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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Feb. 24, 2016

As more and more families go to see the latest blockbuster film Concussion about a real-life doctor who performed research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) suffered by football players, parents are–at the same time–actually struggling with whether they should let their children play these high-impact contact sports. Plenty of parents who played these sports themselves at one time or another have decided that they would never let their children do the same, placing their brain development at risk.

In fact, recently, the real doctor behind the movie (Dr. Bennet Omalu) informed Congress that “there is no helmet… that will stop your brain from bouncing around in your skull.” The doctor specifically found that—with enough concussions—these players can effectively be robbed of their minds. And now that the evidence is out there, what kind of responsibility do those who organize these sports—whether it be the NFL or youth leagues such as Pop Warner Football—have to ensure that people aren’t severely hurt and suffering from severe brain injuries?

What Is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?

CTE is a degenerative disease of the brain mostly found in athletes who have a history of brain trauma; particularly concussions, as well as what’s known as “sub-concussive hits” to the head, which do not always present immediate symptoms—as a concussion would—but still cause brain trauma. Specifically, repeated trauma to the head clogs the athletes’ brains with tau proteins, which are also found in Alzheimer’s patients.

According to Omalu, the human brain is fully developed between ages 18 to 25 years old, and thus, high-impact sports should not be played until a child is at least 18 years of age, educated about the risks, and can make their own decision. Allowing them to play before then is effectively making the decision regarding degenerative brain defects for them. In fact, the issue may have implications for similarly rough sports, such as rugby, or even soccer.

In addition, studies indicate that if you allow the brain time to heal, you don’t tend to see the neurodegenerative changes that characterize CTE develop in the brain. Fortunately, NFL players now suspected of suffering a concussion are required to undergo a protocol before they can return to play; but what about younger children in youth sports? Are there adults regularly checking in to see if someone has suffered a concussion or sub-concussive hit, and needs to rest before reengaging in the sport?

Prestigious Representation for Florida Head Trauma Victims

Named the 2015 Litigator Award winner, Mike Walker is one of the top attorneys for representing victims of brain injuries. He understands the impact that these injuries can have on an individual’s life and their entire family, including, in some instances, lifelong emotional trauma.

If you or a loved one has experienced a head or brain injury, seek help from the Clearwater law firm of Mike Walker. Contact the office today for a free consultation.