The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Passen & Powell were extremely heartened to see the news last Tuesday of the NFL’s generous donation to brain injury research. The NFL recently announced a $1 million donation to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine. Encephalopathy, which includes traumatic brain injury (TBI), can occur after repetitive blows to the head and concussion, as frequently occurs in sports, and in football players in particular. The premier Chicago brain injury lawyers at Passen & Powell have considerable experience handling cases involving severe and permanent brain injury, including encephalomalacia.
While this donation is laudable, it does not go nearly far enough. Despite public pressure, the NFL has still refused to mandate that its players wear concussion-grade helmets, or even double-sided mouthguards. These mouthguards, which cost only around $8 each, are the one of the single best methods of preventing concussion and thus encephalopathy caused by repeated concussion.
While the players in the NFL are professionals and are free to choose whether to purchase and wear these items themselves or take the risk of injury, the fact remains that NFL requirements trickle down to college programs, high school programs, and even pee-wee leagues. The participants in these programs are not professionals, and at lower levels often will not have the information and ability to make the safe choice if the NFL does not lead the way.
We at Passen & Powell encourage the NFL to follow up its generous donation by setting a positive example on brain injury safety — especially since children, who look up to professional football players, are most at risk of sustaining severe and permanent TBI. In the meantime, children who suffer permanent brain injury due to the failure of their schools simple precautions, either inside our out of the athletics context, may have a cause of action.
For instance, Stephen M. Passen of Passen & Powell received a $19 million jury verdict, one of the Top 100 Jury Verdicts in the Nation, on behalf of a 9-year-old boy who sustained a catastrophic traumatic brain injury when a TV fell onto his head in an unsupervised private school classroom. See Our Results for other significant verdicts or settlements involving brain damage. If your child has suffered such an injury, a top-rated brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell can help you to determine whether to file a claim.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury attorney at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.