Football is a beloved activity that has united individuals and communities worldwide. But underneath all of its glory, there’s an unsettling truth. Players have sustained devastating damages — including brain injuries like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
These injuries are due to repetitive head trauma and concussions in the NFL and other contact sports. Because of this, many players have suffered lasting effects that can impact their lives and the lives of those who love them.
The human skull can absorb force to protect the brain, and it works exceptionally well, that is until injuries from multiple impacts begin to add up. To understand the danger, we need to learn the effects of CTE injuries.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is an insidious condition caused by repeated head damage. Although it is traditionally associated with athletes, its symptoms can affect anybody who experiences regular concussions or other impacts on the brain.
Contact sports like boxing and football have an inherent risk of impact injury. Punches and kicks like in boxing and full-on charging collisions like those in football can generate incredible force that feels like getting hit by a car. Injuries to the head are more life-changing due to the adverse effects it has on the brain.
CTE damages neurons over time, resulting in a decline of cognitive abilities and emotional regulation similar to Alzheimer’s disease, with symptoms such as:
As the disorder progresses, more serious issues may arise, causing severe motor function decline, which consequently affects speech ability — drastically lowering the quality of life for those affected by this devastating disorder.
Although CTE, Alzheimer’s, and dementia share common features, only CTE stems from chronic head impact in sports like football. It makes protecting our athletes a paramount priority for their long-term health.
With mounting evidence that football carries serious neurologic risks, Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University conducted a game-changing study on the lasting effects of CTE on players — and her findings are sobering.
Examining 202 deceased former players’ brains, she found 177 showed signs of CTE. Ninety-nine percent of NFL players were affected by the disease — a startling indication of how dangerous participating in any level of contact sport can be if your head isn’t appropriately protected.
A 2017 study from the University of British Columbia, led by Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul, also found that a single football season can cause substantial brain changes in young players. Some symptoms persisted for months after the play ended. It raises questions about the long-term consequences of the growth and development of these adolescents over time.
NFL lawsuits are also shining a light on football brain injuries. By taking the league to court, former players ensure that the NFL takes responsibility for its negligence in protecting them from catastrophic head trauma.
The NFL concussion settlement brought attention to an epidemic that took place over a legal battle between 4,500 players and the league. In it, the NFL agreed to pay out $765 million to former players suffering from CTE-related illness or injury. The NFL CTE lawsuit also brought more awareness to the problems players face and how dangerous this game can be.
The lawsuit alleged that the NFL concealed information about the risks of head injuries and actively worked to discredit research that connected the link between football and brain damage. Many players who suffered from CTE from repetitive head trauma claimed the NFL failed to provide them with pepper medical treatment or compensation for their injuries. This lawsuit was a monumental step in the right direction for the proper treatment of NFL players and highlighted the effects of the brain trauma endured while playing almost any level of football.
Playing football opens a door for potentially serious head injuries, and researchers are striving to uncover ways to safeguard players while sustaining the sport’s appeal. This work underscores the importance of continuing to investigate methods for ensuring player safety and wellness.
Football’s wild nature can be dangerous and increase the risk of severe injury or traumatic brain damage since players face high-impact collisions and tackles, leading to lifelong physical and psychological harm. Unfortunately, players are incentivized to give and take brutal hits, which can increase the probability of football brain injuries.
It’s no secret that the thrill of most levels of football comes with certain health hazards, which can lead to a lawsuit that may require a brain injury lawyer. Therefore, we must consider players’ well-being by encouraging safe-play practices and closely monitoring their medical conditions after retirement.
To safeguard players from serious bodily harm, coaches and parents should invest in updated safety gear that fits properly, using helmets equipped with air-filled pads and impact sensors. This way, teams can keep their athletes safe while enjoying all that football offers.
Organizations can also implement safer rules at all levels of the sport, including:
Keeping players informed of the potential symptoms and reporting them is also vital to reducing concussion risks within football. Doing so can help players avoid dangerous situations, not only keeping them safe but also reducing long-term effects. Ultimately, it’s all about ensuring athletes have a secure environment in which to work.
If an injury has occurred, medical attention or repeated checkups are necessary to assess the full extent of the damage. Creating a rehabilitation plan and contacting a football brain injury lawyer is imperative to those who are injured, as well as their families. Organizations and coaches can be held liable if they fail to address suspected injuries, so it’s essential to have access to medical personnel and follow the necessary protocols.
Here are a few clear indicators that it is time to seek assistance:
It’s important to remember that no amount of precautions can completely guarantee a player’s safety. Legal action may be necessary if the league’s neglect has caused further damage.
If you or a loved one have been affected by severe head injuries due to the NFL’s negligence, finding an experienced personal injury lawyer or a sports brain injury attorney is essential in securing rightful compensation. Working with an attorney can mean getting money back due to medical bills incurred during recovery and any additional damages resulting from the accident — helping provide much-needed support while recovering.
Armour, Nancy. “Aaron Hernandez Had CTE and That’s a Huge Problem for NFL.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Sept. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/nancy-armour/2017/09/21/aaron-hernandez-had-cte-and-thats-huge-problem-nfl/691046001/.
Kolata, Gina. “Cost of Contact in Sports Is Estimated at Over 600,000 Injuries a Year.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/health/sports-injuries-football-yale.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=34&pgtype=sectionfront.
Manchester, Sam, et al. “111 N.F.L. Brains. All But One Had C.T.E.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 July 2017, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/25/sports/football/nfl-cte.html?mcubz=3.
“Pro Football Hall of Fame.” Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site, www.profootballhof.com/football-history/history-of-football/.
Rapaport, Daniel, et al. “CTE May Not Be Totally to Blame for Hernandez.” SI.com, Sports Illustrated, 21 Sept. 2017, www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/21/aaron-hernandez-cte-diagnosis-not-completely-blame.
Wire, SI, et al. “Will Smith Shines Light on Dark Side of Football.” SI.com, Sports Illustrated, 22 Dec. 2015, www.si.com/nfl/2015/12/22/will-smith-concussion-movie-nfl-roger-goodell.
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