Category: NCAA Concussion Claims

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has a history of denying any correlation or causation between sports, head injuries and dire health consequences including CTE, dementia and other brain disorders. Their sluggish, reluctant approach towards adopting safety and prevention regulations has exposed many college athletes in several sports to numerous potential health complications in the future. Raizner Slania aims to hold the NCAA responsible for the damage their lack of action is causing to the well-being of these young athletes.


Concussion Injury Lawyer

Former University of Alabama Defensive End Describes Living With The Long-Term Effects of Concussions

It’s been a long time since Les Williams stepped foot on a football field, but the effects of his time playing for the University of Alabama are impossible to forget. Williams suffers from a variety of complications caused by repeated impacts to the head sustained during play, but he’s far from alone. Thousands of former collegiate football players are struggling with the long-term effects of concussions.

Daily Struggles

Williams played for the University of Alabama as a defensive end in the early 2000s. Since his time playing football, he has struggled to hold a job because of his symptoms. He suffers from constant headaches, memory loss, depression, and mood swings. Williams was never warned or prepared for the serious neurological conditions he and many other former football players are now experiencing.

Williams can remember several hits he believes caused significant brain damage. One was in 2002 when he slammed into a punter during a game against Southern Mississippi University. His head “rang” as he jogged over the bench, and he recalled thinking something wasn’t right. In another instance, he suffered a head-to-head collision during practice that caused him to lose vision in his left eye for about 30 seconds and caused the entire left side of his body to go numb.

Hundreds of former players, including Williams, want answers from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA is charged with protecting student athletes and their wellbeing, but despite this responsibility, the NCAA did not discuss the long-term consequences of concussions with players or institute protocols that could have lessened the damage.

Permanent Damage

Unfortunately for Williams and others, concussive and sub-concussive hits to the head and brain do more damage than the initial impact. When brain cells die, they release a toxic protein that actually causes more brain cell death in surrounding cells. There is no way to stop the release of this protein or reverse its effects. This can cause many different degenerative neurological conditions, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, among others.

Get Help From An Experienced Concussion Injury Lawyer

At Raizner Slania LLP, our experienced concussion injury lawyers are representing former NCAA football players in lawsuits to obtain compensation. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.

NCAA Concussion Injury Attorney

English Soccer Considering Concussion Protocols Amongst Mounting Research

Many people are well aware of the concussive risks associated with playing football or boxing, but all contact sports put players at a risk of suffering concussive and sub-concussive hits. In light of mounting evidence, sports organizations are implementing concussion protocols that can help reduce the long-term effects of concussions, and it appears English soccer may be next.

During the UEFA Champions League final, a player from the opposing team elbowed Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius in the head. Despite the blow, there was no call for medical treatment on the field, and Mr. Karius continued to play for the rest of the game. In the days after the game, Liverpool sent Mr. Karius to Massachusetts General Hospital for testing and doctors diagnosed him with a concussion.

This is by no means a singular occurrence, and with the mounting body of research regarding the long-term effects of repeated concussions, the English Premier League is taking action. A proposal from the English Premier League physicians aims to reduce the number of untreated concussions for its players. The proposal suggests concussion protocols where a player suspected of sustaining a concussion would exit the game for 10 minutes for a medical examination by an independent physician. Soccer has strict rules for the number of substitutions that can take place during a game, but a substitution for a concussion evaluation would not count toward a team’s total number of substitutions.

The proposal will first have to be approved by the International Football Association Board, which serves “the world of football as the independent guardian of the Laws of the Game.” Even though the proposal could greatly improve the health of players, it faces some serious obstacles. Many sports organizations, like the National Football League (NFL) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States, failed to implement concussion protocols for decades and only recently took steps to protect players from the consequences of head trauma. This is particularly devastating considering football players can experience dozens of hits to the head in just one game.

The NFL has taken action to compensate players for the neurological damage they sustained during play, but the NCAA has yet to act. Lawsuits against the NCAA are still in the early phases, but the first case that went to trial ended in a successful settlement.

NCAA Concussion Injury Attorney

If you played NCAA football, you may be able to file a claim and pursue compensation for brain trauma you experienced during play. Contact a NCAA concussion injury attorney at Raizner Slania LLP today to learn your legal options.

Tackle Ban

NFL Players Support Tackle Ban In Youth Football

Evidence connecting repeated concussive and sub-concussive hits to the head and long-term neurological damage has existed for decades. Despite this, contact sports like football flourished. But now professional football players from the National Football League (NFL) are supporting legislation that would ban tackling in youth football to protect young children from repeated impacts to the head.

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is backing legislation in Illinois that bans tackle football for all children less than 12 years of age. Children who played football under this age would play flag football instead of tackle football. Mr. Favre knows better than nearly anyone how concussive impacts sustained during play can damage the brain. While playing professional football, Mr. Favre set a new record for most consecutive games played, totaling 297. Mr. Favre now suffers from the long-term effects of repeated head trauma.

