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Professional football players donate their brains for research


As many residents of New Haven, Connecticut, might be aware, concussions and other traumatic brain injuries among professional athletes who play in the National Football League are issues that garnered a lot of attention last year. According to reports, as many as 111 players suffered concussions on the field during the 2014 NFL season. Even though this number is alarming enough, it is considerably lower than the 148 players who suffered concussions in the 2013 season.

In fact, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has the largest brain repository in the country, 76 of 79 former NFL players who were examined had some form of a degenerative brain disease. Stemming from similar injuries, such as neck injuries, 4,500 former NFL players filed lawsuits claiming compensation for the brain injuries they sustained on the field. The NFL is now on its way to settling that lawsuit for $1 billion.

In a recent development, two former NFL players, Steve Weatherford and Sidney Rice, pledged their brains for research as a token of their acknowledgement of Brain Injury Awareness Month, which is in March 2015. According to reports, Weatherford and Rice wish to donate their brains so that researchers can determine the long-term cognitive effects of professional football on the brains of those players who have sustained concussions while representing their respective teams on the field.

A concussion, which is also called a mild traumatic brain injury, is often difficult to diagnose and; therefore, victims may experience problems a long time after the initial trauma occurred, whether it's a player who was injured on the field or a person who was injured in a fall or other type of accident. The nature of the injury makes it essential for victims to seek medical assistance immediately after a head injury. In cases where another person was responsible for the head injury, that victim may also wish to consider consulting a lawyer.

Source: Huffington Post, "NFL Champions Steve Weatherford and Sidney Rice to Donate Brains to Science," Maxwell Strachan, March 4, 2015

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