Concussions are a mild form of traumatic brain injury that occur when a bump or blow to the head causes a disruption in normal brain activity. Common causes of concussions can include falls, car accidents, violence, or injuries sustained while playing sports. In recent years, sports-related concussions have gained more public attention, leading to calls for increased safety precautions taken in both amateur and professional sporting events. In response, sports organizations such as the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) have implemented new rules aimed at reducing concussions, and have also embarked on aggressive public relations campaigns attempting to convince the public that participation in their respective sports is safe. Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
Athletes in the U.S. suffer 3.8 million sports-related concussions each year, and researchers at the United States’ Institute of Medicine are looking into a potential link between concussions and suicide.
Legally, schools and other organizations that sponsor sports are increasingly facing liability for injuries that occur during events. Additionally, several class action lawsuits have been filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as well as NCAA Football.
The NFL is also facing lawsuits from former players who suffered concussions while playing in the league. In recent years, there have been several high-profile suicides committed by former NFL players. Research conducted on the brains of these deceased players provide some evidence that the concussions suffered during their careers could have been contributed to the suicide and other problems encountered during their lifetime. The lawsuits claim that the NFL failed to disclose the risk of concussions, failed to protect from concussions, and conspired to hide the link between concussions and head trauma.
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