Wrongful Death from Football Head Injury
The news of football players (and other sports) at the high school, college and pro level dying from brain injuries have come into the spotlight more and more recently. These football head injury deaths range from instantaneous, secondary after previous head trauma and even months or years after playing from a posthumously diagnosis of CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy). The latter of which, death is usually caused by psychiatric issues that developed due to CTE.
The NCAA has just settled a case, which gave $1.2 Million dollars to the parents of a Frostburg State University football player, Derek Sheely. Sheely died from a head injury he suffered during a practice in 2011. His parents said he was a victim of “second-impact syndrome”, a brain injury that occurs before a previous concussion heals. The settlement is the first payment by NCAA to individual plaintiffs in a brain-injury case. Also, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, The NCAA has proposed paying $70 million for concussion testing and diagnosis. This is for current and former college athletes to settle many, concussion-related class action suits.
According to Sheely’s parents’ lawyer, Kenneth McClain, “This is a landmark settlement not just because it is the first brain-injury case that the NCAA has agreed to pay a significant amount of money to resolve, but also because the stakeholders of football are now on notice that they have an obligation to protect the health and safety of the athletes.”
Wrongful Death and Neurodegenerative Disorders (CTE)
In April, appellate court finally affirmed the ruling in a case brought forth by 5,000 former NFL players in 2013. The ruling said the NFL will provide retirees up to $5 million each. This is to compensate those who developed neurological diseases linked to repeated head trauma. In all, this billion dollar settlement has its flaws but is still a step in the right direction.
What flaws am I talking about? It does not award any players who will be diagnosed with CTE, specifically. Why? Because the court said while the NFL has acknowledged that there is a link between football and CTE, they just conceded something they already knew. The court didn’t think that it was big enough to keep the settlement from happening. They just wanted the players to be paid. Some notable players out of over 87 who were found to have had CTE include Frank Gifford (84), Tyler Sash (27) and Mike Webster (50). Webster was discovered to have CTE in 2002 after an autopsy performed by Dr. Bennett Omalu. Dr. Omalu’s resulting report linked CTE to Football and was portrayed in the recent film “Concussion”.
Whether you know someone who might have suffered a wrongful death due to brain injuries sustained while playing sports or someone who has a neurodegenerative or other psychological issues that might be related to head trauma call us at 813-915-1110 to discuss the possible case and the options.