Brain Injuries and CTE in Kids

Brain injuries, including concussions and other forms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Carlsbad, do not discriminate based on a person’s age. In other words, a person of any age can sustain a TBI while playing contact sports, in a motor vehicle crash, during a slip and fall, or in a recreational activity. When it comes to concussions and sports, there has been a significant increase in research in recent years concerning the relationship between athletes’ concussions and the later development of the degenerative brain condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This condition, CTE, has largely been found in older, former professional athletes posthumously. Research has suggested that multiple concussions early in life might increase the risk of CTE later on, but few studies have addressed the possibility or prevalence of CTE in much younger athletes. 

Recently, however, a new report in The New York Times suggests that CTE is impacting athletes at much younger ages than previously assumed. The article says that kids who started playing football as young as 6 years old have died of CTE when they were only in their teens and early 20s. 

What is CTE?

CTE, according to the Mayo Clinic, is quite simply “a brain disorder likely caused by repeated head injuries.” As the Mayo Clinic explains, CTE “causes the death of nerve cells in the brain, known as degeneration,” and it “gets worse over time.” 

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed definitively after a person dies, or posthumously. 

Researchers Identify CTE in Athletes Under the Age of 30

Researchers at Boston University recently studied the brains of more than 150 young former athletes who played contact sports, all of whom died under the age of 30. The brains included those of both men and women. Many took their own lives, much as other older, former professional athletes have done who have been posthumously diagnosed with CTE. 

In total, the researchers examined the brains of 152 young people, and they found that more than 40% had CTE. Of those 152 young people, 63 of them had died with CTE. And many of them — 48 of the 63, or more than 76% — had played youth football. Some of them began playing when they were only in kindergarten, while others began playing contact sports at a slightly later age. Most of these young athletes, according to The New York Times report, never played sports beyond the high school or college level. They experienced CTE symptoms of “impulsivity, moodiness, and memory loss” during their lives, and many had more pronounced symptoms and pervasive suicidal thoughts. The new research underscores just how dangerous sports-related concussions are and how they can have an effect much earlier than previously thought. 

Contact a Carlsbad Brain Injury Attorney Today

Concussions and other TBIs are extremely serious injuries, and they are preventable in sports. If you or your child sustained a concussion while playing sports and believe that the injury could have been prevented, it may be possible to file a claim. To be sure, there are many circumstances in which coaches, team physicians, sports facilities, and other parties can be liable for concussions and more serious TBIs that affect athletes of all ages. One of the experienced Carlsbad brain injury attorneys at our firm can speak with you today to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can help.


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