West Virginia football fans may not be particularly surprised that more than 40 percent of retired NFL players who were involved in a study showed evidence of having abnormal brain structures. Additionally, approximately 50 percent of the participants showed serious problems when taking cognitive tests that included reasoning, planning and problem-solving.
Forty former NFL players participated in the study. MRI brain images were used to look for brain abnormalities. They had stopped playing less than five years before the study, and the average length of their pro careers was seven years. For 43 percent of the participants, the damage found to the white matter of the brain, which is responsible for connecting different regions, was enough to be classified as a traumatic head injury.
Based on the study results, the researchers found that the risk for a traumatic brain injury increased the longer a player spent in the NFL. While the number of concussions a player received throughout their professional career was not linked to the brain injury seen on the MRI, it appeared that the injury was caused by the cumulative effects of multiple hits that may not have caused a concussion on their own. The main problem with the study is that there is still no proof that football actually caused the brain injuries though it did provide a bridge between playing in the NFL and suffering damage.
A head injury can also be caused by a motor vehicle collision, and it can leave the victim facing lengthy recovery periods and expensive medical care. If it can be determined that the crash was due to the negligence of another motorist, a personal injury attorney could assist in pursuing compensation for those and other applicable losses.