Brain Injuries and Football: Understanding the Connection

There are several sports and athletic activities out there that can cause severe, debilitating injuries. From gymnastics to soccer, rock climbing to snowboarding, there are countless sports out there that pose a threat to the athlete’s health. However, few sports have gained quite so much attention for causing brain injuries as football has. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions occur in 1 in every 5.5 high school or college football games.

Football is one of the most popular American sports, and athletes and fans alike are familiar with the risks that come with such a high-contact game. However, recent studies have shown just how much damage football can cause to the most complex organ in the body, the brain.

Brain injuries frequently seen in football players include:

  • Concussion
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Early-Onset Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)

When it comes to damage like this, it isn’t just about the head. These types of brain injuries can cause serious harm to the spinal cord, the neck, and could ultimately cause a collection of other health issues that could impact the rest of the body.

The Potential Long-Term Effects

Several institutions and organizations across the nation have made a point to study the long-term effects football may have on the brain and the rest of the body. Many studies have found that, after assessing former professional football players, most players have serious brain damage directly caused by their time playing football.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, is one of the most common of these serious diseases caused by football. A study by the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy found that 79% of all autopsied brains of former football players, and 96% of former NFL players showed positive signs for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a degenerative brain disease often caused by repetitive trauma and can lead to behavioral problems and trouble thinking, among other things.

What Can You Do?

Due to the recent research connecting football to serious head injuries and debilitating diseases, football players are protected by several game restrictions. Coaches are not allowed to force players with head injuries to continue playing, nor are they permitted to outfit players in anything less than regulation helmets. If you or someone you love suffered serious head injuries while playing for a high school, college, or professional football team, you may be eligible to seek compensation.

Contact Lyons & Simmons, LLP to discuss your brain injury case with our Dallas personal injury attorneys.

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