In this video from the website brainline.org, Dr. John Corrigan from Ohio State University estimates that as many as half of traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims have prior histories of problems with alcohol or other drugs before sustaining brain injuries. Corrigan also estimates that roughly 10 percent of everyone treated in rehabilitation did not have an alcohol or drug abuse problem before, but will develop one later on.
On Monday, we discussed the recent news that former NFL linebacker Junior Seau had reportedly been taking Ambien. While Seau’s brain is currently being studied for possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive degenerative disease diagnosed posthumously in individuals with a history of multiple concussions, a different story about a different athlete in a different sport addressed the same issue.
The New York Times reported on June 4, 2012, that during his final three seasons in the NHL, hockey “enforcer” Derek Boogaard “received more than 100 prescriptions for thousands of pills from more than a dozen team doctors.” Boogaard died nearly one year before Seau as a result of an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol. According to the Times, in one six-month stretch from October 2008 to April 2009, “Boogaard received at least 25 prescriptions for the painkillers hydrocodone or oxycodone, a total of 622 pills, from 10 doctors.” Eight were team doctors of the club Boogaard played for, one was an oral surgeon in Minneapolis and another was a doctor for a different NHL team, the Times reported.
More importantly, the Times reported in December 2011 that Boogaard was the fourth hockey player of four examined to have CTE. However, scientists told Boogaard’s family that his case was different because “they were shocked to see so much damage in someone so young.” The damage appeared to be spreading through his brain and the scientists said that had he lived, Boogaard’s condition “likely would have worsened into middle-aged dementia.”
These stories focus on professional athletes, but TBIs or substance abuse issues can happen to anyone. As we said on Monday, an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI every year, as a result of slip and falls, car accidents or just accidental blows to the head. Both Seau and Boogaard’s stories are examples of the struggles involved in recovering from a brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI because of someone else’s negligence, contact our Orlando law firm to set up a free consultation and let our personal injury lawyers see how we may be able to help.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys