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Football and brain injuries: should you be worried?

If you are the parent of an athlete in Rhode Island, you may wonder if all the media attention given to sports concussions should give you reason to worry. ESPN.com has reported on the mixed messages that parents and their children are receiving.


Some lawsuits placed against the National Football League claim that the risks of long-term brain damage were covered up with false research created to support the league. One lawsuit in particular involved almost 4,000 former players who felt that they had suffered brain damage after this incorrect evidence convinced them that playing football was safe.


Part of this information came from research done by the NFL’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee. While this group claimed that there were no records of any NFL players sustaining brain damage from the repeated concussions that are common in the sport, many former players and other professionals disagreed. While the results of a traumatic brain injury can be varied, the mild concussions may be shown to gradually lead to total and permanent disability.


Despite the league’s claims, proof that substantial brain damage could occur was recognized in 2009 and millions of dollars have been paid in disability benefits to former players. Significant brain damage has been shown in over one dozen NFL players who are now deceased, spurring the diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a disease that can lead to total disability and dementia. As more and more proof arises, you may need to think hard about the consequences of this decision. This information is intended for your education and should not be taken as legal or medical advice.

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