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Articles Posted in Brain Injury

football-helmet-1401350_1920-300x197The First District Appellate Court of Illinois held in Nakamura v. BRG Sports, LLC that a former NFL player’s personal injury suit against his helmet manufacturer stemming from a severe concussion the player suffered was allowed to proceed as there was an issue of fact as to when the player discovered his injury.  The trial court initially dismissed the player’s action as being time barred by Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions.

In August of 2013, Haruki Nakamura was taken to the hospital after suffering a severe concussion during a preseason football game while playing for the Carolina Panthers.  Nakamura’s condition worsened following the concussion as he continued to suffer from extreme headaches, impaired cognition, and depression.  Nakamura was eventually released by the Panthers and he was forced to retire from football.  After his retirement, Nakamura filed a disability insurance claim in November of 2013 claiming that he was suffering from several post-concussive symptoms and that he was permanently disabled.  During the course of litigation involving his disability claim, Nakamura was diagnosed as having chronic post-concussion syndrome.  Nakamura then commenced a separate personal injury action in October of 2017 against the helmet manufacturer, Riddell, for negligence and strict product liability alleging that the helmet he was wearing at the time of the concussion was defective and failed to protect him from the head trauma that resulted in latent neurodegenerative disorder.

Under Illinois’ discovery rule, the statutory limitations period starts to run when a person knows or reasonably should know of his injury and also knows or reasonably should know that it was wrongfully caused.  The trial court dismissed the personal injury action finding that Nakamura’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations because Nakamura knew of his injury at least two years prior to commencing suit.  As evidence of Nakamura’s knowledge of his injury, Riddell directed the trial court to the disability claim litigation commenced in November of 2013 wherein Nakamura alleged he suffered a concussion and was permanently disabled in 2013.

basketball-1449465_1920-2-214x300As March comes to a close, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament is in full swing. Brackets are about to be busted, and Cinderella stories are about to be written. College basketball is one of America’s most popular sports, and basketball is the country’s most popular youth sport, played by one million children —450,000 girls and 550,000 boys — each academic year.

With soaring popularity in youth basketball, injuries are on the rise. Basketball is not typically associated with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, but surprisingly those injuries are more common in basketball than many other sports.

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, basketball accounted for more than 9 percent of concussions among athletes aged 8-19 who participated in youth sports, placing it in second place just behind football at 22%. Soccer ranked third, at 7.7 percent, followed by hockey and baseball, at just under 4 percent each.

brain-1845962_1920-300x227A traumatic brain injury or TBI can be caused by a blow or bump to the head. We are familiar with concussions from watching football, but traumatic brain injuries can also be caused by falls, car accidents, or other violence. Similarly, many combat veterans have experienced traumatic brain injury from explosive blasts.

Every 23 seconds, on average, someone in the United States suffers a traumatic brain injury. Using 2013 data, the most comprehensive data available, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported approximately 2.5 million people were taken to the emergency room with a traumatic brain injury and 282,000 people were hospitalized with TBIs. Further, the CDC estimates that 30% of all injury-related deaths are the result of traumatic brain injury.

The difficulty with a traumatic brain injury is that it is an invisible injury. Often, TBI signs do not show up on traditional CT scanning or MRI. It is common for those suffering from a TBI to “pass” commonly used testing like the Glasgow Coma Scale test, and to be misdiagnosed.

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