The issue of traumatic brain injuries and concussions as a result of high-impact sports is receiving more widespread attention these days, thanks in large part to the researchers doing the good work of studying the issue, as well as litigation brought against entities like the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL)–accused of knowing about these permanent dangers–but hiding them from players and the public–for years.
Below, we discuss some of the latest developments in this area and where things are in terms of players and their families obtaining justice in connection with the issue, as well as whether preventative solutions are being identified:
Experts Find That These Injuries Are Workplace-Based
According to research that was just presented in mid-November at the American Public Health Association 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo, the risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the NFL workforce qualifies as a “significant risk of material impairment of health” that would allow the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to intervene in order to reduce the risk of repeated head trauma. Specifically, researchers found that both healthcare and some legal professionals have been “manufacturing doubt” concerning the risk of CTE with respect to high-impact sports, in spite of the strong evidence which demonstrated that 110 out of 111 deceased former NFL players exhibited patterns of CTE.
Studies Also Show Concussion or Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Linked With an Increased Risk of Suicide
In addition, the latest studies show that having a history of concussion or even mild traumatic brain injury is associated with a two-fold increased risk of suicide. According to these studies, approximately one-quarter of patients will have long neuropsychiatric symptoms as a result of concussions that form mild traumatic brain injuries.
This Doesn’t Just Affect Professional Players
It is also extremely important to point out that CTE and brain damage due to multiple concussions and related head trauma does not just affect professional players in leagues like the NFL; on the contrary, these same issues have been identified in young players in high school and college as well. CTE is effectively the beginning of a dementing process that will destroy a brain, and a neurodegenerative disease that has affected countless teenage brains. Regardless of age, the more hits a human being gets in the head, the greater the risk for CTE, even if none of these hits ever results in an official concussion.