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What are the repercussions of football-related brain injuries?

As with many contact sports, football and injuries seem to go hand in hand. Even when wearing a helmet, the repeated hits to the head that often happen while playing football are now suspected of causing brain injuries, leaving some Orange County parents to question whether the sport is truly safe for their children.

On the heels of President Obama's assertion that he would have to give some thought as to whether he would let his children play football, the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, stated that he would let his children play.

The NFL is currently facing numerous lawsuits due to brain injuries that may have resulted from playing the game, including former star Junior Seau. Former players allege that the NFL did not warn them sufficiently of the potential for brain injury. Although Goodell would not speculate on the connection between football and brain injuries, he did note that the NFL has been proactive in addressing the potential for injuries.

Goodell also stated that the NFL announced a $30 million research project it will be conducting in conjunction with General Electric to investigate how brain injuries occur and what the NFL can do to prevent them. Starting with the forthcoming football season, the NFL is planning to have a trained neurologist at every game to evaluate injuries as they happen.

Brain damage that results from head trauma can permanently alter the lives of those affected. Although the connection between repeated blows to the head while playing sports, despite the use of helmets and other protection, and traumatic brain injury is unclear, the possibility is there. Even victims who willingly participated in the sport but who were not informed of the dangers may be able to pursue legal remedies to seek damages to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: Face the Nation, "NFL commissioner would 'absolutely' let his kids play football," Lindsey Boerma, Feb. 3, 2013

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