The Illinois Bill Mr. Favre is supporting is called the Dave Deurson Act, and it is currently under consideration in the state’s legislature. Mr. Favre hopes other states will adopt similar legislation and that one day there will be a nationwide ban. A ban on tackle football for kids couldn’t come soon enough.

According to a study conducted by the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, of 211 football players posthumously diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), those who started tackle football at age 11 or younger began experiencing symptoms of CTE in their mid-twenties.

Mr. Favre isn’t the only NFL player who believes tackling should be banned for children. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo also agrees tackle football is not appropriate for young children. When Mr. Romo holds football camps for kids, he doesn’t allow tackle football for the youngest participants.

Although change can’t come soon enough, it will be too late for thousands of players at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. The type of brain damage sustained while playing football can’t be reversed. For many football players, the only justice they will receive is through filing a lawsuit. Organizations like the NFL and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) had a responsibility to players to warn them of the health risks associated with repeated head impacts, but instead kept these risks quiet and continued to earn millions in profits from these players.

NCAA Concussion Injury Lawyers

The NCAA settled the first NCAA concussion lawsuit that went to trial after just three days in court. The NCAA cannot deny the thousands of players that deserve justice for the injuries that they now suffer from as a result of their college football play. If you or someone you love played NCAA football, contact the NCAA concussion injury lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP today. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.

NCAA Concussion Litigation

NCAA Concussion Lawsuit Settles After Three Days In Court

Although many NCAA concussion lawsuits have been filed in courts across the country, it wasn’t until early this month that one of these cases finally made it to trial. Debra Hardin-Ploetz would have finally been able to share the tragic story of her late husband who was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE after his death. Although nothing can reverse her or her late husband’s suffering, Ms. Hardin-Ploetz did get some justice as her case settled just three days into the trial.

Ms. Hardin-Ploetz’s late husband, Greg Ploetz, played as a linebacker and defensive tackle for the University of Texas at Austin football team from 1968 to 1971. Later in his life, Mr. Ploetz suffered from a myriad of neurological issues, including depression and memory loss. Research connecting the concussions sustained during football and long-term neurological issues has existed since the 1970s; however, the NCAA and universities ignored this evidence for decades.

The settlement came after hearing testimony from several witnesses. The jury listened to Boston University neurologist Dr. Robert Cantu discuss his concussion research with football players and explain the effects of repeated impacts on the brain to an individual’s long-term health and wellbeing. The jury also considered the deposition of the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, neurologist Brain Hainline, in which Dr. Hainline acknowledged the link between concussions sustained while playing football and long-term degenerative brain disorders.

It is no coincidence that the NCAA agreed to settle the case out of court immediately after the jury heard compelling evidence from both Dr. Cantu and Dr. Hainline. Although this only represents the resolution of one case, the NCAA is facing many more concussion lawsuits and may decide to settle the remaining cases, bringing just a little bit of peace to injured players and their loved ones.

NCAA Concussion Litigation

The experienced concussion lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP are representing former college football players and other athletes in lawsuits against the NCAA and other responsible parties. If you played collegiate football, contact us immediately to learn your legal rights and hold the NCAA responsible. All of our consultations are free, and we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation.

First NCAA Concussion Lawsuit

First NCAA Concussion Lawsuit Goes To Trial

For decades, football has been one of America’s most watched sports. Every year, thousands of student athletes help universities across the country earn millions of dollars in revenue from college football games. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and its member schools continue to make profits off of student athletes, too often with limited regard for the long term impact of concussion injuries. Studies showing the long-term effects of concussions sustained while playing football have existed for decades. Despite this, the NCAA did not adopt appropriate protocols that would have reduced the brain damage caused during gameplay.

For one family, justice may be soon at hand as the first NCAA concussion lawsuit begins on Monday, June 11, 2018 in a Dallas courtroom.

Greg Ploetz played football at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 1968, 1969, and 1971. Unfortunately, the concussions Mr. Ploetz sustained while playing for UT caused him to suffer from a variety of neurological conditions later in his life. Mr. Ploetz’s wife described the numerous health problems he suffered throughout his life, saying he “became apathetic, disinhibited, exhibited compulsive behaviors, and his personal hygiene began to decline. He experienced paranoia and confusion, was psychiatrically hospitalized, and was in and out of respite homes due to aggressive behaviors.”

Mr. Ploetz passed away in 2015, and neurologists at Boston University posthumously diagnosed him with Stage IV Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. Stage IV is the most advanced and severe version of the disease. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in the brain that is caused by repeated head trauma. When the brain experiences repeated trauma, it builds up a type of protein called Tau (T-proteins) that slowly kills brain cells over time. T-proteins will continue to kill brain cells even once the repeated trauma has discontinued, and symptoms of CTE often occur months or years after the trauma has ended. Unfortunately, Mr. Ploetz isn’t the only football player to suffer from CTE. Researchers from Boston University found that 91 percent of college football players suffered from CTE.

