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Repeated head injury a lifelong concern for Missouri footballers

There have been many stories in the news over the past few years about football head injuries leading to lifelong problems for the victims of such collisions, in Missouri and across the nation.  Not only can a head injury cause permanent brain damage, but the personalities is affected in some cases.  Some reports suggest this may be what happened to former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Belcher was the perpetrator in a 2012 Missouri murder-suicide that shocked the state and the world.  Yet, an autopsy of his brain tissues has left researchers suggesting that his violence may be traced back to his injuries on the football field.  Specifically, scientists say that he may have suffered from CTE.

The condition, known as CTE, is a degenerative disease of the brain, and it is often found in those who have suffering ongoing head injuries.  Dementia, depression and confusion are some of the symptoms of CTE, and experts say the effects are not currently reversible.  It's not clear if the condition -- or some of the symptoms -- can be managed with therapy, medication or other medical interventions.

While CTE does not excuse Belcher's terrifying actions, it may shed light on a growing concern about head injury incidents in football.  It may also become an issue for the courts to deal with should individuals who have suffered from repeated head injuries, and/or their loved ones, seek compensation for what could prove to be preventable medical outcomes.  In the case of Belcher's girlfriend, who was killed at his hand, a $4 million proposed settlement is being discussed between her family and the NFL.  Should they win the settlement, it would set a precedent upon which future personal injury cases related to CTE and/or brain injuries may seek to rely.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Jovan Belcher's brain showed signs of CTE, according to post-mortem exam", Sam Mellinger, Sept. 29, 2014

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