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NFL TBI Settlement Presages Likely Increase in TBI Claims

April 15, 2022

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<p style="text-align: justify;">In 2019, the National Football League reached a $1 billion settlement concerning <a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/brain-injury.pdf">brain injury</a> claims, specifically with respect to allegations concerning chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”). However, the National Football League is not the only entity who has dealt with traumatic brain injury litigation recently. For instance, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is currently a named defendant in a federal suit claiming that a NJ man committed suicide in 2020 because of CTE that developed while training to be an Olympic bobsledder due to persistent contact with the head.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Other cases have arisen where an athlete’s suicide was claimed to be linked to CTE. Namely, the case that was credited with raising public attention to the dangers of CTE concerned the claim raised by the family of the former linebacker Junior Seau, in which a confidential settlement was reached in 2018. CTE is believed to oftentimes lead to severe depression and is normally diagnosed by symptoms and history. Many of the current claims alleges that a claimant’s suicide was the result of CTE caused by specific athletic activity.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Currently, there is broad debate between the defense and plaintiff’s bar as to whether CTE is caused by brain trauma. Defense lawyers have argued that such a theory is unreliable, and in any event, athletes assume the risk when they agree to participate in sports training. The plaintiff’s bar argues that there is sufficient scientific evidence to provide causation. Regardless, we should prepare to see even more litigation surrounding traumatic brain injuries in the competitive sports realm soon.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Thanks to Gina Rodrigues for her contribution to this article.  Should you wish to discuss, please feel free to contact <a href="mailto:mcare@wcmlaw.com">Matthew Care</a>.</p>

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