Awareness of concussions and their potential health implications has never been greater among athletes and coaches, thanks to former NFL players and former NCAA players who’ve experienced problems later in life and taken legal action to recover financial damages. The increased attention has led to improved protocols for diagnosing sports-related concussions and removing athletes from play until they have fully recovered. Unfortunately, concussion research still can’t tell us who will most likely suffer a concussion, how long it will take any one person to recover, how anatomic or genetic differences affect concussions, and/or who is at risk for long term effects.
Head Injuries in Soccer and Football: Concussion Research
Head injuries, including concussions and brain damage, are prevalent across multiple sports. In fact, a 2017 concussion research study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found high school-age female soccer players have a significantly higher rate of concussions than their male counterparts. U.S. Soccer banned heading for children under the age of 10 in 2015. FIFA also changed its concussion protocol, allowing games to be stopped for three minutes to properly assess a player’s injuries.
While the NFL has settled multiple concussion lawsuits and even demanded safer helmet prototypes as an answer to the brain injury epidemic, it has also refused to comment about the dangers it exposed players to while playing professional football. Because concussions are often invisible injuries, they may not be treated as seriously as other medical conditions, even though they often have severe and long-term consequences including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries, resulting in issues with critical thinking, behavioral problems, and dementia.
Concussion Legacy Co-Founder and former college athlete Chris Nowinski says, “What we’re learning by studying the brains of former football players after they’ve passed away is the longer you play football, the more years you play, the greater the risk of you developing CTE. When we published studies two years ago, it showed that 110 of the first 111 NFL players we studied had CTE… The only way you can really limit your career is to start later. Most high school football players, if you’re good enough to play in college, you’ll go play. If you’re good enough to play in the pros, you’ll keep playing. So in some ways success at football becomes punishment for your brain and for your future family.”
NCAA Concussion Injury Lawyers
Raizner Law represents clients in concussion-related lawsuits against the NCAA, universities, and athletic conferences. We represent former student athletes, primarily college football players, suffering from brain injury conditions including CTE, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and more.