‘Concussion’ Spotlights Traumatic Brain Injuries in Football
Released in December 2015, “Concussion” starring Will Smith puts the spotlight on traumatic brain injuries associated with football. It’s based on the true story of Pittsburgh pathologist, Dr. Bennett Omalu, who took on the National Football League in an effort to spotlight the dangerous effects of being repeatedly hit in the head.
After performing an autopsy on Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster who was overwhelmed with depression and paranoia before he died at age 50 of a fatal heart attack, Dr. Omalu started to wonder whether some sort of brain disease was a contributing factor to his mental health decline at such a young age. After taking a closer look at his brain, Dr. Omalu found clumps of the same abnormal protein seen in boxers who had developed early dementia.
As time went on, the problem persisted and more football players were found to have the same disease including Junior Seau, Dave Duerson and Frank Gifford. Dr. Omalu named this disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE. CTE is a degenerative brain disease similar to Alzheimer’s disease associated with having a history of repetitive hits to the head.
Unfortunately this can only be diagnosed after someone has died, but with the movie’s release, the federal government announced nearly $16 million will be spent in an effort to find ways to diagnose CTE in living patients. The hope is that early diagnosis will result in treatment and a way to identify who is at higher risk of developing the disease. Right now, it’s only found in some players, but doctors are unsure why.
Although this problem is only being found in professional football players, the findings are a major concern for parents with children who play football and who are at risk for concussions and traumatic brain injuries every time they step out on a field. For children, traumatic brain injuries can stunt the growth of the brain and may further alter a child’s mental state. Some children lose a specific function or skill, which could lead to depression. This is why it’s so important that the coaches, leagues, schools and all others involved do everything possible to keep your child safe in sports. Anything from a loose helmet strap or the coach putting your child in the game when he or she isn’t healthy enough to be playing can cause devastating repercussions.
However a traumatic brain injury occurred – whether it’s a car accident, a swimming pool accident, a fall, asphyxiation, an anesthesiology error, or any other accident – talk to an experienced brain injury lawyer in Arizona about what actions you need to take for your loved one’s future.
Knapp & Roberts offers a free initial consultation. If you have a legal matter in Arizona you wish to discuss with aa attorney at no charge, please contact us by phone at 480-991-7677 or complete the Do I Have a Case form on our website and one of our Phoenix personal injury lawyers will contact you quickly.
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