Tag: CTE

Concussion Lawsuit

Former Cornerback Files Concussion Lawsuit Against the NCAA

Raizner Law has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) football player against the National Collegiate Athletic Association for allegedly failing to protect him from the long-term effects of concussions. Our plaintiff played as a cornerback in 1999, but continues to suffer from neurological impairments to this day.

Since the inception of WPI’s football program through at least 2010, there were no adequate concussion management protocols or policies in place to address and treat concussions sustained by student athletes during practice and in games. When our client experienced a significant head injury or concussion, he would be quickly returned to the field of play or only be taken out of the game for an inadequate amount of time. During his time playing college football for WPI, our client sustained many impacts to the head. As a result, he currently suffers from depression, memory loss, and suicidal thoughts, among other mental issues.

Although the NCAA knew about the long-term effects of concussions, they kept the public and players in the dark and continued to profit off of college football players. Raizner Law is seeking compensation on our client’s behalf to cover the cost of past and future medical expenses, other out of pocket expenses, lost time and interest, and lost future earnings. While no amount of money can reverse the brain damage our client has suffered, it will help hold the NCAA accountable for its actions.

Thousands of Players Affected

Evidence linking concussions to long-term neurological impairment has existed for decades. Despite being charged with safeguarding the wellbeing of its student athletes, the NCAA did nothing to educate or protect college football players from the dangerous and lasting side effects of being hit while playing football. There have been thousands of collegiate football players over the past few decades, and according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 91% of former collegiate football players were diagnosed post-mortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated impacts to the head.

Learn Your Rights Today

Former collegiate football players do not have to suffer in silence. Raizner Law is representing dozens of former NCAA football players and we can help you too. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Former Football Player

Family Reveals Tragic End For Former Football Player

In 2005, law enforcement officers found Rod Stensrud running on a busy road next to a shopping mall. The officers reported Mr. Stensrud told them, “Something is wrong with my brain.” Unfortunately, Mr. Stensrud was right. A year after this incident he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Mr. Stensrud played at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at California State University, Long Beach. At UCLA he played on scout and special teams. At Cal State, he received little game time; however, he was subjected to repeated concussive and sub-concussive hits during scrimmages and practices. He described his own concussions in a 2008 interview while participating in an Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk as “Just a collision like a truck, a Mack truck.”

By his mid-40s, Mr. Stensrud began to experience cognitive impairment. In the early 1990s, Mr. Stensrud got lost heading to the bathroom at a Stanford-UCLA basketball game. Eventually, he had to stop working because he could not keep track of important paperwork. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stensrud admitted to a friend that he couldn’t remember how to unlock his own front door. Just prior to his diagnosis, he was also suffering from hallucinations.

When Mr. Stensrud was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he was only 55 years old, which made him younger than 95% of patients with Alzheimer’s. As surprising as the diagnosis was, it made more sense when he eventually passed away in 2011. After his death, his brain was donated to Stanford pathologists who diagnosed him postmortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma.

Mr. Stensrud’s CTE and Alzheimer’s were likely the result of his years playing collegiate football. Many studies have shown a link between the repeated impacts sustained during play and degenerative neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS, among others. Mr. Stensrud’s widow has filed a lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for failing the protect college athletes from the long-term effects of concussions. The NCAA has known for decades that concussions can cause serious neurological damage, but failed to update any protocols or educate players on the risks.

Raizner Law partner Jeff Raizner is representing Mrs. Stensrud in her lawsuit against the NCAA, as well as dozens of other former NCAA football players. Mr. Raizner was quoted in The Mercury News explaining, “This is not just a phenomenon that happens to the stars, the guys who play in every game. It happens to the guys you never heard of. Guys you won’t even see on an active roster.”

NCAA Concussion Claims

Many former football players are suffering lasting effects as a result of their time playing for universities. If you or someone you love played NCAA football, contact Raizner Law immediately. We can help you obtain compensation for the NCAA’s failure to protect student athletes. Call us today for a free consultation.

