When asked which athletes are most likely to suffer from a concussion, many would answer “football players.” Football is a brutal sport in which every play results in bone jarring physical contact. However, that answer is not necessarily correct. The fact is, concussions happen at an alarming rate in lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, ice hockey, baseball, skiing and field hockey. Athletes in any sport can be at risk for suffering a concussion whether it is the physicality of the sport, the errant throw that hits a head or the fall to the ground. And while Locks Law Firm (LLF) is actively representing nearly 1,500 retired NFL players in the concussion litigation against the NFL, other suits are pending against the NHL and WWE. This is a serious issue for pro athletes and for youth, as well.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury often caused by a bump or blow to the head. The brain will “bounce around” inside the skill and can damage brain cells. But concussions are tricky. Despite what is represented in movies, concussions don’t always result in loss of consciousness. And under pressure to play, athletes often don’t report their symptoms. Various studies indicate that as many as 50% may go unreported each year! Effects of concussions can be very serious and last for a few days, to weeks, months or even years. And the true danger is not the singular concussion, rather the repeated blows and the lack of recovery time between the injuries.
So how does one protect themselves from a concussion? In some instances, it is impossible. Hitting is a part of football, rugby and other sports. That won’t change. However, athletes, coaches, parents and medical professionals on the sidelines do play a role in helping minimize the long term effects that can be caused. Part of the settlement with the NFL includes funding for further concussion education. Other agencies and sports leagues have also invested time and money into teaching these same people how to identify symptoms of concussion and how to treat them. Recovery after a concussion is key and athletes also need to be assured that reporting their symptoms won’t cost them their spot on the team or even their job.
So many of the former players LLF represents are now suffering from the after effects of repetitive head trauma…dings, getting their bells rung, whatever you want to call it. We can only hope that the settlement we have been striving for not only helps them with their mountains of medical expenditures, but raises the red flags, increases the dialogue and helps bring as much awareness to this critical topic as possible.