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Mike Damaso
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Sports Related Brain Trauma – Let’s Keep Talking and Address the Issue

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New NHL Concussion Suit Filed Before Stanley Cup Finals

We just wrapped up another Stanley Cup Finals.  And, while it was a tough loss for the Tampa Bay Lightning and a sincere congratulations should go out to the Chicago Blackhawks, the very real concern of sports related brain trauma is ever present.  The public awareness stirred up by the conversation is most important to address this issue.

On the eve of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks, a former player has filed a lawsuit against the National Hockey League (NHL) for failing to warn him of the significant risk of brain damage.

Ex-Blackhawk player and former coach of Tampa Bay, Steve Ludzik, filed the suit on Monday, June 1st in Chicago, Illinois. According to the suit, during his 10 year career, Ludzik claims he was “allowed and encouraged after suffering concussions to return to play in the same game and/or practice.” He now has Parkinson’s disease and claims it is a result of repeated concussions and continuing play in the NHL.

This is not the first lawsuit to be brought against the NHL, or a professional sports league. Currently the NHL is facing a class-action lawsuit with several former players claiming a failure to educate and inform them about the dangers of concussions and other brain-trauma injuries. Just this past April, a federal judge approved the settlement in the class-action against the NFL brought by more than 5,000 ex-NFL players. That settlement agrees to provide up to $5 million per player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma.

Brain injuries during organized sports are becoming increasingly common due to players becoming faster and stronger and a failure of equipment and rules curbing hits to the head. The long-term effects from these brain injuries can be: loss of memory, learning deficiencies, emotional mood changes, and inability to complete normal daily tasks. For those with children in organized sports, it is important to (1) recognize the signs of a concussion and (2) immediately seek medical attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HEADS UP initiative has great resources for parents and coaches on recognizing, responding to, and minimizing the risk of concussions or other brain trauma during organized sports.

The attorneys at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. have experiencing handling sports related brain trauma and concussion injury cases. We are aware of the risk and recurring problem of continued play after failing to identify and address concussions in players.   But, as long as coaches, administrators, educators, players and family members keep discussing the issues, we will find a solutions to the problem without giving up our love for competitive sports.