How Hits Hurt: Football and Traumatic Brain Injury

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How Hits Hurt: Football and Traumatic Brain InjurySoon your favorite football players–both amateur and pro–will be putting in some serious time on the field. This also means a fresh crop of articles about the dangers of football, and how the occasionally brutal hits sustained on the field add up to traumatic brain injury:

Seattle High School Football Player Was Brought to Hospital With Head Injury Before He Died

The Diagnosis That Rocked Football

The NFL’s Continuing Concussion Nightmare

Traumatic Brain Injury Found In Adrian Robinson Jr. Also Seen In Football Players As Young As 17

You may be better acquainted with this serious issue than you want to be. In fact, a loved one could be dealing with the impact of a traumatic brain injury. If you’re currently looking for a Central Florida personal injury to look at your case, know that personal injury attorney Jeff Badgley specializes in brain injury cases.

The latest story to rock the news is that of Adrian Robinson, Jr., a standout pro and college football player who committed suicide at the age of 25. Robinson’s autopsy results, released just this week, reveal that he was in the grips of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain injury and trauma.

While concussions are frequently associated with CTE, research shows that hits to the head don’t necessarily have to be concussive to cause major damage; CTE is also linked to numerous smaller hits that cause the buildup of a dangerous protein called tau. CTE can manifest as rage, depression, and eventually, dementia, and is linked to numerous suicides among former football players. The Boston-based brain bank that retains the tissue of deceased NFL players has determined that 76 of the 79 players it studied have some form of degenerative brain disease, likely due to chronic brain injury trauma.

These shocking findings have renewed calls for hit counts in football to keep track of how many times a player sustains a blow to the the head, and to limit players’ field time accordingly. While most football programs have dedicated protocols surrounding head injuries that occur on the field, these safeguards don’t take into account the repetitive brain damage that occurs during the regular course of playing football.

And occasionally, despite the rules designed to protect players, they still get seriously hurt. The family of a La Jolla, California high school player is suing the San Diego Unified School District after he was allegedly told to “suck it up” and keep playing after sustaining multiple concussions during a game. This win-at-all-costs mentality is hardly worth the present safety and future health of football players with still-developing brains.

Football is one of our favorite sports, so we have high expectations for the educational and coaching professionals who are entrusted with the great power of guiding young players through the game. We insist that these figures educate themselves and their team on the dangers of repetitive concussive injury, and be held accountable if they sacrifice their players’ health and well-being for competitive advantage.

In the football arena, these actions can be considered negligent:

  1. Failure to have a player with a suspected brain injury evaluated by a trained professional;
  2. Failure to take a player out of the game when there is a concussive injury;
  3. Failure to adequately inform players of the short-term consequences and long-term risks of “playing hurt” with a head injury;
  4. Failure to follow states’ specific “return to play” laws, which create standards and best practices for sending players back out on the field after a concussion.

If you or a loved one have been in a similar risky situation with football or another sport, and have suffered brain trauma as a result, we’d like to help. Call Orlando injury attorney Jeff Badgley today at 866-977-1544 for a free, no-obligation consultation about your brain trauma injury case.

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