Former football players have recently filed numerous lawsuits against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as well as colleges and universities across the country. The suits allege that the organizations failed to administer proper medical care after concussions received during game play.
The latest in the lawsuit wave was filed on behalf of Gary Gray, a former football player at the University of Notre Dame. Gray states he suffered repetitive head trauma in the form of concussions while playing at the university, but they refused to supply appropriate medical treatment. Instead, Gray claims that he would “shake it off” and be put back into play.
The suit further alleges that both Notre Dame and the NCAA actively concealed important information about the potentially debilitating long-term impact concussions and traumatic brain injuries can cause in order to “protect the business of college football.”
Gray is now intimately familiar with some of these effects. The former football player now suffers from mood swings, anxiety, depression, and other conditions.
But the dangers of concussions and head trauma from football have been shown to extend even further. When an autopsy was performed on Mike Webster, former team member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, following his death in 2002, his brain was shown to have sustained damage similar to that found in professional boxers who had suffered from too many hard hits. Family members stated that during the last decade or so of his life, Webster suffered from memory loss, pain, and depression. He eventually became violent and unpredictable. Webster had once zapped himself to sleep with a taser; another incident involved him pulling out his own teeth and then reattaching them with Superglue.
Despite the fact that other connections have been made between football-related concussions and dementia, organizations at both the collegiate and professional level have refused to acknowledge their validity. In fact, the National Football League demanded retractions of such findings.
More lawsuits continue to be filed on behalf of former college football players from all around the country. Gary Gray’s suit alone was also filed on behalf of players from institutions that include UCLA, Texas A&M, Maryland, South Carolina, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and our own Alabama. Players are seeking damages for their injuries and the subsequent conditions they have experienced from them.
Sadly, dementia isn’t caused only by traumatic head injuries. One in three seniors passes away with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in our home state of Alabama. Although there is currently no cure, there are certain medications and treatments that show promise in slowing the progression of the disease.