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Articles Tagged with concussions

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.

football-1291426_1920.jpgLast week, in a surprising but welcome move, Naperville’s School District 203 announced that beginning next year, the middle school tackle football program will be replaced with flag football. Naperville’s School District 204 made a similar decision earlier in April. The announcements came after several seasons of decreasing participation in the sport and growing parental concern about their children’s safety, particularly with regard to concussions.

The personal injury lawyers at The Collins Law Firm applaud this decision. For a while now, we have been following the discussions surrounding football and the emerging studies on the long-term health effects of sustaining concussions, and we feel that it is time to take action to protect children.

Moved by a similar concern for children’s safety, Illinois state representative Carol Sente proposed the Dave Duerson Act in January of this year. Under her bill, children under 12 would be barred from playing tackle football. The bill is named for former Bears standout, Dave Duerson, who was diagnosed before his death with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head trauma.

football-1647347_1920.jpgYour child plays a sport with a high incidence of concussions–like football, soccer or hockey–and he or she has had a concussion in that sport. Should you be worried? Maybe, according to a recent study by physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.

The study found that youth patients with mild to moderate brain injuries are two times more likely to develop attention problems; patients with severe injuries are five times more likely to develop ADHD. However, there is a sliver of good news. The researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have also discovered that the family environment plays a role in whether and how these problems develop. More specifically:

  • The home environment and good parenting can make a difference in recovery. Children in supportive environments show fewer effects than children from chaotic or disadvantaged homes.
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