The initial media frenzy surrounding the well-known lawsuit from former professional football players against the National Football League highlighted the grave consequences of serious and repeated traumatic brain injuries, as well as their link to the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”). Since the beginning of that lawsuit, other professional sports players have followed suit. Lawsuits have also arisen from college athletes and other nonprofessional sports players throughout the country. Recently, Sports Illustrated reported on a lawsuit advocating for even younger victims of traumatic brain injuries during athletics has been filed against a national organization that provides youth football and cheer & dance programs. The lawsuit seeks to have CTE listed on the helmets of youth football players in the hopes that it will serve as a warning to parents and participants of the danger of traumatic brain injuries and their consequences for youth sports players.
CTE is a concern for professional athletes, and more research has indicated it should also be a concern for youth sports players. One of the named plaintiffs in this lawsuit became suspicious about the potential long-term effects of sports-related traumatic brain injuries on her son, who tragically passed away after crashing his motorcycle at high speed. The crash was similar to other erratic, reckless behavior the man had demonstrated in the last two years of his life. Having heard about the professional sports lawsuits that were pending at the time of her son’s death, the mother consulted with plaintiffs in that lawsuit and became suspicious that her young son may have also suffered from CTE. She made the difficult decision to have her son’s brain tested, and results indicated that he did indeed suffer from CTE. Along with the mother of another young man that had committed suicide after also suffering from CTE, they filed the current lawsuit against the youth sports organization.