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Brain Injuries

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.

Personal Injury

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 sports league’s negligence, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation for your harm. Please contact our personal injury lawyers in Maryland at (301)870-1200 for a free consultation.