Did you play football as a child? Maybe you have a child who plays or dreams of playing as a star in the NFL. As we watched Super Bowl 50, it was evident that the popularity of the sport is greater today than ever. But, who has the interest of the players at heart? No, we’re not talking money; we’re talking about the health and long-term ramifications of head-to-head contact sports.
Let’s look at the numbers.
It’s not just football. Other male AND female sports also pose concussion risks, like soccer, rugby, hockey, and cheerleading. (See Concussions aren’t limited to football.)
What’s the difference between a concussion and a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Absolutely nothing, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And while “mild” may not sound very sinister, repeated traumatic brain injuries can lead to a lifetime of brain damage and debilitating mental health issues.
Parents, take a moment to view this video, which helps explain the symptoms of concussions:
Litigation Forces NFL to Protect Players Better
The recent film, Concussions, is forcing a closer look at sports and concussions. The movie opens with the story of “Iron Mike” Webster. Fifteen years as a center in the NFL for the Pittsburgh Steelers had earned him stardom and four Super Bowl rings, but also a host of behavioral and memory problems in his later years. Webster died at the age of 50. After months of studying Webster’s brain, he discovered signs of a new disease marked by severe brain damage. He named it chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and published a paper that linked the new disease to the repeated concussions suffered by Webster while playing football.
For years, the NFL ignored extensive medical evidence until finally acknowledging in 2009 that repeated head injures can cause brain damage. Litigation has played an important role in forcing the NFL (and other organizations) to address this growing crisis and change head injury protocol, as documented in this extensive report from the American Association for Justice.
The NFL eventually settled for $765 million, causing a ripple effect throughout the sports world. Many professional, college and high school sports programs have changed concussion protocols and rules of play as a result, and insurance companies have followed suit by requiring stricter adherence to proper procedures for TBI care.
Read more about these laws and whether or not they are actually being followed in our monthly issue of Let America Know.
We want all of our young kids and professional athletes to stay safe while enjoying the sports they love. In the event you or someone you know suffers from concussions or CTE and need legal assistance, please contact our personal injury law office.