St. Catharines Disability Lawyers

 
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St Catharines Disability Cases in the News

St Catharines Soccer Players at risk of disabling Brain Injury from Headers
Medical experts have for some time been aware of the link between contact sports, acquired brain injury and degenerative disorders. In the past, hockey, football and boxing have been the focus of studies and media reports on concussion and degenerative disorders that result from multiple blows to the head.
However, more recently, scientists have been studying the effects of head trauma for soccer players (i.e. footballers) and believe there is a potential link between soccer and neurodegenerative brain disorders, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
A Feb 15 CBC report titled “Soccer players’ brains show damage ‘probably related’ to frequent heading, neurologists say”, referenced a recent British neurological study which included post-mortems on six retired soccer players with dementia. The British study set out to determine whether dementia is more common among footballers than in the general population. The researchers discovered that all six of these players showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease and four also showed damage typical of CTE. The authors of the study concluded that “this finding is probably related to their past prolonged exposure to repetitive head impacts from head-to-player collisions and heading the ball thousands of times throughout their careers”. However, they acknowledge that more studies are required to determine if there is a cause-and-effect relationship.
CTE is a form of brain degeneration that’s generally associated with repeated head trauma. Concussions do not have to be severe to potentially result in CTE; repeated mild concussions are also dangerous. CTE can result in dementia, and the most common symptoms include: cognitive impairments, lack of impulse control, depression, short-term memory problems, emotional instability, irritability and difficulty executing tasks. A person suffering from CTE may also experience difficulty with speech and language, impairments, and vision and focusing problems.
A study closer to home, carried out at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found a higher incidence of concussions for female soccer players than males. One of the study’s authors noted that heading the ball won’t necessarily cause an obvious concussion with symptoms; however, an accumulation of impacts over time can result in permanent injury, including cognitive difficulties, memory problems and other symptoms (in “Concussions in soccer: Neuroscientists raise red flag over heading hazards”, CBC News, Jun 15, 2014).
In the United States, the NFL recently reached a settlement for $1 billion in connection with a class-action lawsuit involving thousands of retired players who were diagnosed with brain injuries after having suffered concussions. Similarly, more than 100 former hockey players with post-concussion symptoms have filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Hockey League, alleging that the NHL knew, or should have known, about the connection between repetitive concussions and long-term brain damage, but they failed to protect their players.
The implications of the many studies that reveal the danger of repeated concussion and brain injury is that professional and amateur organizations in St. Catharines, including sports leagues and schools, should be taking precautions to prevent the risk of injury. One of the most basic steps is for coaches and teachers to remove an athlete from play if a concussion is suspected.
In June 2016, Ontario passed ‘Rowan’s Law’, the objective of which is to prevent concussions among youth and children. The law was named after Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old girl who tragically died after suffering three concussions in high-school rugby games, within a one-week period. Rowan’s death was attributed to “second impact syndrome’ which results from multiple concussions. Rowan’s Law involves 49 recommendations that stemmed from the inquest into Rowan’s death, and includes (but is not limited to) directives such as: increasing concussion education and awareness among coaches, athletes, parents and teachers; better tools to allow coaches/trainers to identify concussions; and putting concussion policies in place in Ontario school boards and sports associations.
At one time, concussions were perceived as very minor injuries with temporary effects. We now know that even ‘mild’ concussions can result in disabling and permanent symptoms that have a devastating effect on the life of a sufferer.
If you or a loved one in the St. Catharines area suffered a brain injury or concussion in an accident caused by a negligent party, call Kotak Personal Injury Law to find out about your legal right to compensation for any losses you sustained as a result of your injury.
Sources:
www.cbc.ca/news/health/soccer-cte-1.3983660
www.cbc.ca/news/health/cte-football-young-1.3388315
www.cbc.ca/news/health/concussions-in-soccer-neuroscientists-raise-red-flag-over-heading-hazards-1.2675385
www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-passes-concussion-bill-to-protect-young-athletes/article30347857/
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