America’s most popular sport is known for its physicality and big tackles.
Football is also unfortunately known for a variety of head and brain injuries that can affect players for the rest of their lives, long after they’ve hung up their pads and jersey.
Suffering from a traumatic brain injury in sports can be devastating, and survivors and their families are left to deal with medical, financial, and legal challenges.
If you or a loved one suffered a head injury in sports or brain injury in sports, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Contact a football brain injury lawyer today to find out whether you qualify to participate in a sports head injury lawsuit.
Symptoms usually appear within 24 hours, but sometimes may not appear until 3 weeks after the initial incident.
Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months and even years in the most severe cases.
Physical symptoms of a head injury like a concussion include, but are not limited to:
Other symptoms include:
Around 300,000 football players are diagnosed with concussions every year.
However, 50% of concussions go untreated and undiagnosed.
Football at all skill levels presents a head injury risk to players.
From the National Football League (NFL) and college football, to highschool and youth games, concussions are extremely common and more severe head injuries and brain conditions are on the rise.
A 2016 study showed that more than 40% of retired NFL players show evidence of abnormal brain structures.
For younger players, a study found that high school football players had the highest average number of reported symptoms of concussion, followed by college athletes, and younger players.
Concussions and other trauma to the head can have lasting, damaging effects on the developing brain.
These are some of the most common head injuries in football:
The most common of all head injuries in football, concussions range in severity from minor knocks to serious injuries that can cause other health problems and require extensive treatment.
A concussion is defined as temporary unconsciousness or confusion caused by a blow to the head.
A contusion is a bruise to the brain itself.
Contusions are frequently paired with concussions and are sometimes life threatening, requiring immediate medical attention.
Hematoma is a blood clot formed either on the surface of the brain (subdural), within the skull (intracranial), or when a blood vessel ruptures between the outer surface of the dura mater and the skull (epidural).
Subdural hematoma occur within up to 25% of people with brain injuries and can be extremely serious, in the worst cases leading to paralysis, seizures, breathing problems, or coma.
Intracranial hematoma blood collection can be within the brain tissue or underneath the skull, pressing on the brain.
Epidural hematoma is often a life-threatening condition that may require immediate intervention and can lead to extreme brain injury or death if left untreated.
A skull fracture is a break in the bone of the skull.
There are four types of skull fractures, the most common being a linear fracture where the bone breaks but does not change position.
Depressed skull fractures result in the bone being sunken in from trauma.
Diastatic fractures happen along the suture lines of the skull, the areas between skull bones that fuse in development as a child.
Basilar fractures are the most serious type of skull fracture and entail a breaking of the bone at the base of the skull.
Spinal injuries are incredibly serious and can result in permanent damage, such as paralysis, and loss of quality in life.
Facial injuries, including lacerations, facial bone fractures, damage to the eyes, and more are common in hockey and can result in permanent damage or scarring.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive brain condition that's thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.
Common symptoms of CTE include:
Football is the sport most often linked with CTE.
One of the largest studies on the subject to date found that 110 out of 111 deceased NFL players had CTE.
CTE is of increasing concern to health experts and the wider sports community.
Many high-profile athletes have been diagnosed with the condition after untimely deaths.
Collisions with other players, specifically helmet-to-helmet contact, are the most common cause of football head injuries.
Head-to-ground contact also presents a head injury risk to players.
Prolonged acute trauma, "lighter" hits to the head occurring during blocking and less violent plays, can lead to head injuries over time.
Because football is such a contact-heavy sport, many of the injuries are a result of repeated minor head traumas that build upon each other.
Contrary to popular belief, it does not take one major injury to cause CTE or brain injury in football players.
The repetitive head contact can be the biggest culprit in causing long-term and permanent damage.
Advances in helmet and padding technology have made football collisions and tackles marginally safer, yet the risk of head injury persists with the aggressive nature of the sport.
Changes to rules on how players can tackle or hit others have been introduced over the years as medical professionals have identified certain situations where players are at the highest risk for serious head and brain injuries.
In the NFL, new rules to ensure player safety have been implemented over the past few decades.
