New film highlights the dangers of sports-related concussions

On behalf of: admin | Posted in: Wrongful Death on: Friday, December 11, 2015

Head injuries and concussions are a lot more common among young Canadian athletes than you might think. In fact, you might say that the problem is pandemic. Even worse, these young athletes often face pressure from their peers and coaches to "power through" the pain and keep playing in spite of a serious injury. This can make the concussion worse and complicate the health situation of the injured athlete.

A recent movie starring Will Smith, called "Concussion," is an excellent portrayal of the challenges faced by modern athletes. Smith plays a Nigerian brain doctor who finds out that many football players are suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. After the discovery, the physician fights to bring more awareness to this frightening fact and stands up against some of the biggest pro sports groups on the planet.

In the story, Dr. Omalu’s discovery explains why Mike Webster, a football star from the Steelers, used to sleep in bus stations, spent all his money before retirement, couldn’t remember that he had ever had any money in the first place and zapped himself with tasers to get ready for bed at night. It also explains why the highly intelligent linebacker, Fred McNiell, who started law school in his last year with the National Football League, began losing his memory when he was only in his early 40s and was fired from many different jobs.

The film "Concussion" is important because it will bring more awareness to the problem of concussions in young and older athletes. However, it should not be a source of hysteria. If concussions are properly managed, monitored and injured athletes in Canada are given appropriate rest and medical treatment, serious damage like that described above can be avoided. That said, in cases where young athletes are forced to push through the pain, negligently exposed to unnecessary dangers or given bad treatment by negligent doctors, the situation could get serious. It could also give rise to a viable personal injury claim against the negligent parties involved.

Source: The Vancouver Sun, "Head Shots: Concussion policy needed to protect kids who play sports — and those who are afraid to," Vicki Hall, Nov. 26, 2015

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