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Headed for an Epidemic: Traumatic Brain Injuries as Dangerous as Asbestos

Headed for an Epidemic: Traumatic Brain Injuries as Dangerous as Asbestos

When we turn on a football game, we expect to see hard-hitting tackles. What we don't immediately consider is the effect those tackles have on the human brain. Concussion has become a Sunday afternoon buzzword when watching NFL games, but it is not just professional athletes who are dealing with the effects of traumatic brain injures. Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are a dangerous part of our every day lives.

Concussions among high school athletes in particular are on the rise. According to the National Institutes of Health an estimated 300, 000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 24 years.

With the NFL's concussion litigation settlement and the NCAA staring down the barrel of concussion lawsuits by former players, insurance companies are beginning to take traumatic brain injuries more seriously. The risk that concussions might impair brain function later in life is being looked at as the next asbestos - A deadly epidemic that was widely overlooked or ignored for years, until it resulted in a wave of disease, deaths and thousands of lawsuits.

Michael McHugh, area senior executive vice president at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Itasca, Ill. spoke about athlete concussions at a recent insurance seminar. "I think concussion is going to be what asbestos was 30 years ago in our world," he said.

The risk of concussion "can come from any sport a child plays," Mr. McHugh said.

Comparing traumatic brain injuries in athletes to the deadly epidemic of asbestos exposure is no small comparison. From 1999 to 2010, 29,639 people in the United States died of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

Traumatic brain injures are far more serious. In 2010 alone, the Centers for Disease Control notes that traumatic brain injury contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.

Sports wasn't the only area of concern when it came to traumatic brain injures. Falls were the leading cause of death for persons 65 years or older. Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause for children and young adults ages 5-24 years.

Our brains are fragile and need to be protected. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a fall, crash or while playing sports, you should do everything you can to make sure your loved one is protected. Find out how we can help you after you have suffered this dangerous and debilitating brain injury.

Source: TBI Get The Facts: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html

Source: Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140075/

Source: Athlete concussions could replace asbestos as key issue for high school insurers | Business Insurance

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