As have several professional athletes before him, former New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Kenny Stabler’s arranged to donate his brain and spinal cord after his death to the study of degenerative brain disease in athletes. His family also asked that donations in the Snake’s name be made to the XOXO Stabler Foundation which supports research of sports-related head trauma.
Brain injuries from sports do not affect only those athletes who are highly paid for their talents. In 2011, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law designed to educate, prevent and protect younger athletes who play in the states’ amateur and school leagues. The law is also intended to educate the families of these athletes and the medical professionals who treat them.
Education is important to prevent medical professionals from failing to diagnose, misdiagnose or fail to effectively treat brain injuries resulting from concussions. Such errors, as the Louisiana Youth Concussion Act points out, can lead to further injury to the brain, and even death if a player is misdiagnosed or returns to play too soon.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that concussions related to sports and recreation account for close to 4 million concussions each year, concussions and other brain injuries related to sports are only one of the ways that a brain injury can happen. Auto accidents, falls, construction accidents, and accidental and intentional blows to the head can also cause serious and even deadly head injuries. Given these numbers, it is incumbent upon medical professionals to be aware of the signs, symptoms and treatment of concussions.
If you believe that you have suffered a concussion or brain injury that has led to limitations on work, play or even personal relationships, and that the condition could have been worsened by the failure to properly diagnose or treat it by medical professionals, contact an attorney who is familiar with brain injury cases to help determine if you may be eligible for compensation.