The NCAA Had A Responsibility To Protect Student Athletes

As the governing body of collegiate sports, the NCAA had a responsibility to look after the health and wellbeing of its athletes. Tragically, the NCAA put profits before its players by failing to educate students on the long-term side effects of concussions and failing to adopt protocols and provide medical treatment that could have lessened brain damage and other side effects.

NCAA Football Players Deserve Justice

Former NCAA football players all around the country are suffering from devastating and degenerative conditions from concussions sustained during play. NCAA football players deserve justice for the NCAA’s gross failure to protect them. If you or someone you love played collegiate football and suffered adverse health conditions as a result, contact Raizner Slania LLP immediately. We are representing NCAA football players and helping them get compensation for their injuries. Call us today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.

cte football

91% of Former NCAA Football Players Diagnosed With CTE

How CTE, Football, and the NCAA Interrelate

 

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated impacts to the head. Although the incidence and prevalence of CTE is unknown, it has been diagnosed in former amateur and professional contact sport athletes. Given the millions of contact sport athletes exposed to repetitive head impacts each year, CTE has become a major public health concern.

For decades, research has shown that football players are particularly vulnerable to developing CTE, but sports organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Football League (NFL) have been slow to adopt policies and procedures that would protect players from developing the disease. For years, these organizations have gone as far as denying any significant association between football and CTE or other concussion related disorders.

The CTE Study That’s Changing The Rules of the Game

However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association will make it much harder for the NCAA to avoid accountability to student athletes. Led by researchers from Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System, the study was the largest to investigate the link between brain trauma sustained from football and CTE (CTE can only be diagnosed posthumously). Researchers studied the brains of 202 deceased football players, including 111 who were former NFL players.

The results are nothing short of startling. The sample included athletes who played American football at any level. Here are just some of the key findings:

  • 177 of the 202 (87%) deceased former football players were neuropathologically diagnosed with CTE
  • 110 out of the 111 (99%) former NFL players were diagnosed with CTE
    48 out of the 53 college football players (91%) were posthumously diagnosed with CTE
  • 3 out of the 14 deceased high school students (21%) were diagnosed with CTE
  • 7 out of the 8 former Canadian Football League decedents (88%) were diagnosed with CTE

Beyond these shocking statistics, the study demonstrated that even those players who had mild CTE pathology sustained other sequelae. Of the 27 participants who had mild pathology, 96% had exhibited behavioral and/or mood symptoms; 85% had cognitive symptoms and disorders; and 33% had signs of dementia. For those with severe pathology, the numbers are overwhelming: 89% exhibited behavior or mood symptoms; 95% suffered from cognitive symptoms and disorders; and 85% had signs of dementia.

Additionally, the study found the most common cause of death in players with even mild CTE was suicide. This is tragically consistent with our firm’s experience representing the families of CTE victims, and many of these suicides occurred in a manner where the victims purposely avoided destroying brain tissue with the expressed hope that researchers would continue striving for answers, or that their families would understand why the young men took their own lives. For players in more serious stages of CTE, the most common cause of death was from neurodegenerative related complications.

And while the study was confined to former football players, the risks of concussions extend to many other athletes, both men and women. The NCAA measures concussion rates based on concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures. Men’s football has a concussion rate of 6.7, but other sports have similar rates. Perhaps the clearest example is women’s soccer, which represents the second most populous sport behind men’s football, and maintains a concussion rate of 6.3.

Even more troubling, the researchers of this study are working with a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke that ends in December. While they have applied for additional funding, none has yet been received, despite the prevalence and severity of football-related concussions. Despite the NFL’s 2016 promise of $200 million to support independent research on related topics, the study’s authors doubt they will ever see a penny of it.

What Does This Mean For NCAA Athletes?

As the country starts to get back into its most popular college and professional team sport, this study is a stark reminder of how dangerous football can be when governing associations like the NCAA and its member conferences fail to measure up.

Many collegiate athletes are completely unaware of the significant lifelong health risks to which the NCAA has subjected them. Organizations like the NCAA have a responsibility to inform players of all risks associated with the game, but for the NCAA, the responsibility goes even further.

The NCAA was formed to protect the health and wellbeing of student athletes across the country. The organization currently governs over 400,000 students. The NCAA is expected to act en loco parentis, or in the place of parents. Parents send their children to college assuming they will be kept safe, but for years the NCAA failed to adopt concussion management protocols that could help lessen the long-term effects from concussions, like CTE. CTE causes permanent damage to the brain, and once a player develops the disease, there is no way to stop the progression or reverse the damage it causes.

CTE Brain Injury Attorney

Raizner Slania represents thousands of former college athletes and their families and to date has filed over 50 NCAA concussion lawsuits across the country. Our team of experienced trial lawyers works on these cases all day, everyday. While the NCAA looks at concussions as a potential detraction from their member schools’ college football revenue, we see the faces, lives, and pain behind each and every case. You can read more about the cases we have filed and other NCAA concussion litigation news on our blog.

If you or a loved one experienced brain trauma as a result of a head injury sustained while playing college football for an NCAA regulated team, please contact the experienced trial attorneys at Raizner Slania. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf. Call us today for a free consultation.