Brain Injuries and NFL PlayersFootball, as well as many other sports where physical contact is required, can be a violent sport. Often times players suffer head trauma, brain injuries and concussions. According to a study reported by Frontline and PBS, the average NFL football team sustained 171 combined concussions while playing offense in 2015, while the defense suffered a combined average of 215 concussions. Another study conducted by the Institute of Medicine and funded by the NFL reports that high school football players are nearly twice as likely to sustain a concussion. The study estimates that players suffered 11.2 concussions for every 10,000 games and practices, while among college players, the rate drops to 6.3. Many times a concussion can go undiagnosed, and multiple concussions can cause long-term medical issues such as memory loss, seizures, depression, and near-daily migraines.

Scientific evidence linking recurrent concussions to long-term medical issues first emerged back in 2002 when former Pittsburg Steelers center Mike Webster died and was then diagnosed with CTE. CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma. CTE is most frequently found in professional athletes playing American football, hockey, professional wresting, and even stunt cheer-leading to name a few. The condition is marked by degeneration of brain tissue along with the presence and accumulation of tau protein. People with CTE may show symptoms of dementia: memory loss, aggression, confusion, depression.

Brain Injuries Evidence Mounts

Brain Injuries and NFL Players
Image courtesy Frontline

A New York Times article reports that numerous former players brought lawsuits against the National Football League in 2012, citing that the NFL was not forthcoming with facts regarding how dangerous concussions, and especially multiple concussions, could be for players. As the evidence about the dangers of concussions and other brain injuries mounts, the league will have to address these issues for both former and current players. However, until then, players are going to continue to suffer these types of injuries, and the lawsuits against the league will continue, leaving the sport as dangerous as ever.

Any players, whether they play for the NFL or a high school league, who feel they have suffered a brain injury due to negligence should seek the guidance of legal professionals. It may be possible to recover compensation for injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic damages caused by the negligence.

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