As more and more evidence piles up to show the connection between brain injuries and severe brain damage, improved understanding might change how the law looks at liability in a wide range of cases. Another study released this week, just two days after another NFL player committed suicide in Kansas City - the seventh in two years.
This new research looked at 85 brains with a history of mild to severe brain injuries. Although the brains ranged in age from 17 to 98, around 80 percent of them displayed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes the brain to degrade over time, resulting in serious consequences like dementia, memory loss, a range of cognitive problems and depression.
By finding such a consistent connection between mild brain injuries and CTE, this study adds to a growing discussion about whether professional sports are worth the risk to players.
But perhaps the most notable take-away from this research is that even relatively mild or sub-concussive brain injuries can accumulate to cause big problems later in life. This may change the way we think about a number of activities. For example, a youth football team could have more responsibility to protect its players as more becomes clear about the possible consequences.
Traumatic brain injuries pose some unique legal challenges for victims. One big obstacle is determining how to measure or quantity the size of a victim's harm. An experienced and accomplished personal injury lawyer can help victims calculate the long-term impact of a brain injury.
Source: National Public Radio, "Evidence Mounts Linking Head Hits To Permanent Brain Injury," Helen Thompson, Dec. 3, 2012