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What Car Wrecks and Football Games Share


Football season starts ___ and people are getting excited. But

You will remember that several thousand players successfully sued the NFL for compensation for their brain injuries including our own Tony Dorsett. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer was diagnosed three years ago with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by his football career.

I have to deal with head injuries representing people all over North Texas who have been injured in car and truck wrecks. More than two million people suffer brain injuries each year, many from collisions. Some of these victims develop CTE.

Let me tell you, getting your head crashed into and cortorted, whether by a charging 320 pound player or a 7,000 pound truck, isn’t just a little ding.

How Do You Know if You Have a Head Injury?

After a car accident, you may look and feel fine. OK, so if you cannot see a concussion, how do you know you have one?

I have encountered this dilemma countless times during my 36 years as a personal injury lawyer. Often my client doesn’t realize he or she has a traumatic brain injury because symptoms have not yet manifested or are subtle. The TBI is nonetheless very serious.

That is why I urge my clients to undergo diagnostic tests after a car crash — several weeks after to make sure the damage will be apparent to doctors. An accident happens so quickly that you may not even realize you hit your head.

Your neurologist may conduct a series of tests to diagnose the brain injury, including these:

  • Neurological exam to test your vision, hearing, balance, coordination and reflexes
  • Cognitive exam to test your concentration and memory
  • Imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an X-ray

You should definitely seek medical care if you or someone notices these symptoms of a concussion:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fogginess
  • Loss of memory
  • Amnesia about the crash
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Delayed response time

The idea of pushing through a head injury is misguided and very dangerous.

Berenson Injury Law has substantial experience in proving head injury cases and can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.


Hurray, it’s finally football season! Tomorrow TCU takes on Arkansas and Sunday the Cowboys – Giants rivalry resumes.

Each tackle can cause a concussion which can accumulate over the course of a football career. The level of brain damage they suffer came to light when former professional players sued the NFL to recover for their permanent brain injuries and scientific research showed permanent brain damage to many players.

Those medical studies could now be helpful in shaping auto accident treatment and lawsuits.

Mechanics of a football and auto accident head injury

Each blow to the head to an offensive lineman averages a brutal 25.8 G-force. The force of taking a hit in the game is roughly equivalent to driving a car into a wall or another vehicle at 30 m.p.h. What happens to the brain at the moment of these impacts?

First, the player’s (or driver’s) brain bounces off the inside of his skull, which bruises his brain’s gray matter. Researchers have compared this to shaking an egg so that the egg yoke hits the inside of the shell. However the worst problem occurs deeper inside the brain where the tissue is bruised and contorted.

Silent damage to the brain

Perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of a concussion is its initial subtlety. Confusion, dizziness, nausea and other symptoms may immediately following a blow to the head, but often these symptoms are minor or unapparent or may be delayed for hours. In fact, a football player might be able to get back out on the field without feeling any adverse effects to his performance.

This lack of warning signals can place the player in extreme danger. He doesn’t get the treatment he needs and he can re-injure before the first concussion has healed.

Drivers face the same risks. You may not experience obvious symptoms after a wreck, despite sustaining serious damage.

Once is bad; twice can be deadly

A player takes a blow to the head an average of 62 times each game. Each blow increases the chances of a second concussion and the likelihood of suffering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE irises from repeated blows to the brain. The condition is associated with football players and boxers, but can happen to anybody who sustains a second concussion before the first has healed. Over time, CTE can impair memory, judgment, balance and impulse control and may result in aggressive behavior, depression and dementia.

While a driver usually just hits his head one time, if he should sustain a second blow or impact, that can also lead to CTE. A personal injury lawyer sees multi-vehicle collisions where two or more concussions are suffered in the crash.

My job is to remain up-to-date on the latest medical research to recover damages for auto accident victims. I urge anybody who suspects he or she has suffered a concussion to seek medical attention. Your early treatment is essential to your long-term health.

See also:


MVCs = leading cause of fatal injuries to youth, not football – Forbes



According to a Michigan lawyer,


emergency rooms fail to make a proper TBI diagnosis between 56%-80% of the time.

Having litigated these cases and having helped many car accident victims who have survived a traumatic brain injury from a car crash, I know first-hand how aggressively these cases are defended by the insurance companies when doctors fail to make a timely TBI diagnosis.

This failure also exposes a TBI victim to unnecessary delays in medical treatment and far too often it results in a complete lack of medical care and treatment for the brain injury.

There are many reasons for why a TBI victim’s brain injury goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, but a recent study highlights a new reason that has received very little attention until now: How medical providers talk to their patients.

Or, rather, how quickly doctors interrupt a patient.

Clear implications for why so many TBI survivors, especially those injured in a car crash, are not having their symptoms properly documented and diagnosed. In turn, this failure to document a TBI diagnosis is causing tremendous problems for these people in litigation in how the insurance companies evaluate and defend these cases for settlement. The failure to properly make a TBI diagnosis can also cause juries to discount the brain injury and to turn these car accident victims away at trial. Jurors believe that doctors are going to properly diagnose something and hold it against the injured patient when they don’t accurately document and diagnose an injury.

With doctors failing to elicit pertinent information and/or interrupting their patients’ explanations, medical providers are setting up TBI survivors for failure because, by the very nature of the traumatic brain injury, these people are already struggling with slowed processing speed, impaired recall, and difficulty with prioritizing concerns.  Many also have very real physical problems, because after all they were hit by a car or a truck, and this can cause very real but less obvious problems, such as brain injury, to be overlooked.

Not only does this study highlight the need for changing doctor/patient interactions, but it also reinforces the urgency of having patient advocates or other people present to make sure doctors are aware of all the problems that people are having.

Before they are interrupted.

The importance of making a proper TBI diagnosis in a car accident case

Getting the TBI diagnosis right in car accident cases is critical. It’s hard to believe so many are missed by hospitals and doctors considering how common they are. Car crashes are the “third overall leading cause of TBI-related ER visits, hospitalizations, and deaths,” according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And, as stated above, there are studies showing that doctors and hospital emergency rooms routinely miss and, thus, fail to diagnose traumatic brain injuries up to 80 percent of the time.


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