If you’re enthusiastic about the start of football season, you’re hardly alone.This year, however, new information about the dangers of the game have more people concerned about the risk of permanent brain damage. That’s tempering the usual enthusiasm quite a bit.
In a recent study on the brains of 111 retired National Football League (NFL) players, al but one of the brains, or 99 percent, showed evidence of a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The same study showed that about 90 percent of former college players studied had CTE as well. Even high school players aren’t exempt: 21 percent of those showed brain damage.
Among other things caused by CTEs are serious depression, memory loss, dementia, aggression and paranoia. It can’t formally be diagnosed until after a patient’s death through an autopsy. It is considered a progressive condition in which each subsequent head injury suffered by a player adds to the damage already there. To an outside observer, the symptoms could seem like Alzheimer’s, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) or Parkinson’s.
It’s important to note that the study has already generated controversy because of questions about its scientific methods. However, that controversy isn’t stopping some players from ending their careers early to avoid a future where they can’t even care for themselves or are victims of early dementia. A 26-year-old professional NFL player quit right after the study was published. Several other players on different teams have followed suit.
So have a number of the sport’s commentators, analysts and former supporters. One sportswriter likened watching a game that he once loved to viewing a slow suicide.
Adding to the controversy, many players, ex-players, commentators and analysts contend that the NFL has known about the problem for years and either hid it or ignored it — putting profits above players. Retired players have already won a billion dollars in settlements over the issue.
If you or a loved one could be suffering from brain trauma due to football injuries, talk to an attorney about the possibility of seeking compensation for your injuries.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Football season starts under shadow of traumatic brain injuries,” Blythe Bernhard, Sep. 10, 2017