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Brain Trauma Can Occur Even When Not Diagnosed with a Concussion

Head trauma without signs of a concussion is deceptive and may be just as deadly as trauma that clearly indicates the presence of a concussion.

While it is a good thing that the National Football League (NFL) appears to be taking the issue of concussions seriously, one has to wonder, since they did know about the risks, why they did not take it seriously before now. The answer may involve the drive to win at any cost, risking player safety to achieve that goal. Money would also play a large part in the decision to keep fielding players who had their bells rung on a regular basis, which has something to do with the tough guy image.

Parents and adults who play sports need to be wary of the myth that concussions are what cause brain damage, and that if they avoid getting a concussion, they are ok. That is not the case. Head injuries, whether they result in concussions or not, should be feared for their consequences in the short and long-term, and it is up to parents, coaches, players and school sports administrators to do something about it. Kids and young adults need to be protected.

Witness the case of Owen Thomas, who was the captain of the University of Pennsylvania football team. He took his own life at the age of 21. What did his brain show when it was autopsied? It revealed extensive evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is the kind of damage that was typically a precursor to death by suicide in hockey and football players as the brain impairment affected their behavior and caused early on-set dementia, among other things. What shocked the researchers was that Thomas had never been diagnosed as having had a concussion.

Then how did he come to have traumatic brain injury? Over the years, he sustained multiple and repetitive sub-concussive head injuries. He started playing football when he was an adolescent and continued into this late teens and early adult years until his suicide. What is the solution to repeated concussive head injuries? One suggestion is that kids younger than 14 should not play sports noted for head trauma issues, but that is not likely to happen any time soon.

Other suggestions are to use better equipment, hold less hard-hitting practices, impose limits on hitting, or institute penalties for helmet tackling or launching players into one another. Unfortunately, the recent history of hockey, football and soccer is filled with acceptable violence in the pursuit of a win and a good time for the crowds. The fact that the players are jeopardizing their health in a serious manner doesn’t seem to register with coaches, fans, parents or even the players themselves.

If you or your child has been involved in a situation involving head trauma, don’t second guess the outcome or the liability of the situation. Make a call to a qualified Austin personal injury lawyer and find out where you stand. The law relating to sports and injuries does involve negligence, and this is an issue an Austin personal injury lawyer can explain to you.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.

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