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Illinois Lawmakers Eye Youth Football Ban

Football Injury AttorneyThe House Mental Health Committee narrowly approved the so-called Dave Duerson Act, clearing a way for a vote in the full House of Representatives.

In January 2018, State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) introduced the CTE Prevention Act. This measure would ban tackle football leagues for children under 12. The sweeping law would apply to both public and private recreational leagues throughout Illinois. Ms. Sente introduced the bill largely because of sub-concussive blows to the head. But House Bill 4341 faces an uncertain future, after a key lawmaker withdrew her support. As a result, the Dave Duerson Act is “likely dead,” predicted Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet). Five states — New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, and California — are currently considering some form of youth football ban.

Former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, committed suicide in 2011.

What Causes Brain Injuries in Chicago?

Sports-related Traumatic Brain Injuries get much of the attention in the media. The issue may be more widespread than initially believed, especially among children who have still-developing brains. But football and other sports only cause a tiny percentage of TBIs in Illinois. Most stem from:

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes:

    The extreme forces in a vehicle wreck are often sufficient to essentially scramble the brain, just like it’s possible to shake an egg and scramble it without breaking the shell.

  • Assaults:

    Trauma-related TBIs are very common in these intentional tort cases. Even a moderate blow to the head is more than enough to cause permanent injury.

  • Construction Accidents:

    Both trauma and non-trauma head injuries are common in workers’ compensation cases. Falls account for a large percentage of TBIs. Furthermore, researchers theorize that the loud noises at many construction site cause shock waves that disrupt key brain functions.

Workers’ compensation provides no-fault benefits that cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic losses. In a negligence case, victims may also obtain compensation for their non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (companionship).

Medical Issues Related to Chicago Brain Injuries

Further complicating matters for victims, TBIs are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, making it difficult to get effective help.

Most TBI victims are either car crash or fall victims. Unfortunately, these cases are also the ones most likely to be diagnosed. Many doctors dismiss the initial disorientation and dizziness as shock from a serious car crash. In older adults, they often mistake these same symptoms for early-onset dementia. By the time these injuries are properly diagnosed, most Illinois victims usually suffer from more advanced symptoms, such as:

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears),
  • Severe headaches,
  • Sleeplessness, and
  • Personality changes.

Long-term physical therapy is the only current treatment for TBIs. Stem cell and some other emerging therapies may soon enable doctors to regenerate dead brain cells. But right now, that’s impossible to do. Extensive therapy helps non-injured areas of the brain assume the lost functions, so victims can live somewhat normally. However, a TBI is always permanent.

Connect with Assertive Attorneys

Brain injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Home and hospital visits are available.