Brain injuries and football have become a popular topic of discussion over the last several years. Specifically, many people are talking about the implications of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of damage found in the brains of deceased football players. The recent death of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez has also kept the discussion about CTE in the public spotlight.
CTE continues to befuddle the medical community, but it is believed the condition is caused by repetitive brain trauma. Collisions during contact sports such as football cause frequent concussions which help foster the conditions for CTE to develop. CTE is a crippling condition that may cause memory loss, poor impulse control, depression, substance abuse disorder and a general loss of cognitive abilities.
In addition to CTE, football players can also suffer from subdural hematomas, a type of bleeding that occurs between the surface of the brain and its outer covering. Subdural hematomas can be fatal or lead to permanent disability if they are not promptly treated. The New York Times published an article on this football risk titled “An Ordinary Football Game, Then A Player Dies.”
Can Youth Football Players Suffer Brain Injuries?
Brain injuries are also a major concern for youth football players. Although concussions are a major concern, there are rarer cases of young athletes dying or becoming severely disabled. Over the years, multiple high school football players have died or suffered from catastrophic injuries while playing the sport. Zackery Lystadt and Jake Snakenberg are two commonly cited examples. Both players are believed to have suffered from “second-impact syndrome”, a condition that has generated controversy in the medical community.
Return-to-play laws were passed across the nation after the Snakenberg and Lystadt cases became widely known. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all 50 states have passed their own versions of “return-to-play” laws. These laws are meant to prevent complications caused by concussions. Return-to-play laws typically require athletic trainers and coaches to undergo training that can help them identify players with concussion symptoms. In addition, these laws stipulate when players (from any sport) can return to play after suffering concussions. It is important for schools and athletic programs to implement and follow these laws. When concussion guidelines are ignored, young athletes and their families suffer unfair and often permanent consequences.
The Atlantic City personal injury lawyers at Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C. have an extensive record of helping individuals and families who were harmed by the negligent actions of others.