Long-Term Health Consequences Of Repeated Head Impacts

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are discussed on this site, both because they often occur during accidents, as well as the potentially severe health consequences that can accompany such head trauma injuries.

One issue that has received increasing recognition recently has been the long-term impact of repeated impacts to the head.  Do these repeated head traumas pose a near-term and/or long-term health impact that is cumulative in nature?  This question is particularly relevant to those who play sports in which repeated head impacts, including concussions, can occur.  While football is commonly cited, other sports – as well as other physical activities – often have participants who are often commonly hit on the head.

While these repeated head impacts often vary in their severity, some are increasingly concerned that it is difficult – if not impossible – to know the long-term health impact of such repeated head traumas.  Many lawsuits have been filed, seeking compensation for those who have developed such mental and emotional impairments including dementia, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases and afflictions allegedly due to the concussions that athletes have suffered over the course of their careers.

One of the diseases that has grown in awareness is that of  chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE is a degenerative disease that many believe is due to repetitive head trauma.  It is only determined post-mortem – via an autopsy – so it is difficult to know for sure how many living athletes may have the condition.  CTE is gaining awareness in part because of recent findings that CTE has been present in many deceased NFL players.

This finding is discussed in the November 24, 2015 Wall Street Journal article titled “The Doctor the NFL Tried to Silence” as well as the September 18, 2015 CBS Sports article titled “Study:  95.6 percent of deceased NFL players tested positive for CTE.”  An excerpt from this CBS Sports article:

Although research had suggested that concussions were one of the likely causes of CTE, new evidence suggests that “minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football may pose” a greater risk than the occasional violent collision.

The study noted that 40 percent of the positive tests were done on offensive or defensive linemen, who are subject to violent collisions on almost every play in a football game.

Another article, the November 25, 2015 Washington Post article titled “Frank Gifford’s family says Hall of Famer suffered from CTE” also discusses CTE and focuses on Frank Gifford’s diagnosis of CTE.

As mentioned above, the ill-effects of repeated concussions and other head impacts is not limited to football.  Various National Hockey League (NHL) players have been diagnosed with having CTE.  One of those past NHL players who has been determined to have had CTE is former Blackhawks defensemen Steve Montador.  Montador’s background is discussed in the February 15, 2015 Chicago Tribune article (with video) titled “Former Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador dead at 35.”

Montador’s family has filed a lawsuit against the NHL, making various claims.  The lawsuit is summarized in a variety of media sources, including the December 9, 2015 Courthouse News article titled “Dead at 35, With Brain Damage, Hockey Family Says” as well as the December 8 Chicago Tribune article titled “Family of former Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador sues NHL.”  An excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article:

Montador’s lawsuit alleges he sustained thousands of hits to his head during a 13-year NHL career, including 15 documented concussions. At least four of them came within three months in 2012 while he was playing for the Hawks.

According to the lawsuit, as a result of the repetitive brain traumas Montador sustained during a career that spanned 571 regular-season and 43 playoff games with six teams from 2001 to 2012, the defenseman experienced significant memory issues, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, a substance abuse problem, photosensitivity, mood and behavioral changes, decreased appetite, anxiety and depression both during and after his career.

Should you or one or someone you care for experience a concussion or other type of head injury due to the negligence of another person or party, you may be entitled to compensation for this injury.  The amount of compensation depends on many different factors, including the severity of the injury as well as the long-term impact of such head trauma.  The trial attorneys at the Elman Law Group offer a free legal consultation to discuss such legal issues associated with getting injury compensation.  During this no-charge consultation, you can find out what the legal process is with regard to potentially getting a monetary award, as well as how much the compensation may be (i.e. how much your case may be worth.)  Elman Law Group has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for over 20 years, and over this time period it has handled over 10,000 personal injury lawsuits.

Elman Law Group handles personal injury and wrongful death cases on a “contingency basis,” meaning that Elman Law Group’s clients don’t pay legal expenses unless and until they receive a monetary award.

To receive this free legal consultation, call Tony Elman at (773) 392-8182 at any time.