By: Joseph Cammarata
Following years of litigation and ongoing research, the full scope of brain
injury risks faced by professional football players is becoming clearer
– and the new evidence is alarming. According to a study recently
published in the medical journal JAMA, researchers found chronic traumatic
encephalopathy (CTE) in 99% of NFL players studied.
CTE, a neurodegenerative brain disease that has been linked to repetitive
head trauma, is a progressive condition that can have debilitating and
life-altering effects for both victims and families. These commonly include:
- Memory loss
- Impaired judgment
- Aggression, anxiety, depression, or erratic behavior
- Suicidal behavior
- Gradual onset of dementia
Because CTE can only be diagnosed during an autopsy, understanding of the
condition and its prevalence has been elusive. In the latest study, Boston
University’s CTE Center was able to analyze brains donated for scientific
research from deceased NFL players, as well as football players of other
levels. Their findings were compelling:
- CTE was identified in 110 out of 111 former NFL players.
- Out of 202 former players (including high school, college, and professional
players), CTE was diagnosed in 177 athletes.
- CTE was found in 3 of 14 high school players and 48 of 53 college players.
The study’s findings are critical to improving our understanding
of CTE and the long-term effects of repetitive brain injuries, as well
as exploring who is most susceptible to the disease based on length of
careers and exposure to head trauma, and how it can be prevented. The
findings can also aid players in understanding the importance of seeking
medical treatment for their problems. Although CTE cannot be diagnosed
until after death, many symptoms associated with the disease, including
anxiety and depression, can be treated.
Repetitive Head Injuries & Long-term Outcomes
CTE has long been associated with repetitive head trauma, especially among
athletes in contact sports, including boxing. It was not until 2016, however,
that the NFL publicly acknowledged connections between
football and CTE. In 2015, the league settled a lawsuit with thousands of former players
who suffer from serious neurocognitive impairments and conditions associated
with football, including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s,
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease, and CTE).
The study, and many like it, supports the conclusion that repeated concussions
and brain injuries have a cumulative exponential impact on long-term outcomes,
with the expectation that a second concussion and subsequent head injuries
will lead to more significant and/or permanent deficits. This is especially
concerning for athletes in contact sports such as football, as having
one concussion makes one more susceptible to having another.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our legal team has earned
national recognition for our involvement in cases and efforts involving
brain injuries. In addition to representing injured victims suffering a brain injury
in civil personal injury cases, our legal team has been actively involved
in raising awareness, furthering research, and
drafting legislation designed to protect youth athletes from concussions. Our work has earned
us the designation of “Preferred Attorneys” for the DC Metro
area by the Brain Injury Association of America.
We believe new research into brain injuries, including studies of athletes,
are promising to all brain injury victims, as they help illustrate the
profound life challenges victims may face. As this research progresses,
it may prove useful in helping victims illustrate the full scope of their
future damages after they suffer concussions, including those caused by
the negligence or failures of others.
If you have questions regarding brain injuries and your legal rights, our
firm is readily available to help. We proudly serve residents throughout
Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, and offer FREE consultation.
Contact us to speak with a member of our team.