The 2015 movie “Concussion” tells the based-on-a-true-story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who made the first diagnosis of CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, in former football players. CTE is found in athletes and others who have had a history of repetitive head trauma, and triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue. Memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment; aggression, depression and eventually dementia can result.
The film earned a Golden Globe nomination for actor Will Smith as he portrayed Dr. Omalu’s dramatic efforts to bring the attention of the NFL to the potentially devastating effects of trauma to the brain. But it’s not just a movie: concussion damage happens in real life. And it happens not just to professional athletes— and not just to football players.
Real Life Injuries to High School Athletes
Concussion damage happens to high school athletes playing a variety of sports.
Take for example the lawsuit filed in April of 2016 by high school lacrosse player Kendalle Holley and her parents, David and Aimee Holley. Their lawsuit alleges a concussion-causing blow to her head during a game caused Kendalle to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Their lawsuit claims negligence on the part of Orange County, Florida; the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA); and the former player who allegedly struck Kendalle during a lacrosse game in February of 2015.
Kendalle was 14 at the time of the injury.
Concussion is only one type of injury that athletes may suffer. One Florida couple, Brian and Kathy Haugen, want to draw attention to the threat posed by internal injuries. Their 15-year-old son Taylor was playing football at Niceville High School in Niceville, Florida. As he was reaching upwards to try and catch a pass, he was tackled from both front and back.
Doctors would later say the force of the impact was equivalent to a high-speed automobile accident. Taylor died later the same day he was injured from internal injuries to his liver.
Back to School Time Means More Injuries for High School Athletes
There’s nothing like a big Hollywood movie to bring attention to a cause, and this year that means concussion injuries. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas issued a press release on September 28, 2016 with the headline, “Welcome to Concussion Season.” Their release noted the “soaring” number of concussion diagnoses—rising fastest among ages 10 through 19.
Signs of Concussion Injury
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas listed signs to look for in young athletes that may signal concussion injury:
- Appearing dazed or stunned
- Clumsy movements
- Delayed response to questions
- Behavior, mood, or personality changes
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Ringing in ears
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Sleeping more or less than normal
Any of the above may indicate concussion damage. But the following are “danger signs” that mean immediate medical help should be sought:
- Headache that does not go away
- Weakness or numbness in any part of the body
- Poor coordination or agitation
- Vomiting or stiff neck
- Slurred speech
- Extreme drowsiness
- Unequal pupil size
- Convulsion or seizure
- Loss of consciousness
For many parents and high-schoolers, back to school time means sports. But forewarned is forearmed when it comes to the potentially devastating effects of injuries while playing, and parents who know the signs of concussion injury know when to seek help. If you or a loved one has been injured while playing high-school sports, the attorneys at Thomas and Pearl want to speak to you.
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Thomas & Pearl attorneys have the skills and training, plus the financial resources necessary to conduct a thorough injury investigation.
Ask about the more than $150M (MILLION) dollars in recent and past jury verdicts and settlements we have gained for our clients.
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