More than 4,000 former pro football players are currently suing the NFL over football-related brain injuries. While falls and motor vehicle accidents continue to be the two leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States, more and more research suggests that playing football significantly increases one’s risk for both chronic brain injury and degenerative brain disease. In fact, researchers at Boston University who posthumously examined the brains of 34 former NFL players discovered that 33 of them suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive head trauma.
TBI victims may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, an experienced Orlando injury attorney can protect your legal rights and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Victims of CTE
In May 2012, former NFL player Junior Seau committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest. Hoping for answers as to why the 20-year veteran linebacker took his own life, his family donated his brain to the National Institutes of Health. Researchers determined that Seau, like so many other former pro football players, suffered from CTE, which involves symptoms such as:
- Progressive dementia
- Impaired judgment
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impulse control issues
- Muscle tremors
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing problems
CTE has also been diagnosed in younger athletes, including University of Pennsylvania offensive lineman Owen Thomas, who took his own life in April 2010.
Improving Player Safety
In an effort to minimize football players’ risk of traumatic brain injury, policymakers at the professional, college and high school levels have implemented new rules designed to reduce the number of concussions happening on the field. For example:
- The NFL requires teams to consult with an independent neurological consultant concerning player concussions. Players are not supposed to return to football activities until both the team physician and the independent neurologist have cleared them to do so.
- The Ivy League restricts full-contact practices to twice per week and enforces tough penalties for helmet-to-helmet tackles during gameplay. The league also places an emphasis on player education concerning proper tackling techniques, concussion signs and symptoms, and the short-term and long-term effects of repetitive head trauma.
- The Football Rules Committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations requires that players sit out for one play if their helmet comes off while the ball is live. This rule intended to encourage proper helmet fit.
Whether sustained while playing football, in a car accident or on the job, a TBI can have lasting effects. If you or your loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, contact a knowledgeable Orlando injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.