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Checking a player for concussion may not be enough

A 30-year-old football player died as a result of complications associated with degenerative brain disease.

When the nation first became aware of the issues surrounding traumatic brain injury, it was noted that is seemed to be confined to older players who had seen their fair share of bone crunching scrimmages during their career.

Then, younger players began taking their lives and a whole new can of worms opened up —- traumatic brain injury did not just affect older players, it seemed. It stalked everyone who played a contact sport, regardless of age or sex.

Recently, a 30-year-old former quarterback went missing in the woods while on a fishing trip. He was found dead, with no signs that suggested he took his own life. He had been drinking and was found lying in his own vomit. His official cause of death was pneumonia due to inhaling his body fluids.

However, the pathologist also found that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was a contributing cause in the former player’s death. Due to the CTE, the young man was disoriented and suffering from paranoia. The amount of alcohol found in his body was rated as negligible.

In examining the deceased’s playing history, it was discovered that during his career on the field, he had only suffered one concussion. Despite sustaining a recognizable concussion, which coaching staff felt was mild, he was put back in the game and only told to come out at halftime. Further reports showed he was also vetted by a bevy of doctors who cleared him to play in further games.

The lesson is that even “mild” concussions have the capacity to seriously affect a player. When the young man was put back into game play, with a concussion, and cleared to play more games, his fate was sealed. It is time the name of the game is safety for the player and not winning at all costs – a cost that includes the destruction of a person’s normal life due to brain injury and/or their subsequent death.

For those who participate in contact sports, you need to know that if you are not thoroughly briefed on the risks of playing and sustaining traumatic brain injury (TBI), and there was negligence present, such as being put back into the game without being pulled out immediately, you have a right to sue for compensation.

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