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Traumatic brain injury is not a pillow fight

Many parents these days think their little football player will be fine with protective headgear. They will likely be wrong.

Over the last few years, a significant number of sports celebrities, and other not-so-famous players, have taken their own lives due to traumatic brain injury. Over time, repeated impacts can destroy the brain and create the idealenvironment for degenerative brain disease, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Children in large football or hockey outfits are cute, but their head health is a serious concern. Traumatic brain injury is not a pillow fight. It kills.

In step with the public’s demands for more information about traumatic brain injury and how to prevent it, the movie “Head Games,” directed by Steve James, was filmed with Little People. The movie is starkly moving and uses graphic images to show what concussions really do. These pictures are interspersed with parents relating personal stories of how their young athlete is valiantly struggling with head injuries, and how devastating the long-term effects are for the whole family. For families facing this life changing event, they may obtain the 90-minute film, on demand, at Amazon and iTunes, and it may also be available from some cable and satellite providers. It is well worth watching if you think playing football is a piece of cake. In fact, the issue is more complex and goes far deeper than anyone can imagine. Football and other contact sports have the potential to lead to irreparable brain damage. Too many people think of how cute the players look and pay scant attention to the seriousness of a concussion. Clearly, kids are being exposed to needless risks, and no one seems to get it.

This is a huge public health issue that people try to sweep under the carpet, because they do not grasp the ramifications of repeated concussions, until their son or daughter becomes a victim. Media reports about this issue are not sensationalized. They are the truth, and it is time parents woke up and started dealing with it.

It’s been scientifically proven that multiple blows to the head lead to brain trauma. If you don’t think that is true, consider that the National Football League is dealing with 140 lawsuits from about 3,500 former players, alleging the League hid the truth about concussions from them.

Little football players grow into big ones, and likely continue their love of sports over a lifetime. How does that affect their brain health? This is something we need to be upset about. Something we need to deal with before it gets completely out of hand. Ignoring head trauma does not mean it will go away.

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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