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Concussions only 1 cause of brain injury

Concussions and their potential long-term effects have been a topic of discussion in recent months in New York and all across the country. While new headlines may report on the brain injury of a professional football player, the issue reaches into small towns in addition to large cities. Studies continue to show that trauma to the brain due to sports-related injuries occur at every level, from the National Football League down to local youth sports programs.

A brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, was first diagnosed in 2002, after a professional football player saw a major decrease in cognitive function after he retired. According to reports, this player never had a concussion during his playing years in the NFL. Research showed that repeated trauma to the head and brain can lead to CTE, even if a concussion is never diagnosed.

Unfortunately, the condition can't be diagnosed while a patient is living. Because of the serious nature of the disease, many safety advocates believe that youth football programs should not include tackling or other actions that could result in blows to the head. Even with protective headgear, experts argue that the brain is not adequately shielded from concussions. While football is the most-discussed sport, others like wrestling, soccer or rugby put children at risk while their brains are still growing.

Youth sports leagues should have thorough safety guidelines in place that address how to play and how to wear and use safety equipment. All coaches and officials should be trained on safety procedures. If an injury occurred and appropriate safety measures were either not in place or were not properly executed, a New York personal injury attorney can be of assistance to the families involved. A brain injury can permanently alter every aspect of a person's life -- the ability to care for one's self, to communicate, to learn, to hold a job or to have relationships. An award from a lawsuit can help families cover the costs associated with a long-term brain trauma.

Source: spokesman.com, "Consciousness of concussions is growing, but issue of sports-related brain injury may be far larger", Rachel Alexander, March 30, 2018

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