It seems like nearly every week during the college football season that we see a player come out of the game with a serious injury. Often times, these are the result of a blow to the head that gives the player on the receiving end a concussion.
Some individuals knock themselves out of a game with a concussion when they tackle incorrectly and leave their heads exposed. This is a serious injury that must be properly monitored by the coaches and training staff to ensure the player does not have significant damage.
Unfortunately, protocols may not be followed in order to protect the player and it’s important to understand the long-term impact of a concussion and why those harmed need to take action against others whose negligence aids in these types of injuries.
Here’s some of the impact of a concussion and the long-term effects.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is some form of a traumatic brain injury. The symptoms and signs displayed by someone with a concussion vary, often resulting in short term or long-term effects. These can impact a person for just a few hours or go on for years.
They are far more common than most people believe and it is especially true in sports such as football where there is a high presence of physical contact. Essentially, it is when the brain moves rapidly back and forth and the movement damages cells inside the brain.
Each year, roughly 300,000 traumatic brain injuries are caused by sports. This makes it increasingly important for individuals to protect themselves when playing so they can avoid the long-term effects of serious concussions.
What Are the Short-Term Effects that a Person Can Experience?
Following a traumatic blows to the head in college football, there are certain protocols that must be followed to determine if the player can go back into the game or if they have a concussion and need to sit down. It’s important to understand what some of the short-term symptoms are that could indicate a serious head injury.
In the short-term, some of the common characteristics that may be displayed include the following:
- Serious headaches
- Short-term loss of consciousness
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Delayed reaction and response time
- Hearing a ringing sound in your ears
- Feeling nauseous or throwing up
- Damaged vision or blurriness
- Light sensitivity to bright lights or sound
There may be some non-verbal signs that can exist, including changes in habits including eating and sleeping. You may notice a loss of balance or difficulty walking straight and this could be a sign of something seriously wrong.
In the sports world, if these signs and symptoms are easily recognizable during the concussion protocol, the player should be taken out of the game and not allowed to return. Allowing the player to return can put them at risk of even more serious injuries.
The Long-Term Effects and What It Could Mean for the Injured Person
Unfortunately, some of the effects associated with concussions may not develop until long after the injury occurs. It could be hours or in some situations, it could take days for symptoms to become visible, making it difficult for individuals to fully understand what they’re feeling.
The long-term effects may include problems with memory, sense disorders such as difficulty smelling or tasting, disturbances in sleep, and sensitivity to sound and lights. The injured party may have trouble concentrating, display irritability, or be depressed after the injury.
Roughly 20% of the individuals who suffer a concussion are left dealing with the long-term effects of post-concussion syndrome—which is typically when they experience the symptoms for longer than six weeks after the injury occurs.
Most symptoms resolve after a week or two, but the more concussions a person suffers, the more likely they are to experience the long-term effects of the injury. This is especially true when the injuries happen close to one another—as is the case when football players are allowed to return to the game too quickly after suffering a concussion.
The ability to help reduce the impact of a concussion is possible when immediate medical attention is given to the injured individual to better understand what symptoms are being experienced and how to proceed from there.
How Can the Long-Term Effects Change an Injured Person’s Life?
The amount of information now known about concussions has increased the reasons for concern over the last few years. More and more individuals have been experiencing the long-term problems associated with concussions and related head injuries, making it a serious issue in the sports world.
This has been brought to life even further with the discussions involving chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a condition that is considered a degenerative brain disease most commonly found in athletes among others. It is caused by repetitive trauma to the head and brain.
The disease is responsible for forming the protein Tau, which slowly spreads throughout the brain and kills important cells. It has recently been in a lot of discussion as former retired athletes battle depression and thoughts of suicide.
Some athletes have also taken their own lives and autopsies have discovered the presence of CTE in a number of these individuals. This makes CTE and the problem of recurring concussions a big concern and increases the importance of ensuring proper safety protocols are followed to protect players from suffering these injuries.
What Legal Options Exist for Former College Football Players Who Sustain Concussions?
The short answer: it depends on the situation. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who sustain concussions just because it is the nature of the game. On the other hand, many of those who are harmed are affected because of negligence, lack of safety protocols, and problems with equipment.
For instance, football helmets are made to try and protect the athlete, but without the proper maintenance, they can become dangerous and leave the player vulnerable to head injuries. Similarly, if the concussion protocol is ignored in order to rush a player back into the game, this can be considered negligent.
Football players must also be taught to properly tackle and how to hit to avoid using their heads when making contact. And coaches should be aware of what head injuries on the field can mean in the short and long-term for their players.
When negligence exists and concussions are hidden, it can lead to long-term problems and the injured party deserves the right to hold the responsible party accountable. This may mean filing the necessary lawsuit to help the injured person move forward in life with the ability to afford treatment.
Not all college football players will make it to the National Football League or have the resources to help treat their brain injuries following their retirement. These legal actions can help them in a number of positive and effective ways.
At Shrader & Associates L.L.P., our team of sports injury attorneys is dedicated to helping you when you need us most. We understand how serious concussions can be and how they may impact a person’s life moving forward.
We want to stand in your corner and help you understand your rights and options so you can seek the most favorable outcome for you. Trust that we’re here for you when you need us most and we go the extra mile to help you.
Call us today at (844) 394-9223 to discuss your potential rights and options with our skilled legal team. We’re standing up for the rights of present and former college football players who need help to get the treatment they need for brain injuries.