American football—for athletes and fans–is not just a game but a way of life. However, many aren’t aware that it’s not all fame and glory. The NFL in particular has long been blamed for glossing over serious injuries, especially brain injuries.
A recent study linked football to dangerous head injuries. When scientists conducted autopsies on 202 deceased football players, 99% of NFL players were found to have suffered a type of brain damage called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
This type of brain injury is caused by repetitive trauma to the brain and leads to the destruction of brain cells. CTE sufferers often exhibit mood and behavior issues such as aggression, depression, paranoia and impulse control problems.
CTE may be the reason for many NFL players suffering mid and post-career.
Brain Injury’s Devastating Effects
Just how bad is the problem?
In 2012, the unthinkable happened when former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide.
Junior Seau had suffered through years of erratic behavior and depression after enduring severe brain trauma while on the field. Seau had simply played through the pain.
After his death, his brain was studied and was eventually diagnosed with CTE. The prognosis? Repeated blows to the head from full-contact football.
Seau’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL, claiming the league hid the dangers of concussions from their players.
The loss of the much-loved athlete brought to light to the potentially crippling effects of brain damage. After the tragedy, Seau’s namesake charity foundation began working with UC San Diego to promote education and research on traumatic brain injuries.
Serious NFL Brain Injuries
Professional football is not just a sport; it is a billion-dollar industry.
Who is at fault when serious brain injuries in the NFL are overlooked and have devastating consequences?
Speculation continues to grow about the NFL valuing business over the welfare of its players. There is mounting evidence of management turning a blind eye to the sports inherent dangers.
- When the Houston Texans lost to the San Francisco 49ers in December 2017, quarterback Tom Savage suffered a horrendous blow when he hit the ground and his head snapped back. Savage appeared to have suffered a seizure along with a concussion. He was taken to the sideline but cleared by doctors and returned to the field only minutes later.
- In September 2017, Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan struck Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams with the crown of his helmet, sending him to the hospital. The NFL reduced Trevathan’s punishment from a two-game suspension to a single contest.
- Similarly, in October 2017, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a concussion after Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alnso leveled Flacco as he was sliding to the turf in a defenseless position. Alonso did not receive a suspension or a personal foul after this event.
When so much time and money are poured into the sport, serious injuries are often overlooked to keep the game alive. Too many incidents have occurred when an injured player was pushed back onto the field after suffering serious head trauma and the foul play is overlooked.
Striving Towards Change
As football remains one of the world’s most popular sports and lucrative industries, it remains under criticism for its protocol concerning concussions.
The NFL acknowledged the negative impact of brain injury on its business and has awarded research grants to help find a solution.
Last year the NFL donated $100 million for research in neuroscience. An NFL spokesperson stated that their organization was “committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries.”
One manufacturing company is using innovation to try to solve the NFL’s deadly problem.
Seattle-based company Vicis proposed a solution to professional football’s concussion epidemic with their Zero 1 helmet. The helmet is multilayered and flexible, designed to absorb impact and mitigate injury. Vicis CEO and founder Per Reinhall believes that if “this concussion problem is not addressed,” then the “game is in danger.”
Even if this helmet helps mitigate head injury, it is not a complete solution to traumatic brain injury suffered on the field. Participants of contact sports remain at risk.
Contact Us Today
For many athletes, giving up their beloved sport is simply not an option. Sadly, many have suffered life-long injuries from enjoying their favorite pastime.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury from football, our attorneys can help.
At the Brain Injury Law Center, our legal team has extensive experience handling head trauma and brain injury lawsuits. Contact us at (757) 244-7000 for a no-cost, confidential consultation. Our attorneys will answer your questions and help you determine if you can seek compensation for your pain, suffering and damages.