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Repetitive hits to the head can cause brain injurys

You may be aware of the attention concussions and brain injurys have received in the Ohio media and from the government. Medical research continuously shows that individuals who suffer repeated head injuries are at risk for severe brain injurys.

For high school and college athletes, new legislation could prevent an individual from playing a few games or a season if he or she sustains a concussion. Unfortunately, many professional athletes are not protected by the same stringent guidelines, and players who repeatedly suffer blows to the head – regardless of how inconsequential they seem at the time – are likely to develop severe brain injurys.

Perhaps Shane Dronett’s name rings a bell. Shane was a former NFL lineman who committed suicide in 2009, three years after retiring from professional football. Prior to his untimely death, Shane suffered from nightmares and paranoia, as well as episodes of confusion and rage.

After he committed suicide, scientists studied Shane’s brain tissue and determined that he was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease. The disease is caused by an unusual protein in the brain. The brain generates the protein when there have been repeated head traumas from which the brain is unable to fully heal from.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) shrinks brain tissue and can cause memory loss, depression, impulsive behavior and rage. The scientists who studied Shane’s brain believe that his violent episodes were caused by more than 20 years worth of hits to the brain.

Individuals who suffer from brain injurys caused by their professions may be able to receive workers’ compensation. Continue reading the next article to learn about the things individuals can do to help ensure they receive the benefits they need.

Source: CNN, “Ex-Falcons lineman had brain disease linked to concussions,” Stephanie Smith, CNN Medical Producer, 1 April 2011

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