The long-term damage of a traumatic brain injury plays out over a person’s lifetime. Recent reports link degenerative brain injury to athletes who sustain concussions at increasingly younger ages.

In autumn 2013, the National Football League (NFL) settled a class action lawsuit brought by former players for injuries suffered during their playing years. When it comes to football, it’s easy to associate broken bones and bruised muscles. But while those injuries heal over time, brain injuries — particularly repeated trauma — are more likely to get worse.

The $765 million settlement between the NFL and its former players was for traumatic brain injuries suffered through successive concussive hits taken on the football field. Now retired and older, the plaintiffs involved in the action suffer Alzheimer’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s Disease. In January of this year, a federal judge rejected the settlement, saying it was insufficient compensation, considering the damages the athletes suffered and continue to endure.

In recent months, post-mortem analysis of two athletes who did not play football lend devastating evidence of the danger of brain injury in any sport:

  • Only 29 when he died, Patrick Grange played soccer from age three. Especially talented at head-hitting the ball, Mr. Grange was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. After his death, research revealed Mr. Grange suffered from Stage II Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
  • In December 2012, former major league baseball player Randy Freel committed suicide. Analysis of his brain tissue revealed he also suffered from Stage II Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Mr. Freel suffered approximately nine concussions during his career from collisions with players and into outfield walls.

Concussion protocols are becoming commonplace in Dallas and throughout the United States. The concern now is not whether concussion causes brain injury, but how long it might take for the full extent of the damage to be known. Effects can be immediately apparent or slow in developing. If you are injured in a sports accident, consult Personal Injury Attorney Dallas today.

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