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Documentary Focuses on Sports Related Brain Trauma

For 20 years Doug Smith, a respected professor of neurosurgery at Penn State, has studied the effects of trauma on the brain. For most of these years, Smith has referred to concussions as the silent epidemic. As brain injury lawyers, we understand just how difficult it is to illustrate pathology related to concussions. Further, it is equally complex relating the existence of such pathology to a car accident or motorcycle accident.

Physicians were well aware of their consequences, but the common brain injuries became “a part of sports,” with proper treatment being ignored so athletes could continue playing in the game. The obvious injury and its effects are no longer being swept under the rug. The issue has gained national attention, as evidence builds up supporting the devastating results of concussions, particularly in America’s most popular sport, football. Many of these athletes may have suffered significant brain injury trauma during their respective careers.

More than 2,000 former NFL players have filed lawsuits against the league, which are currently pending. The recent suicide of retired noted linebacker Junior Seau has created an influx of serious concern, although currently there has been no reported correlation between his suicidal death and the brain injury trauma he had allegedly suffered.

With the subject of brain trauma and traumatic brain injuries drawing more national attention, a new documentary on head injuries and possible ways to treat them has arisen. Last Thursday evening, May 31st, a private screening of the film took place at Penn State. The film titled Head Games was directed and coproduced by Steve James. James is also noted for producing the acclaimed basketball documentary Hoop Dreams.

The makers of the film interviewed retired Philadelphia Flyer player Keith Primeau and the parents of Owen Thomas, the Penn State football player who tragically committed suicide in 2010. It was later discovered that Thomas suffered from similar pathology as found in many other athletes who also took their own lives. More specifically, Primeau suffered from repeated bouts of impacts to the head resulting in compounded levels of head trauma.

Much of the content surrounds the NFL debate on concussions, however, the film also attempts to shed light on the head injuries associated with youth sports, including soccer, wrestling, and hockey. “This is not a phenomenon that’s restricted to just NFL football players. It goes through boys and girls of all ages,” says Smith.

“[The movie] really asks the hard question of, ‘Are we doing enough to protect our children?’ stated Chris Nowinski, the former Harvard football player and professional wrestler who wrote the book that inspired the creation of the documentary.

Flyers center Primeau, who retired in 2006 after 15 NHL seasons, is featured in the movie along with young hockey and soccer players. Unfortunately, concussions coerced Primeau into retirement.

It is extremely important to consult with a qualified Florida traumatic brain injury attorney if you, or a loved one, have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as the result of negligence exhibited by another person or entity. Please contact: [email protected] or call us today at (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation and case evaluation with our injury law attorneys.