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Due to the increase of sports-related brain injuries among those age 19 and younger, health officials are now pushing for more to be done to prevent these types of injuries from happening in the first place.
Overall, the number of deaths due to brain trauma has decreased. However, the number of underage athletes being seen in emergency rooms due to athletic injuries, including brain injuries, has greatly increased. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries increased 60 percent between 2001 and 2009 among those under the age of 19. This increase also comes at a time when more attention is being given to the long-term effects of head injuries. Due to the suicides among former professional athletes and the lawsuits against the NFL, the Institute of Medicine has started looking into the long-term effects of sports concussions among school-aged athletes. To try and reverse the increasing trend, U.S. health officials want public policy initiated. The idea is these types of initiatives played a role in the 40 percent decrease in traumatic brain injuries caused from car accidents, so maybe more public policy initiatives could lead to the same decrease among sports-related brain injuries. Christopher Nowinski, a former Harvard University football player and professional wrestler, said part of the issue is the effect of brain injuries was ignored for so long that there is a huge catch up period now. He went on to say that he would not be surprised to learn more and more negative consequences as research continues on. Overall, keep in mind though that depending on what causes a brain injury, there may be others who can be held liable. For the person with the brain injury, this can result in needed compensation. An attorney with experience handling these types of cases can provide more insight. Source: Bloomberg, “Brain Trauma Surge Among Youth Athletes Raises CDC Alarm,” Samuel Adams, July 11, 2013

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