NCAA Claim

New Test Could Diagnose Concussions With Saliva

Although football is one of America’s favorite sports, it is also one of the most dangerous. Football players suffer repeated impacts to the head during play that can have lifelong consequences. Even though concussions are incredibly dangerous, very little is being done to help protect players from them. To help combat the dangers of concussions, one company is working to create a test that could diagnose concussions with saliva.

Quadrant Biosciences is currently conducting studies wherein they look at saliva samples to help determine whether or not a person has suffered a concussion. The test works by administering a simple mouth swab and then looking for the presence of certain molecules. The company is using micro-RNA, a protein released when the brain sustains a concussion. Studies have been able to identify concussions based on micro-RNA within the first ten minutes after sustaining a head injury. With this new technology in hand, Quadrant is teaming up with the NFL Hall of Fame Players Foundation. Players are participating in the study to help further concussion research.

Why Concussion Treatment Is Important

The brain is particularly vulnerable during the time right after a concussion occurs. Additional impacts to the head during this time can greatly increase the severity of the existing damage and contribute to the development of degenerative diseases later in life. Spotting a concussion is really difficult – there is currently no accurate way to tell if one has occurred. While it is safe to say someone has sustained a concussion if they lost consciousness, many people suffer concussions without ever losing consciousness. And we frequently lose sight of the cumulative, terrible consequences of sub-concussive blows that can add up. A test conducted in real time would be a great step toward helping reduce the long-term effects of concussions by allowing players, coaches, and doctors to immediately diagnose and treat these serious injuries.

Concussion Tests Too Late For Many

While it is incredibly important for concussion research to continue to advance, for thousands of players it is too late. Thousands of collegiate and professional football players are facing conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Dementia, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), among other serious conditions. Evidence of the dangerous consequences of concussions has existed for decades, but organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hid these dangers from players.

File An NCAA Claim Today

Former NCAA football players have a right to hold the organization responsible for putting profits before players. If you played collegiate football and suffer neurological symptoms, contact Raizner Law today. We can help explain your legal options and hold the NCAA accountable.

NCAA Lawsuit

Family Members of Ex-NCAA Football Players File Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Repeated impacts to the brain have extremely detrimental effects. For most people, concussive or sub-concussive events are few and far in between, but for athletes, and particularly football players, impacts to the head occur constantly. Studies illustrating the harmful effects of head impacts on the brain have existed for decades, but athletic organizations like the NCAA ignored them for years and players paid the price. Now, family member of four deceased football players are seeking to hold the NCAA accountable.

The widow of a former Grand Valley State University quarterback who played for the university from 2003 to 2006 filed the first lawsuit. Unfortunately, her late husband experienced bouts of paranoia, anxiety, and erratic behavior for years leading up to his death in 2013. In a fit of paranoia during a fishing trip, her husband went missing and was found deceased in the woods several days later. An autopsy determined he died of pneumonia caused by inhaling his vomit after he became disoriented. His brain was sent to Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Researchers determined he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

The widow of a former San Diego State linebacker, the widow of a former UCLA and Long Beach State running back, and the mother of a former USC fullback also filed lawsuits. All of the deceased players referenced in these NCAA concussion lawsuits suffered from symptoms commonly associated with brain damage resulting from repeated impacts to the head during collegiate football play.

The NCAA Failed To Protect College Football Players

The NCAA has known for decades that severe head impacts can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression, and CTE, among other conditions. The NCAA recklessly ignored these facts and failed to implement reasonable concussion management protocols to protect its athletes. Many former college football players are now suffering severe medical problems resulting from their time playing on the field, and they are now seeking to hold the NCAA responsible. Lawsuits have been filed all around the country, and the NCAA already settled one case after just three days in trial.

Raizner Law is working with law firms around the country to help victims and their families hold the NCAA accountable. We are proud to represent former NCAA football players and their families.

Get Help With Your NCAA Lawsuit

The experienced trial lawyers at Raizner Law are representing former collegiate football players and their families and helping them get justice. If you played football college, call us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. We can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf.

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.