In August 2015, legendary football player Frank Gifford died at the age of 84. According to a New York Daily News report, Gifford suffered from the affects of head trauma long after he retired. He’s now the oldest ex-NFL star to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE is a brain disease that can only be diagnosed after death. According to Boston College researchers, 87 of the 91 former NFL players they have tested suffered from CTE.
When we think of head injuries, we most often think of the devastating hits that modern football players take every Sunday. But, legendary players from the past also suffered head trauma. Gifford was famously knocked unconscious in a devastating play back in 1960. That brutal tackle put him in the hospital for 10 days and he missed an entire season. It’s not clear if that particular hit contributed to Gifford’s CTE symptoms, or if his condition was a result of years of repeated head trauma and concussions.
According to Gifford’s family, he suffered from symptoms linked to CTE, such as short-term memory loss, for many years. Many CTE sufferers also experience depression, anxiety, dementia, and suicidal tendencies. But, you can only diagnose CTE after death when the families make the difficult choice to allow testing the player’s brain.
Thanks to many families of many former NFL players, we’ve learned a lot about CTE in recent years. Gifford now joins the ranks of other players such as Junior Seau and Mike Webster who suffered from CTE.
The knowledge gained from these recent studies has led to a number of changes in the NFL. In fact, 39 rule changes have already been made to reduce the number of severe hits. For many people, these changes have come too late. That is why retirees pursued compensation for their suffering back in 2013. They were awarded a $765 million settlement for concussion-related trauma and suffering.
Of course, sports injuries don’t only affect the pros. Anyone who plays sports can suffer head injuries. If you or a loved one ever gets injured playing sports, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated New York sports head injury lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP.
You can reach us at (212) 986- 7353.