The National Football League (NFL) has come under fire from the family of ex-player Junior Seau who died in May 2012 when he shot and killed himself. Seau’s family has filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming wrongful death and that the NFL “concealed the risk of repeated hits to the head” during Seau’s career in the NFL. The family claims that Seau suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy or severe traumatic brain injuries. The suit blames the league for ignoring evidence tying violent on-field hits to traumatic brain injuries.
According to the report, helmet manufacturer Riddell Inc. is also being sued by Seau’s family and say Riddell was "negligent in their design, testing, assembly, manufacture, marketing and engineering of the helmets" used by NFL players. The NFL has repeatedly denied all the allegations by Seau’s family.
What does all this mean?
Whether you side with the family of Junior Seau or with the NFL, I think we all can agree that traumatic brain injuries are devastating and have some terrible side effects. According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries are a contributing factor to a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States. They also mention that 75% of all traumatic brain injuries are concussions or other mild forms. Annually, there are about 50,000 deaths per year relating to traumatic brain injuries and about half of that number is children ages 0 to 14.
What is a concussion?
It is an injury to the brain that is caused by some sort of sudden blow to the head. Because of the blow, the brain is shaken and doesn’t work properly for a period of time. This can happen in a car accident or sports event. The harder the impact, the more severe the concussion.
Signs of a concussion
Often you can tell if someone has suffered a concussion by observation them. Some of these same symptoms are available to those suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms related to concussions include:
- Passing out
- Memory problems
- Slurred speech
- Ringing in the ears
- Light headed
- Seeing stars
- Blurry vision
- Not able to stand or walk
- Balance problems
- Nauseous or throwing up
The grades of a concussion
The amount of time it takes to recover may depend on how severe the concussion is. Concussions are broken into three levels or grades:
- Grade I – Transient confusion and headaches with no loss of consciousness. Symptoms usually clear in less than fifteen minutes. Grade I concussions commonly occur in automobile accidents.
- Grade II – This grade has the same symptoms as Grade I but the symptoms last longer than fifteen minutes.
- Grade III – This grade involves any loss of consciousness, whether it is a few seconds or several minutes. The recovery period for a Grade III concussion is at least one week.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I have seen car accident victims in my office who are suffering from some form of a traumatic brain injury. This can be as mild as a concussion, such as the one Tim Tebow had when he played for Florida, up to the devastating traumatic brain injury. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. However, repeated concussions may develop into a traumatic brain injury. A concussion is a non-visible injury. They are dangerous and painful. Anyone who has been in an auto accident or sporting event accident and has any of the above symptoms should be checked out by a doctor. Don’t take a chance.