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Understanding Chad Stover's Brain Injury

By: Allan M. Siegel

Last week we brought you the story of Chad Stover, the high school football player who died in October of 2013. He suffered a devastating blow to the head in the first quarter of a playoff game against a rival team. He immediately went back into the game only to suffer a much smaller hit in the 4th quarter, from which he never woke up. When Chad's parents arrived at the hospital, shortly after he had been airlifted there, the doctors immediately told them that his injury was catastrophic and they should call all family that would like to say goodbye.

Chad Stover Injury

Chad Stover was in good health and athletic conditioning for this game. So, what happened that would have led to a fatal brain hemorrhage? And how easily could this happen to the millions of student athletes who play the sport nationwide? A professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, Jamshid Ghajar, says that there is no way to tell which tackle caused the brain hemorrhage. He went on to say that "sometimes a single, less violent hit to the head can do all the damage alone," but it may also have been a compound event causing second-impact syndrome. Chad Stover's mother is pushing for legislation to require an ambulance to be present for every high school game. Many believe that this legislation is unlikely to succeed because no high school in the country is currently held to this standard. Others are lobbying for athletic trainers to be present for every game and practice to properly evaluate players after an injury or suspected concussion.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that the sport of football causes lasting injuries in players of any age. In a season long study of 19 boys age 7-8 years old, the children suffered over 3,000 direct hits to the head. 60% of these potentially concussion causing events occurred during practice. Most shockingly, 11 of the hits reached a G-force of 80% or higher, which is the level seen in serious car crashes. We can regulate contact during practices, we can regulate return-to-play guidelines, and we put a concussion detecting helmet on every child, but even all of these prudent and intelligent solutions will not eliminate the danger of a student athlete suffering a traumatic brain injury on the field. When Chad Stover's team return to the field this season, a few players had chosen to permanently leave the sport of football. Among those players was Chad's 15-year-old brother, Kenton, who says that he does not want to cause his parents further worry, and "it's just scary for all of us now."

If you or a loved may have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else's negligence, please call our firm for a free legal consultation. Our firm's partners have handled hundreds of brain injury cases, and we understand the potential litigation issues involved, the medical providers you may need to see, and the emotional and financial difficulties that you may experience.