Head injuries are at the forefront of issues in sports today. Following a billion dollar class action lawsuit filed against the NFL, former players continue to seek compensation for on-field injuries suffered during their careers. Linebacker Henri Crockett, who played for the Minnesota Vikings for two seasons from 2002 to 2003, is among a group of 38 former players who filed a workers' compensation lawsuit against the NFL.
The group wants to force the NFL to recognize chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as an occupational disease and compensate players suffering from it as such. For now, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after death, but some early and late stage symptoms can manifest in former athletes. Early stage symptoms are described as "punch drunk" including chronic dizziness and headaches. As the disease progresses, symptoms can worsen to dementia, Alzheimer's disease and depression.
Long-term health effects?
CTE is believed to have been a factor in the death of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012. In the 2015 season alone, 271 players were diagnosed with a concussion, which represents 15 percent of players on active NFL rosters.
The players allege that the NFL knowingly suppressed and distorted information related to the adverse effects of brain injuries after beginning research into the issue in 1994. The former players also say that the NFL violated OSHA guidelines by encouraging the use of the "helmet as a weapon" until 2012 when "heads up" emerged as the common tackling technique.
What about non-athletes?
Outside of the spotlight of the NFL, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as a result of accidental falls are the second most common injury suffered by American workers. Male employees between the ages of 25 to 34 are the most likely to suffer a TBI in the workplace.
An accident is most likely to occur in the early morning work hours or during a lunch break. Injuries are more frequent during summer months than during the winter, perhaps because employees are more aware of the dangers of slip and fall injuries when snow and ice are present.
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury in the workplace, your employer may offer you care and compensation. However, the treatment for TBI is not just short term. An experienced attorney who understands your situation can ensure that you gain access to the long-term care and compensation you deserve.