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Summer Sports and Traumatic Brain Injury

Even as the World Cup delights soccer fans around the globe, the issue of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in sports has reached the highest levels of power and politics in our country. On May 29, 2014, President Obama hosted top sports executives, medical researchers, and athletes to the White House for the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit. The Summit sought to bring national attention to the seriousness of TBI in sports of all levels. The event also secured pledges of financial support for medical research into TBI and concussions, research into how to make sports safer, and a public awareness campaign so that coaches, parents and athletes know the warning signs of head trauma as well as the short and long-term effects of concussions.

One of the athletes invited to the White House was Tori Belluci who had sustained five concussions during her years of playing soccer for middle school and high school teams. As your Denver personal injury attorney knows, recent studies have shown that serious and permanent injuries do not only occur at the professional level in sports. Head trauma can happen on the little league field, the pee-wee football field, or on a youth soccer field. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the U.S. each year.

In the last several years, sports-related concussions have been receiving more attention, particularly since former NFL players have come forward with medical evidence linking their TBI to the repeated head trauma and concussions they received during their careers. Mounting evidence that repeated concussions and/or returning to play before a concussion is fully healed can cause permanent brain damage led all 50 states to enact laws requiring players with concussions to be evaluated and given permission by a medical professional before returning to their sport. Additionally, your Denver personal injury attorney Jordan Levine notes that some sports have changed certain rules in their games in an effort to make them less violent and therefore less likely to result in injuries causing head trauma.

One of the best ways to promote safety in sports is to be familiar with the proper equipment and terrain before biking, horseback riding, waterskiing, swimming or rock climbing. Wear a helmet when required, and make sure that it is properly fitted and maintained. Always follow the safety rules for each sport. When a player/athlete sustains an injury to the head, seek medical attention even if the injury is mild. Concussions are often misunderstood injuries; they can occur without the injured person losing consciousness. As discussed above, if an athlete has a concussion, they must be cleared in order to return to the sport or activity in which they were engaged prior to the injury. Concussions can have serious and long-term health effects, and can even change the way the brain normally functions. If an athlete is re-injured before a concussion is fully healed, the health effects can be even more severe. 

We all want to be active and healthy. Sports and recreation are excellent ways to promote these goals. However, new safety rules, proper protective equipment, and better attention paid to head trauma must be an integral part of any sports and recreation program. If you have suffered a sports injury and would like more information about possible legal remedies, contact your Denver personal injury attorney Jordan Levine of Levine Law.

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