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Head Injuries and Concussions Can Be Dangerous If Athletes Play Too Soon After an Injury

Brain trauma is nothing to mess with, and players with a concussion must be sidelined until they recover.

Unfortunately, with the current attitude in many sports that playing through pain is a given, too many players are placed back into risky situations despite the presence of concussions and other brain injuries.

This is a problem that occurs in many sports. It could happen in soccer, football, polo, basketball and volleyball as well as cheerleading. Lately, consistent concussions over a period of time and the consequences for athletes have been making the news, and not in a good way. National Hockey League enforcers Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Derek Boogaard died as a result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE causes depression and all three enforcers, not to mention other notable players, have suffered the detrimental effects of CTE. Some are still alive to discuss how they cope with the mental and emotional issues they have. Others, like Belak, Rypien, Boogaard are dead. Their brains were examined for the presence of excess tau protein, a telltale sign of CTE.

Concussions happen all the time when kids and older adults are playing contact sports. It’s the manly thing to do, and they accept that they will get hit hard every now and then, including their head. But this is far more serious than the nonchalant reference to concussions being disorienting. It can kill, and the latest research points out that it may not even take a concussion to trigger a CTE.

It was once thought that continuing to play after sustaining a concussion was the major cause of CTE and other dementias. Now, the latest information from a Purdue University study in the Journal of Neurotrauma is that if a player sustains multiple blows to the head, every game played even without concussion symptoms, can still cause a CTE and long-term brain problems, including progressive dementia.

The word is getting out about this and you can see that in the latest court cases. For example, in July 2010, 75 former NFL players sued the league, suggesting they knew about the long-term effects of many blows to the head for at least 90 years, and it did not warn them or adequately protect them. Furthermore, the suit also suggested that it was not until 2010 that the league indicated that concussions can lead to CTE, memory loss and dementia.

You can expect to see an increase in lawsuits in this area of the law as more information becomes available on the causes and effects of CTE. If you have sustained a head injury or concussion, nothing was done about it, and you were put back into the game, talk to an Austin personal injury lawyer about your options, particularly if you are having cognitive difficulties. It is too important not to take action and find out about your legal rights.

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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