Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have been very concerned about the relation between sports such as football and traumatic brain injury. Yesterday, scientists announced that they found signs of damage in the deceased Chicago football player’s brain, which may shed light on his recent erratic behavior. The findings, of course, add to questions about whether the ultimate cost of playing football could be higher than anyone imagined and poses a more significant question of whether the National Football League (NFL) should do more to protect its players.
The former Chicago Bears player, prior to shooting himself this past February, had expressed his desire for his brain to be studied for signs of traumatic brain disease. Scientific studies show that his brain tissue suffered from “moderately advanced” case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that is associated with repeated blows to the head, which often occurs in football. The deceased football player’s brain showed pronounced changes in the frontal cortex amygdala and the hippocampus. These parts of the brain control judgment, inhibition, impulse, mood control, and memory. Overall, CTE has been found in more than two dozen deceased professional football players. The NFL expressed its sympathy to the victim’s family and stated its wish that the findings will contribute more to the understanding of CTE. The NFL has also reported that it is working to expand the support system for retired players and advocating laws to better protect young athletes in any sport who suffer concussions.
Not only have football players been affected by traumatic brain injury and CTE, but many of our armed forces overseas are returning home with traumatic brain injury. An important medical concern of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is the long-term effect of mild traumatic brain injury, particularly from blast explosions.