Articles Posted in Head Injuries

The National Football League (NFL) has recently faced a number of lawsuits based on players’ head injuries. Recently, other leagues have also begun seeing an upswell of lawsuits, mostly based on the league’s failure to warn its players of the potential risks of participation in the league. According to a recent news source, one youth football league recently settled a case in similar circumstances. The lawsuit was brought in a Wisconsin court by the mother of a man who had committed suicide subsequent to injuries he sustained after playing football. The mother alleged that her son’s suicide was the result of numerous head injuries he suffered as a child playing in a youth football league.

football-1199159The mother alleged that her son, who was 25-years-old when he committed suicide, suffered brain damage after participating in the youth league for four years. He began participating in sports when he was 11. After the son’s death, an autopsy showed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The lawsuit alleges that the disease caused severe emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical problems, and that it was a substantial factor in contributing to his suicide. The son had experienced numerous concussions while playing football, some of which occurred while he played for the youth league.

The suit alleges that the football league was aware that the risks to young children were greater than to older players, but failed to warn players of these risks. The lawsuit points out that the sport is more dangerous for children who play with football helmets because the helmet weight is very heavy for children’s necks and bodies. It states that the organization failed to warn children and parents of the risk of permanent brain damage. The complaint sought $5 million in damages, and a settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount.

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It isn’t surprising that when sports fans think of concussion-related injuries, they think of football. Football is a game of hard hits, and even with helmets, head injuries occur. During the course of a game, it is not uncommon to see a player carted off the field with a head injury.

hockey-1-1251091The recent movie, Concussion, starring Will Smith, highlights the dangers of concussions in football. Sports fans may also link concussions with football because of a highly publicized class action lawsuit that former players filed against the National Football League (NFL) for brain-related injuries. A settlement in that case is on hold pending appeal.

Because of all the attention the NFL has received surrounding concussions, other sports, including hockey and soccer, have received far less fanfare despite the dangerous nature of their games. With soccer, it is understandable that the risk of brain injury is often overlooked, since the game is primarily played with the ball on the ground. But soccer is also a sport where players routinely head the ball after it has traveled high and far in the air, and mid-air head collisions can and do occur between players jostling for a head ball.

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For years, many former professional football players struggled with a constellation of neurological and mental health symptoms of unknown etiology. Many players believed that their symptoms were the result of their days on the gridiron, but clear explanations were rarely forthcoming.

football-1199159More recently, the base of evidence has grown to indicate that repeated blows to the head, especially those involving concussions, can cause severe neurological impairments and a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). While symptoms may be mild at first, retired players may ultimately be plagued by Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and severe dementia as a result of their playing days. CTE is also associated with extreme depression and even suicide.

As a result of their debilitating conditions, more than 5,000 former players sued the National Football League (NFL) for failing to warn them of the dangers of repeated concussions, and even concealing those dangers. These lawsuits were ultimately consolidated into a class action lawsuit, which also alleged that the NFL knew or should have known of the risks associated with frequent blows to the head.

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