Written on behalf of Brian S. Kabateck
February 16, 2018
After nearly two decades, the controversial XFL football league is making a comeback, just as concerns mount about the safety of young athletes involved in contact sports. Last month, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL, a football league that lasted one season in its attempt to take down the NFL. The league’s lone season came in 2001, and over the last seventeen years one thing has become plainly clear about professional, amateur and even youth football – playing the game almost guarantees some form of brain injury.
Traumatic brain injuries can come in a variety of ways, from car crashes on a freeway to falling down a flight of stairs. However, one way to guarantee these types of injuries is for athletes to put on helmets and fly around the football field at full speed attempting to tackle and hurt one another. Over the last decade and a half the medical community and general public has also learned about CTE and its effects on professional athletes.
CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that can be found in people who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Hundreds of retired, and even some current, NFL players have come forward to be tested and shown that they do indeed have this terrible disease. CTE can have a tremendous impact upon someone’s impulse control as well as result in heightened aggression, depression and paranoia. The other sport to see some serious and often tragic cases of CTE is professional wrestling. Recently, three former wrestlers, including fan favorites “Mr. Fuji” and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka were diagnosed with the malady as they joined more than 60 wrestlers who sued the WWE alleging they suffered the injuries from their time wrestling. Thousands of retired NFL players sued the NFL and are still battling over a billion-dollar settlement to help them pay for the medical treatment they need to help cope with the brain injuries they’ve suffered.
For consumers and workers alike, proper safety measures must be put in place in order to prevent any injury to the brain. For consumers, this means having proper helmets while riding bicycles and effective seatbelts while driving. For workers, this can mean proper training, safety precautions and not being put in harm’s way by employers. For Mr. McMahon, who is already being sued by past employees for the harm they’ve suffered, to be entering into an industry where future brain trauma is virtually guaranteed, there are a number of warning signs. Will athletes in his new XFL be offered proper protections while playing? Will the need to gain ratings lead to the encouragement of more violent play on the field? Given that wrestlers are known for jumping off of structures several stories high in order to wow an arena, it is not impossible to imagine a football league where similar violent behavior is rewarded.
Professional athletes and all California employees are worthy of proper workplace protections in order to prevent injuries to the brain, spinal cord and other vital body parts. State and federal legislatures should be wary and keep a keen eye on the progress of this league and how it will treat its players.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe and debilitating loss that occurs when the brain is strike or jolted from outside forces. Greater than 30% of all injury and related deaths car accidents result in TBI. Millions of dollars are required to care for these victims over their lifetime.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to negligence or wrongdoing, you must learn more about your rights. Give one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at Kabateck LLP a call today to learn more about personal injury claims that involve TBI and to explore your options.