Traumatic Brain Injury Can Be Undetected and Have Long-Lasting Effects
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is the term commonly used to describe when a person’s brain is suddenly penetrated or knocked against the skull. The conditions caused by traumatic brain injuries range from a mild concussion to coma or death. Experts are also now including another level of TBI called a “subconcussive” brain injury, which is not as severe as a concussion, but may still have an effect on the victim’s brain. These milder injuries may be especially harmful if they happen on a regular basis, such as with football players or soccer players.
Brain injuries in professional football players have been in the news a lot recently. Thousands of retired football players and their families have filed personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the NFL for brain injuries suffered throughout their careers. They claim that the NFL knew about the dangers of TBI but did not pass that knowledge on to the players. They also say that the NFL needs to be doing a better job of caring for those that suffered the injuries. The recent suicide of Junior Seau put the spotlight on the link between head injuries and the increased risk of dementia and suicide. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative disease that has been confirmed in dozens of deceased players.
On Thursday, November 15, 2012, the NFL football commissioner spoke to a crowd regarding how far football has come in protecting its players and what it is doing to continue making the game safer while still keeping it interesting to watch. His speech was not a surprise after three quarterbacks were sidelined during games with concussions earlier in the week. Researchers believe the changes made in the NFL so far have made a difference, but more needs to be done, even at a lower level. Researchers published an article in Neurology stating that a player could get hit 4,000 times both in high school and college football, and that the injuries do not have to cause a full concussion to have a lasting, damaging effect on the brain.
Although TBI in football players is what is in the headlines right now, this type of injury can be sustained in many different ways and be just as devastating. Over half of the documented traumatic brain injuries occur during car, motorcycle, or truck accidents. Other causes include slip-and-fall accidents and firearm use. Victims in these types of accidents may not realize they have been injured until a few days later. In some cases, it is a friend or relative that notices that the injured person is acting erratically or is just behaving differently. If someone has been in an accident and just doesn’t seem themselves after a few days, he should consult with a physician, even if he does not think anything is really wrong. As any Kentucky personal injury attorney will tell you, there is a statute of limitations on the time a person has to file a lawsuit if they have been injured, so it is best to determine if something is wrong sooner rather than later. If there is a medical issue, and you want to seek compensation, a Kentucky traumatic brain injury attorney like Steve Frederick will be able to assist you with any claims or lawsuits that need to be filed.
Football's Risk Factor: Brain Injuries Raise New Concerns for Young Athletes; ABC News; Paula Faris and Katie Hinman; May 24, 2012
NFL commissioner says sport will evolve, get safer; Associated Press; Jimmy Golen; November 16, 2012