Traumatic Brain Injury and Sports

By Lynn Harris on August 14, 2019

Image of a male doctor looking at x-ray resultsWhen people suffer a blow to the head, they are at risk of developing a traumatic brain injury. The greater the impact, the more likely it is that a serious brain injury will occur. Also referred to as TBI, traumatic brain injuries can affect athletes.

In this blog post, attorney Lynn Harris and the team at Jones Waldo in Provo, UT, take a closer look traumatic brain injury and sports. We discuss the sports that can increase your chances of acquiring a brain, the different types of brain injury, and how a personal injury lawyer can determine liability in your traumatic brain injury case.

Sports that Can Increase the Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the following sports contributed to thousands of head injuries that were treated in U.S. emergency rooms:

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Water sports (swimming, water polo, scuba diving, diving)
  • Soccer
  • Winter sports (skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and sledding)

Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries

The following types of brain injuries can occur after an athlete suffers a hit to the head.

Concussions

A concussion is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries. It can be caused by a severe blow to the head, causing the brain to shake within the skull.

Brain Contusions

This type of injury is a bruise on the brain. Contusions are often the result of a concussion. Contusions can result in bleeding and may require surgery to stop the bleeding.

Coup-Contrecoup Brain Injury

Considered to be among the most severe traumatic brain injuries, a coup-countercoup injury occurs when the impact of the blow is so powerful that the brain strikes the skull from the front and the back.

Diffuse Axonal Injury

Also known as DAI, a diffuse axonal injury is similar to a concussion since it is a result of the brain moving within the skull. The key difference is that DAI is far more severe. The brain moves so violently within the skull that the axons can shear or tear. The axons are a part of the nerve cells required to send and receive synapses within the brain.

Second Impact Syndrome

Second Impact Syndrome refers to a person suffering a second brain injury, further damaging the previously injured part of the brain.

Football and Traumatic Brain Injuries

While injuries can occur when playing any sport, some sports are more intense than others. Football involves player-to-player contact, which can cause blows to the head. While repeated blows to the head cause certain types of injuries, they are not the only reason why football players can incur traumatic brain injuries:

Improper Training

Coaches and leagues should establish the right safety protocols to prevent injuries. When the league and coaches do not provide proper safety practices, players are more likely to incur injuries.

Improper Headgear and Helmets

In football, the use of a helmet and proper headgear is critical to player safety. If an injury occurs, the safety gear needs to be examined for potential defects.

Establishing Liability Resulting from a Sports Injury

Traumatic brain injuries have lifelong effects on an individual. The biggest challenge in determining liability is establishing negligence. From the coach to the league to equipment manufacturers, a careful review needs to be conducted to decide who is liable for damages.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Sports - What Are Your Legal Rights and Options?

In order to learn about the rights and the options you have if you have suffered from any traumatic brain injury due to someone’s negligence while playing sports, you have the best resource in Attorney Lynn C. Harris in Provo. A personal injury lawyer with three decades of experience in Utah, Mr. Harris leads the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Practice Group at Jones Waldo. Operating on a contingent fee basis, he offers a free initial consultation and takes payment only on the premise that there is a settlement or jury award for the client.

To get in touch with our Provo practice, call us at (801) 375-9801 or (801) 521-3200 or contact us online.

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