Sports incidents can cause serious, life-altering injuries

Across the nation, March is Brain Injury Awareness month and, chances are, you know someone who has sustained a major brain injury. Whether you are aware of it or not, a friend, family member or colleague currently suffers from the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries are far more common than people know.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 5 million people in the U.S. have long-term or lifelong struggles with tasks of daily life due to the effects of brain trauma. Every year, about 2 million people sustain TBIs, affecting not only their emotional and behavioral abilities to engage in everyday life but affecting the lives of those around them due to changes in personalities and reactions.

A blow to the head or another part of a person's body can cause a brain injury. The soft tissue of the brain can become bruised or damaged when it comes into contact with a person's hard skull. Causes may include the following:

  • Explosion or blast
  • Sudden jolt, head rotation or spinning such as a whiplash injury during an automobile accident
  • Hard knock on the head from a sports ball or another's body or head
  • Slip and fall with or without hitting one's head on an object

Sports-related brain injuries

Many contact sports are to blame for catastrophic injuries to young athletes. Last month, the first soccer player was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) - a degenerative neurological disorder that causes degradation of the brain and is diagnosed only after death. While many associate boxing and football with high incidences of sport-related brain injuries, baseball and soccer players - as well as other athletes - are also at high risk and the recent diagnosis put the soccer industry on high alert.

Despite the heightened awareness of the dangers of concussions in young sports enthusiasts - especially high school and college athletes -, far too many schools and non-school sports organizations fail to take the necessary steps to protect their athletes from the dangers of brain injuries. Inadequate sports gear, examination of injured players or training of coaches and athletic trainers can all lead to further brain damage.

There is no longer such a concept as a "mild concussion." Neurologists and other medical professionals are quick to point out that symptoms of a brain injury may not be readily apparent and too many children and young adults are sent back into the game before they are completely healed from their injuries. Recovery from a brain injury without obvious symptoms can take months or years and some sufferers never fully recover.

Assistance for brain injury sufferers

If you or a loved one suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about catastrophic brain injury cases. A lawyer can help you or your family obtain compensation for losses including long-term care, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.