Over the past few years, the National Football League and the National Hockey League have been involved in lawsuits brought by players, alleging that the league failed to adequately prevent and treat serious head injuries that can lead to life-threatening diagnoses, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). New research indicates that professional athletes may not be the only ones at risk.
The Theory of Liability
Players in these lawsuits claim that the leagues they play in failed to adequately warn them of the potential for serious, life-threatening harm that can result from participating in the sport. Players claim that they were encouraged to get back onto the field or ice shortly after they suffered serious head injuries or concussions, and this has resulted in an increased risk of developing CTE. CTE is only diagnosable after someone has died, but people who suffer from the disease experience myriad symptoms, including anxiety, aggression, parkinsonism, depression, dementia, and even suicidality.
The crux of the players’ claim is that the league knew or should have known of the dangers present in playing the high-contact sports and should have taken more precautions and taken head injuries more seriously when they did occur. In fact, a group of NFL players recently reached a settlement with the NFL to establish a fund to compensate injured players. The details of that settlement are still being worked out.
Amateur Players May Also Be at Risk
According to a recent Insurance Journal article, the Mayo Clinic has recently conducted research on the presence of CTE in non-professional athletes’ brains. As it turns out, even amateur athletes are at risk for developing CTE.
Since the disease is only diagnosable posthumously, the Mayo Clinic’s study compared the donated brains of deceased athletes who participated in high school or college contact sports, as well as those of non-athletes. The results were astounding. Of the 66 amateur athletes, one-third had CTE. Compare this figure to the 198 non-athletes, not one of whom had CTE. The researchers admit that one limitation to the study is that there is no way of knowing whether the amateur athletes experienced any symptoms of CTE while they were still alive.
This discovery may mean that it is not only professional associations that should have been warning their players about the risks of head trauma involved with participation in dangerous high-contact sports.
Have You Suffered Brain Injury Because of Your Participation in a Professional or Amateur Sport?
If you or a loved one played a high-contact sport at any competitive level and have since developed symptoms consistent with a CTE diagnosis, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. These claims are relatively new in courts across the country, and it is recommended that you contact a Maryland personal injury firm on the cutting-edge of this area of the law. The skilled advocates at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in all kinds of accidents, including those arising out of failure-to-warn scenarios. To learn more about the developing law in this area, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation.
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