Sports-related head injuries are becoming an increasingly alarming problem, especially for children. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries for those persons under age 19 rose 60 percent from 2001 to 2009. Although the number of deaths from brain trauma among those ages 15 to 19 decreased by half from 1999 to 2010, emergency room visits for sports-related injuries for teenagers increased significantly, according to the CDC.
The recent surge in sports-related brain injuries among children has prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) to call for public policy changes to reduce sports-related head injuries. The policy changes recommended are similar to those safety efforts enacted to reduce head-trauma deaths from motor vehicle accidents.
The CDC’s recommendations for policy changes also come on the heels of several high profile lawsuits filed against the National Football League and the suicides of former professional athletes, which have highlighted concerns about the long-term effects of head injuries. Currently more than 3,000 former players and their families have sued the NFL alleging that the NFL concealed data about the long-term risks associated with concussions, particularly repeated concussions. The family of linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in May 2012, has also sued the NFL alleging that brain damage caused his mental illness and subsequent suicide.
Bloomberg reports that the Institute of Medicine, an advisory panel to U.S. policy makers, began an investigation earlier this year in order to learn more about the impact of sports concussions on players from elementary school age through young adulthood.
Traumatic brain injuries consist of any type of brain injury caused by a collision or shock to the head that disrupts normal brain function. Concussions – one 0f the most common types of traumatic brain injuries – are often sustained in contact sports like football, lacrosse, and hockey.
Head injuries, including concussions, have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, and sleep problems. A person who suffers a concussion is up to four times more likely to sustain a second concussion, according to neurologists, and athletes are especially susceptible to subsequent concussions. Secondary impact syndrome (SIS) can result in massive swelling of the brain and, in some cases, may lead to a loss of blood flow to the brain, which can place the athletes at an increased risk for learning difficulties and other neuropsychological difficulties. Moreover, research shows that a traumatic brain injury can also increase the risk of stroke.
The Chicago head injury attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC focus on representing the victims of head injuries, including children who have suffered a sports-related head injury. If your child has suffered a sports-related head injury, such as a concussion, do not hesitate to contact one of our skilled Chicago head injury attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.