On Christmas day in 2015, a film called Concussion hit theatres. It is about the long-term damage football can cause on the brain. It is the true story of Bennet Omalu, a pathologist who was the first to discover that some football players had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated brain trauma. This disease causes depression and dementia, as well as other behavioral changes.
This type of brain disease has been known to exist in boxers as well as football players. Since Omalu’s discovery, doctors at Boston University’s CTE Center have since found CTE in the brains of 76 out of 79 deceased NFL players.
If you or a loved one has played football in the past, we highly encourage you to monitor your behavior closely. If you are worried that your brain has been affected, you should contact a neurologist as well as a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can determine whether or not you have a claim and can fight to recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Here are some signs of brain damage to look out for:
- Loss of consciousness ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes
- Confusion and disorientation (even if no loss of consciousness)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensory problems, such as blurry vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, or changes in ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or swings
- Feelings of depression or anxiety
For a more complete list of symptoms, visit the Mayo Clinic site.
At Ringstad Law Office, P.C., Ken and I are very involved in our community. We are particularly fond of sports and spend much of our time supporting our local teams, from school leagues to the professionals. Ken has coached various sports for several years, and I am a self-proclaimed hockey fanatic.
So when fall rolls around each year, we bring out our sweaters and blankets and head to the nearest football stadium. I, myself, am a graduate of Monroe Catholic High School, so there’s a soft spot in my heart for the mighty Rams, although I will root on the Lathrop Malemutes all the same.
We admire any and all sports players, and football is no different. It’s a rough game that takes guts, stamina, and an inner strength to keep fighting despite repeated blows.
Although we admire football players, we can’t help but think about the long-term effects of such a game. As personal injury lawyers, we have spent our lives defending our community members when their well-being has been negatively impacted by the wrongdoings of others, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
We hope that the NFL will pay attention to the findings of Omalu and other neurologists and will implement measures that provide football players with better protection from permanent brain damage. We also encourage young players to be smart on the field. Listen to your body, and if you have been injured, make sure you get the proper medical care before you decide whether or not to return to the game. Research is still being done surrounding CTE and the amount of brain trauma it takes to develop this disease. It may not ever be a sport that is entirely safe for the brain. We will continue to watch this issue as it unfolds.
As always, if you need legal advice, do not hesitate to call our office or fill out our consultation request form.