Allowing young children to play contact football is basically a form of child abuse, according to Dr. Bennet Omalu.
The Nigerian-born forensic psychologist, who was among the first professionals to link playing football with brain injuries, made the comments in advance of a speech at the University of Nevada in Reno. Dr. Omalu observed that although children cannot smoke, drive, drink, or engage in other dangerous activities because of the risk involved in such behavior, they are permitted to play a sport that is linked to serious head injuries. “If that is not child abuse, I don’t know what is,” he added. While Dr. Omalu acknowledged that football at both the professional and amateur level is safer than it was a few years ago, the sport will never be “safe” in the ordinary sense of the word.
Even one concussion as a child dramatically elevates the risk of mental problems later in life, he remarked.
Fact Issues in TBI Cases
Although 80 percent of the 1.7 million Americans who sustain traumatic brain injuries each year receive treatment in hospital emergency rooms, many of them do not get the care they need, because these injuries are still misunderstood. TBIs are frequently misdiagnosed as early-onset dementia or shock from the event, because the symptoms are similar in many cases. The symptoms also vary by individual, because some patients lose consciousness altogether while others are awake but in a dream-like state.
Although sports-related TBIs receive considerable media attention, they make up only a fraction of cases. Some of the more common causes include:
- Motor Vehicle Crashes: Air bags and seat belts were designed to prevent trauma injuries and not necessarily brain injuries, so whiplash and other serious conditions are still quite common in car crashes. Furthermore, cell phones and other unsecured items fly through the air after the vehicle collision, and these objects basically become high-speed projectiles.
- Assaults: Blunt force or piercing force both cause TBIs, and since many victims have fragile skulls, seemingly minor impacts sometimes cause serious injuries.
- Sudden Loud Noises: Scientists theorize that gunshots, explosive blasts, and other unexpected loud noises cause shock waves that permanently disrupt brain functions.
Although the symptoms can be controlled through aggressive medical treatment and physical therapy, TBIs are permanent. Therefore, victims are normally entitled to significant compensation for their economic damages, such as lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of consortium (companionship). Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
Legal Issues in TBI Cases
Some victims believe that if they are partially at fault in any way that they give up the right to sue for damages, but that is simply not true. For example, in Nevada, seat belt non-use is inadmissible in civil court to reduce the victim’s damages, even if those injuries involve a TBI.
Furthermore, most sports leagues require participants or their parents to sign liability waivers, but these assumption of the risk waivers do not necessarily hold up in court. First, many of these documents are void because they are against public policy. Second, they only apply to the assumption of a foreseeable risk.
Contact an Aggressive Attorney
For prompt assistance with a negligence claim, contact an experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney from Naqvi Injury Law today, because you have a limited amount of time to act.