Helmet-to-helmet contact, “targeting”, unnecessary roughness, blindside tackles and hitting defenseless players are just a few of these rules related to head injuries.
It is important to be proactive in preventing CTE and brain injuries caused by football.
Players should be regularly be monitored by medical professionals.
If a player suffers an injury, even if it is only a minor injury, that player should seek medical treatment right away.
Medical professionals have gathered and interpreted data from football leagues at all levels of play over the years and have determined a number of risks associated with the sport.
A research paper from Carnegie Mellon University found that singular hits to the head aren’t the only risk football players face in terms of head injuries, and that typical hits sustained from playing just one season cause structural changes to the brain.
Another study from Orlando Health found that football players are attaining head and brain injuries at younger ages.
These are just a few examples from the mass amounts of research papers and studies done on football players of all ages, highlighting an epidemic of head injuries that could have lifelong effects.
Determining liability for a football brain injury can be difficult.
Every case is different, with unique factors and situations leading to and following the injury.
The liable party could be a number of different people or groups:
Determining liability in a sports head injury can be a difficult task to undertake.
A player suffering an injury should consult with a football brain injury lawyer to help them establish liability.
If you have suffered a brain injury in sports, you should contact a sports head injury lawyer right away.
Your state statute of limitations bars you from taking legal action after an allotted time, so do not hesitate to seek legal aid right away.
Once you have successfully contacted a sports head injury lawyer, you need to begin the steps to filing a sports brain injury lawsuit.
You may want to familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process before you move forward.
You should begin collecting evidence as soon as possible after the injury has occurred.
In a sports brain injury lawsuit, some of the best evidence to support your claim includes:
Any evidence should be well-documented and organized.
Your sports head injury lawyer will be able to determine all the evidence that you may need.
You should also actively work to mitigate further injury by seeking medical attention right away and following your doctor’s orders.
Your sports head injury lawyer will help you to assess the damages that you incurred as a result of the injury – depending on the situation, you may choose to make a demand for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Because many sports injuries occur on privately-owned premises, you should familiarize yourself with the concept of premises liability.
Your sports head injury lawyer may determine that the premises owner is liable for your injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in sports, contact TorHoerman Law for a free no-obligation sports brain injury lawsuit consultation.
At TorHoerman Law, our sports head injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best possible result for their brain injury in sports.
Dealing with a sports brain injury, either directly or by helping a loved one, is a difficult experience.
It can feel emotionally draining, intimidating, and expensive.
At Tor Hoerman Law, we understand the pain and suffering in dealing with a brain or head injury in sport.
If you have suffered a sports-related head injury, our team of sports head injury lawyers will work with you to help you understand the legal system and receive the compensation and relief you deserve.
We are happy to discuss your potential sports brain injury lawsuit for free and with no obligation.
Attorneys at THL work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that if you do not gain compensation for your injuries, we foot the bill.
Contact us today to learn more about how a sports head injury lawyer can help you.
“Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 May 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370921.
“Health & Safety Rules Changes.” NFL Football Operations, https://operations.nfl.com/the-rules/rules-changes/health-safety-rules-changes/.
“New Study Finds Evidence of Brain Injuries in Football Players at Surprisingly Young Age.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 1 Nov. 2018, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181101133846.htm.
“NFL Concussions Fast Facts.” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 Aug. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2013/08/30/us/nfl-concussions-fast-facts/index.html.
Park, Alice. “NFL & Concussions: First Evidence of Brain Injury in Living Ex-Players.” Time, Time, 11 Apr. 2016, https://time.com/4289745/nfl-concussion-symptoms-treatment/.
Reinburg, Steven. “High School Football Players Suffer More Symptoms after Concussion: Study.” MedicineNet, MedicineNet, 3 May 2016, https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=195381.
“Routine Hits Playing Football Cause Damage to the Brain.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 7 Aug. 2019, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190807142249.htm.
Sifferlin, Alexandra. “Brain Injury: CTE Found in 87% of Football Players’ Brains.” Time, Time, 25 July 2017, https://time.com/4871597/degenerative-brain-disease-cte-football/.
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