TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES
The website operated by the National Football League on Aug. 29, 2013 reported that the professional sports collective had reached a tentative $765 million settlement, regarding concussion-related brain injuries, among its 18,000 retired players.
The NFL agreed to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.
“More than 4,500 former athletes—some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer's that they blamed on blows to the head—had sued the league, accusing it of concealing the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field while glorifying and profiting from the kind of bone-jarring hits that make for spectacular highlight-reel footage,” reads NFL.com. “The NFL long has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that safety always has been a top priority. But the NFL said...that Commissioner Roger Goodell told pro football's lawyers to ‘do the right thing for the game and the men who played it.’
“The plaintiffs included Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide...Under the settlement, individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer's disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia, said lead plaintiffs' lawyer Christopher Seeger. Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players would be eligible.”
According to NYU Langone Health, “In 2008, research surfaced that was gathered by neuropathologist Ann McKee, MD, from the Bedford VA Medical Center and CTE Center at Boston University Medical Center. After studying the brains of 12 former football players over a 2-year period, Dr. McKee found evidence of neurodegeneration. Each brain showed apparent signs of repeated trauma, the only cause of a condition known as CTE.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), including concussions and repeated blows to the head. It is also associated with the development of dementia.”
With all the attention that CTE and the NFL have received, it’s important to understand the impact of TBIs far beyond the multi-million dollar contracts, star quarterbacks and sold-out stadiums.
According to an article on ABC.com, titled “New Traumatic Brain Injury test is 'game-changing,' concussion experts say:”
“TBI is a disruption in normal brain function caused by a blow or jolt to the head. A concussion is the mildest form of TBI, but patients may suffer a constellation of physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep symptoms. Some of the most common signs include confusion, headaches, blurry or double vision, dizziness, fatigue, memory loss, difficulties with concentration and insomnia.” TBI is also “a major cause of death and disability in the U.S.”
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most recent TBI data available show nearly 61,000 TBI-related deaths for 2019.
The ABC.com article also said that, “Unfortunately, many patients with mild TBI struggle to get an accurate and timely diagnosis, even as they grapple with ongoing symptoms. This ultimately results in delayed treatment.”
But that same report says hope is growing.
“In a world first, a newly authorized handheld device will allow doctors to detect Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) in under 15 minutes, potentially saving lives by dramatically shortening the time it takes to properly diagnose the issue.”
But as the advancements in medical research continue, the impact of TBIs continues to resonate loudly, far beyond the world of medicine.
According to the federal government, Traumatic Brain Injuries cost the nation $48.3 billion annually, including $31.7 billion for hospitalization.
And then there are the costs that emerge from litigation.
According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, a Los Angeles attorney secured a $39.5 million settlement in a case brought on behalf of a California State University student who sustained a brain injury from heat stroke during a physical