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Mothers want Pop Warner football to acknowledge brain injury risk

Playing pee-wee football is often a rite of passage for New York families with young children. When parents decide to sign their children up for contact sports, they may not give much thought to what the hidden risks may entail -- including the possibility of a brain injury. Two mothers recently filed a lawsuit against a youth organization that they claim bears responsibility for the deaths of their sons.

The women allege that Pop Warner Football was ultimately responsible for the behaviors that lead to their adult children dying in tragic circumstances. Both men died several years after their time playing football for the youth sports program, but they purportedly exhibited behaviors over time that concerned their parents. The first man died at age 24 after he was involved in a motorcycle crash. The second died at age 25 when he committed suicide.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that both men suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, referred to as CTE, which may lead to impulsive and erratic behavior and mood changes. The mother of the crash victim believes that her son's crash was a direct result of his brain disease. Likewise, the second woman claims that her son's suicide was also directly linked to his brain injury as well.

The lawsuit is yet another piece of the picture that medical doctors and other professionals are trying to assemble when it comes to the possible dangers that contact sports pose to young people. There have been many reports over the past few years concerning the connection between repeated head trauma and the development of CTE in many football players. It is unclear how this case will be decided, but the judge did reject Pop Warner's request to have it dismissed.

It is possible that more New York parents may have their children avoid contact sports. While science has yet to prove a definitive link between repeated brain injury and CTE, it may be prudent to educate young people on the possible risks. Traumatic brain injury can occur in many ways, and not all can be foreseen and prevented. If such an injury was the result of the negligence of another party, then victims or their families may elect to pursue compensation for their monetary losses through the filing of a personal injury claim.

Source: Forbes, "Pop Warner CTE Lawsuit Reveals A Hidden Risk About Youth Football", Lee Igel, Oct. 27, 2017

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