Football, America’s most popular sport for more than 30 years, is always in the news. In recent years, much of the news coverage has related to the issue of traumatic brain injury (TBI). In 2015, the National Football League (NFL) entered into a settlement with more than 5,000 retired players to resolve a class action concussion lawsuit. That settlement will ultimately cost the NFL $900 million or more. Former players with certain severe brain injuries could be awarded up to $5 million each. These settlements are not the last word on football-related TBI, though. In April 2016, a new study asserted that more than 40 percent of retired NFL players have signs of TBI.
The publicity surrounding the NFL is the most prominent source of heightened awareness in the general population concerning TBI, but TBIs are not confined to the NFL. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010 there were approximately 2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths associated with TBIs, either alone or in combination with other injuries. Over the past decade, according to the CDC, TBI-related emergency room visits increased by more than 70 percent.
The overwhelming majority of TBIs are considered mild and require little or no medical treatment. Regardless, the increased incidence and public awareness of TBIs has raised interest in the legal field. If you have any doubt about this point, try Googling brain injury lawyer or brain injury claim. The results are no surprise considering that, according towww.brainandspinalcord.org, a Newsome Melton LLP website, “[d]amages claimed for typical brain injury case[s] are almost always over $100,000 and claims in the millions are not uncommon.”