A recent brain autopsy revealed that Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler suffered from a brain injury caused by repetitive hits during his playing career.
Mr. Stabler won the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player award and also led the renegade Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl title. Shortly after retirement, he began experiencing impulse control problems; Mr. Stabler later suffered from memory loss and severe headaches. Neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee expressed surprise that a quarterback developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease that is often associated with a large number of blows to the head. This diagnosis raises concerns that people in all walks of life may be more prone to brain injury than was initially believed. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed by a brain autopsy. So far, 87 of 91 deceased players who had their brains tested showed evidence of CTE.
Mr. Stabler succumbed to cancer at age 69 in July 2015.
Traumatic Brain Injury Causes
The majority of the estimated 1.7 million Americans who suffer a TBI every year are young children, adolescents, and older adults. Young children and older adults are sometimes physically frail, so it takes very little force to cause a serious head injury. As for adolescents, the risk-reward portion of their brains has normally not developed, which means that from a purely chemical perspective, people in this age group sometimes make reckless choices. For example, a teenager may refuse to wear a seatbelt on the grounds that it is uncomfortable.
Brain injury science is an emerging area, so there is a lack of definitive data as to causes. But some of the more common ones include:
- Motor Vehicle Crashes: Seatbelts and other restraints were designed to reduce trauma injuries, not eliminate head injuries. So, TBIs are common in car wrecks, either due to whiplash or an actual blow to the head.
- Slip and Fall: Young children and older adults are also at great risk for falls, and the connection between fall and head injury is all too common.
- Loud Noises: Your mother may have been on to something when she told you to turn down the TV, because researchers believe there is a link between sudden loud noises and head injuries.
Although they garner much media attention, sports-related concussions are actually somewhat rare.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
TBIs are difficult to diagnose, because their symptoms are often dismissed as shock from the accident. These symptoms include:
- Loss of Consciousness: Some victims entirely lose consciousness, while others are in a dazed state for minutes, hours, or even days.
- Mood Swings: An unstable personality makes it difficult to function at work, in school, and at home.
- Headaches: The same thing applies to the severe head pain that is often associated with a TBI.
Because dead brain cells never regenerate, these effects are often permanent, although they do become less severe with time and medical treatment.
Reach Out to an Aggressive Lawyer
Serious brain injuries have lifelong consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. If you or a loved one was injured or killed because of someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.