Sports and Their Connection to Traumatic Brain Injuries
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Oct 24, 2016
Sports are a significant part of American culture. And while college and pro-level sports certainly receive national fanfare, many children begin playing a sport as soon as they are school-aged (if not before), and continue playing sports throughout their teenage years. Sports are a fantastic way to teach certain skills and provide play and exercise, but they can also be dangerous. In fact, millions of people who play sports are at risk for a traumatic brain injury.
What Is a TBI and What Are the Long-term Effects?
A TBI occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. In regards to sports injuries, one of the most common types of TBIs is a concussion, which is a type of TBI that alters the way a brain functions. It is important to note that while proper equipment – such as a football helmet – can reduce the risk of a TBI, the only thing that eliminates the risk is prevention.
While some athletes will recover from a single TBI (concussion), classifying a TBI as ‘mild’ does not necessarily guarantee recovery. In fact, about 22 percent of those who suffer from a ‘mild’ TBI do not fully recover. What’s more, those who sustain multiple concussions throughout their sports careers – whether as children or adults –may develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a disease with no cure, and causes degeneration of the brain characterized by confusion, memory loss, depression, aggression, and dementia. It is important to note that trauma to the brain can be progressive, remain with a person throughout life, and has no cure.
Who Is Most at Risk for a TBI?
Those who play outdoor sports, like soccer and football, are the most at risk for incurring a TBI – this is true for adults and children alike. In fact, amongst those ages 15 through 24, sports are the second-leading cause of TBI. Those who compete (rather than just practice or play for fun) have an increased risk. In addition to sports like football and soccer, other risky activities include horseback riding, skiing and snowboarding, boxing, and myriad watersports.
Liability for a TBI – Do You Have a Cause of Action?
When an individual sustains a TBI, they may have a cause of action against a variety of entities or individuals. These parties may include trainers, coaches, municipal recreation leagues, schools, referees, doctors, and more. In many cases, the lawsuit may allege not that the defendant is liable for the original TBI, but that the defendant(s) allowed for the player to return to play too soon, endangering the player and their brain.
How an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney Can Help
Proving negligence in a TBI case can be difficult, and will require the help of experts, medical professionals, and an intensive investigation. At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our brain injury attorneys have handled of number of TBI cases successfully, and understand that these case types require skill and knowledge of the medicine involved in traumatic brain injuries. If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI as a result of a sports injury, let us help you – contact us today for your free case consultation.