comparable law or proposed law for motor vehicles.  The opposing valid views on the same issue are specifically why gun control law has been a big issue in government since before I can remember, and it doesn’t look like it’s about to stop being one anytime soon.

Personally, I know that the “gun issue” has gotten a lot of press.  People seem to think that restricting the use of guns will eliminate violence.  Even though I have never shot a gun myself, I have family members who, just like Ms. Giffords and Mark Kelly, are avid hunters.  My family members who do shoot are not, nor could they be, mistaken for terrorists, criminals, or mentally ill.  The obvious issue with the law is that once government does not allow one person to buy a gun, what is to stop them from preventing more people, such as my family members, from buying a gun.

Regardless of my personal views on the “gun issue”, the fact that Giffords, after being shot in the head, still has the cognitive ability to go out and promote this law is remarkable.  I think her recovery is an inspiration for every brain injured person, and really an inspiration to all people.

Critics Likely Magnify Clinton’s Health Issues

In late 2012, Hillary Clinton suffered a concussion because of a reported fainting spell. A few weeks later, a blood clot was found near her brain.  (Her doctors stated that her blood clot has had no neurologically effects.)  These are two things that one hopes to never happen to them; however, concussions do happen to 3.8 million people annually, according to CDC estimates.  A concussion is a mild brain injury.  Her husband, Bill, said that it took Hillary six months to fully recover.  Bill Clinton’s statement is likely true, though no one knows how Bill defines “fully recovered”, as this time table is more akin to the recovery time for a mild stroke.  Mild brain traumas, such as concussion, usually resolve themselves in 2-3 weeks, with full recovery sometimes taking up to 3 months.

Since her campaign began, critics have been doggedly trying to find signs that Hillary Clinton is neurologically unable to handle the job of Commander-in-Chief.  There was much talk about the fact that she stepped off the stage during the commercial break of a Democratic debate and did not return until after the debate had re-started.  My initial thought was that she needed to take a restroom break.  Even though many newscasters had the same conclusion, others followed Donald Trump’s lead by reporting that she had to step away because she was neurologically overwhelmed.  There was talk in the news about her long coughing lapses – in February, during cold weather – being signs of neurological problems.  Donald Trump has stated, “Hillary Clinton does not have the stamina… does not have the strength to be President.  You watch her life… [then] she’ll go away for three, four days…”

A known journalist even wrote, “Hillary still suffers from … blinding headaches, exhaustion, insomnia, and a tremor in her hands.”  This journalist is Ed Klein, who also wrote a book about the Clinton’s that has since largely been discredited.

Please, if one is to say that Mrs. Clinton is not fit to be Commander-in-Chief of this nation, use her political views as the reason, not a manufactured health issue.