NFL’s traumatic brain injury policies and Oregon’s new laws

The New York Times reports today that the two doctors leading the NFL’s study of concussions and other head injuries have quit following charges that they do not take evidence of mounting long-term brain injuries among professional football players sufficiently seriously. It is a development with resonance for those battling Oregon traumatic brain injuries.

As the paper notes, one of the doctors, Ira Casson, has been a member of the league’s committee on brain injuries since 1994 and has co-chaired the committee since 2007. According to the paper, “Casson has been the league’s primary voice discrediting all evidence linking football players with subsequent dementia.” He has recently been criticized both by the families of former NFL players and by members of Congress.

At issue, and of interest to those of us outside the world of professional football, is whether the accumulation of repeated, more minor, head injuries can add up to a traumatic brain injury over time. One need not take the sort of punishment football players endure every week to be in a situation where the sum of many concussions is greater than the damage done by the individual parts.

The issue of Oregon traumatic brain injuries has also been on the local agenda here in the Portland area during 2009. This summer the governor signed an Oregon traumatic brain injury bill mandating that insurers cover medically necessary cognitive therapy for those suffering from Oregon traumatic brain injuries. Another law signed at the same time mandates education for high school football coaches in the hopes of cutting down on Oregon traumatic brain injuries at the high school level.

Despite the new legislation, the ongoing debate in the NFL highlights the extent to which brain injuries remain a subject of controversy. A Portland traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you or your loved ones sort through the changing legal landscape and claim the damages to which you are entitled if you believe you or a member of your family has suffered an Oregon brain injury.

CNN: NFL needs help in policy to deal with dangerous concussions

New York Times: NFL head injury study leaders quit

Resource:
Brain Injury Association of Oregon