Aggressive Ohio CTE Injury Lawyers Fighting to Protect Your Children

For a good deal of Americans, watching football on Sundays is the best part of the week. People don their favorite players’ jerseys, head over to a sports bar (or their own living rooms) to see the game on the big screen, and chow down on some wings, all while rooting for the home team. A lot of those people have similar routines on Fridays and Saturdays, only instead of watching the NFL, they watch their children play the game.

Over the past few years, however, scientists have shown definitively that playing football, and engaging in contact sports like boxing, MMA or soccer, can lead to permanent brain damage in the form of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE. It can also lead to other traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and a host of other serious injuries. If your child sustained an injury playing high school or college sports, you may be able to recover damages on his or her behalf, to help pay for the cost of your child’s medical treatments, pain and suffering, and lost earning potential. The Ohio injury lawyers of Crandall & Pera Law may be able to help.

The History Of Diagnosing CTE, In A Nutshell

CTE is an incurable, degenerative brain disease found in 99 percent of football players – including those who play in high schools and colleges. The condition was originally attributed to boxers by Dr. Harrison Martland, in 1928; he called it “punch drunk syndrome.”

Since then, research has found that victims of severe brain trauma – such as the kind you sustain after taking multiple hits to the head – exhibited the same signs and symptoms as those early boxers did. In 2005, Dr. Bennet Omalu linked CTE to former football player Mike Webster. In August of 2017, a team of researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System published an article showing that 110 out of 111 former NFL players’ brains showed signs of CTE.

The Four Stages Of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy occurs when tau proteins form clusters within the brain. These clusters spread and choke off the blood vessels in the brain, killing off brain cells. Depending on the amount and spread of the tau proteins, a person is diagnosed in one of four stages:

  • Stage 1: Tau protein clusters (called “hot spots”) are visible. The clusters may be small in size and/or number.
  • Stage 2: More clusters have formed, and the tau proteins have begun to move and spread across the brain.
  • Stage 3: The individual clusters begin to meld together, creating what looks like larger hot spots. The tau proteins can be found in the amygdala and the hippocampus.
  • Stage 4: Tau tangles have spread throughout the entire brain, and may also appear in the spinal cord.

In the earliest stages of the disease, a person may experience memory loss or changes in mood. By the time the individual reaches later stages, he or she can become violent, suicidal, depressed and/or delusional.

Important Information For Parents Of Student Athletes

For years, the effects of CTE were hidden from us, and thousands of parents encouraged their children to play a sports that, ultimately, could kill them. The article published in August revealed that CTE was present in 48 out of 53 people who played college football (but not afterward), and 3 out of 14 who only play up through high school. Though the chances of developing CTE do increase the longer you play, their study showed a 21 percent chance that high school football players could eventually develop the disease.

Football, of course, is not the only sports where student athletes could be at risk. Other sports and games that could lead to brain injuries include:

  • Wrestling
  • Soccer
  • Lacrosse
  • Baseball and softball
  • Horseback riding
  • Field and ice hockey
  • Martial arts
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball

I Signed A Liability Waiver For My Child Athlete; What Options Do I Have?

Student athletes (or their parents) are often asked – or required – to sign liability waivers and consent forms. In essence, they release the sports organization and/or the school from any liability if your child is hurt while playing sports. They are based on the assumption of inherent risk: baseball players may be hit by foul balls; basketball players may break a leg if they land a jump wrong; football players may sustain concussions if they are hit repeatedly.

However, just because the school has your consent form, does not mean you and your child athlete do not have legal options. The truth is, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the school or the organization if your child was hurt, even if you signed the waiver:

  1. The equipment was defective. If a defective piece of safety or sports equipment led to your child’s injuries, you may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer or retailer of that product. If the school and/or its coaches knew the equipment was defective or damaged, they could be liable for your child’s injuries.
  2. The doctors and coaches lied about your child’s condition. Most coaches, doctors and administrators do the right thing when it comes to student athletes – especially when it comes to brain injuries and concussions. If, however, the coach pushes an athlete to keep playing even after a serious head injury, fails to send your child to be checked over by a medical professional (or fails to insist that you bring your child to the doctor), or ignores any regulations put forth by the state of Ohio for treating and reporting injuries, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
  3. The playing field is a mess. Schools have a responsibility to keep their grounds safe for the students, and that includes the sports fields, the gyms or any other areas used for training. If the ground is unsafe, and the student breaks a leg, hits his or her head, or sustains an injury for any reason, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the school and/or the company that handles the maintenance and repair of school grounds.
  4. The waiver is unfair, illegal or overly vague. Make sure to have the consent form read by a skilled Ohio injury lawyer. It is possible that the waiver itself will not hold up in court.

Student athletes are under immense pressure: from their teachers, from their friends, from their families and, mostly, from themselves. Their dedication to their teams and the sports they play is admirable – but it can also be dangerous. When a student athlete suffers a traumatic brain injury, multiple concussions or other types of head trauma, he or she may develop CTE later on.

At Crandall & Pera Law, we fight for the rights and the futures of high school and college athletes throughout Ohio. We ensure that your loved ones are protected, and advocate aggressively on their behalf in courtrooms and in boardrooms. If your child sustained a brain or spinal cord injury, broken bones, permanent disfigurement or another trauma, or has developed the signs of CTE, our injury lawyers are here to help.

Your Choice For An Attorney If Your Child Was Hurt Playing College Or High School Sports

Crandall & Pera Law is a premier personal injury and medical malpractice law firm serving clients throughout Ohio and Kentucky. If you believe your loved one is suffering from CTE or another type of brain injury because of sports, we want to hear your story. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, please call 855-444-6651 or fill out our contact form.

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