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New study results, released in July by researchers at Boston University, document the potential risk of serious and permanent brain injury to athletes, and the news isn’t at all good.
Using the largest pool yet of brain data from former football players, the study found that 87 percent of those who had played football from at least the high school level had clear evidence of serious injury. Even worse, more than 99 percent of the professional football players in the sample showed signs of injury.
The study found evidence of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) when the researchers looked at the brains of 202 former players. All of those in the study had donated their brains for research upon their deaths. Like some other brain disorders, CTE can’t be definitively diagnosed except through an autopsy.
But the study revealed that CTE isn’t the only type of brain injury athletes face. In about half of all cases, the subjects were found to have identifiable symptoms of some other neurological problem on top of CTE, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
The study only included brains from fourteen players who had competed in high school but not played at higher levels. Unfortunately, the data from those subjects suggested that, even at that level, players’ brains are exposed to the kind of abuse that can lead to permanent damage later in life.
Brains from three of those players—21 percent—showed clear indications of CTE (although the researchers considered the damage “mild”).
This finding validates the concerns of many researchers, doctors, parents, and athletes themselves: Even in the early levels of the sport, where contact is less frequent and less violent, the seeds of future problems can be sown.
This study focused on football, and that’s where most of the attention around brain injuries to athletes has been. But many participants in youth sports should take note: Lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, and even sports like basketball and volleyball expose youth athletes to significant head and brain injury risks.
When you or someone you care about has suffered a brain injury because of the actions or inactions of another, it’s important to work with an attorney who understands the issues of liability and the medical concerns involved with this type of injury. The team at David Christensen Law has helped many clients successfully pursue their brain injury claims.
Whether an injury was inflicted in a car crash, a fall caused by unsafe conditions, negligent supervision of athletes, or any other reason, we can help you with your case. Give us a call today at 248-213-4900 or fill out the form below to learn how we might be able to help you.