Last week, two-time Women’s World Cup champion
Brandi Chasten announced that she plans to donate her brain to Boston University for research into
the degenerative brain disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
(CTE). Initial findings have revealed that the disease may be linked to
head trauma sustained in sports.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Initial research has indicated that CTE occurs when repeated blows to the
head cause a buildup of abnormal proteins, called tau, in the brain. This
type of head trauma is common in soccer, with players heading the ball
between six and 12 times per game, and as many as 30 times during each
practice. Unfortunately, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death, but
Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, including memory loss and mood swings,
are good indicators of the disease.
Additional Head Injury Research
The CTE project is the latest study in a recent push by parents and coaches
across the nation who are demanding further research on head trauma in
children and teenagers due to the increasing number of diagnosed concussions
among youths involved in sports. One
2013 study produced strong evidence of a correlation between soccer players who frequently
headed the ball and brain abnormalities that were similar to concussions. Another
study, in 2015, revealed that girls may be as much as 1.5 times more likely than boys
to sustain a concussion while in high school.
Last November, the new information led U.S. Soccer, the entity in charge
of the sport in the United States, to prohibit children under the age
of eleven from heading the ball.
While engaging in sports carries an inherent risk of harm, some types of
injuries are preventable. In these instances, coaches, sports leagues,
and officials can be held liable if their negligence aggravated or caused
a player’s head injury. For instance, a referee who fails to enforce
the new nationwide rule banning children under the age of eleven from
heading the soccer ball can be held responsible for medical costs, lost
wages, and pain and suffering if a child he or she was supervising sustained
a head injury. Alternatively, if a coach recognized signs of a concussion
or other head injury but took no action to prevent it from becoming worse,
he or she may be liable for that inaction.
While sports injury lawsuits are an important way for families to obtain
the compensation that will allow them to provide the best medical treatment
for their children, they are also an important tool for creating positive
change in sports regulations. These changes may in turn protect future
generations of youth players.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
Brain injuries can affect victims for the rest of their lives and can be
prohibitively expensive to treat. If your child has sustained a head injury
while playing a sport that was the result of a coach, referee, or sport
league’s negligence, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you
recover compensation for your harm. Please contact the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro for a free consultation.