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Head injuries in sport, particularly football, have been a keen topic of discussion within the last few years and Blackwater Law, specialist brain injury solicitors, have been keeping up to date with recent developments.
It has long been debated as to the effect that heading a ball in football, or scrums or tackling in rugby, can have an adverse effect on a player, sometimes culminating in concussion or a traumatic brain injury. It has even been suggested that professional sportspeople may even be at greater risk of dementia in later life if they have repetitively received an impact to their head, although that is a study that is still ongoing.
Recent developments in the sporting area have seen concussion substitutes implemented in Cricket, and the campaign to ensure that anyone suspected of having received a concussion, removed from the field of play – “if in doubt, sit it out!”.
While the focus of the media has surrounded the professional side of the sport, there has been much discussion about how to protect the younger players entering the various sports, and now, the Football Associations of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have brought in restrictions on heading the ball for all youth teams.
However, due to the relatively low number of headers taken in the youth game, this restriction only applies to training.
A precedent for brain injury claims caused by heading the ball was set in 2002 when a coroner found that repeated minor traumas to the head was the cause of death of West Bromwich Albion’s striker, Jeff Astle at just 59. Astle was described as an exceptional header of the ball.
Of course, the ball used in football is a lot different to those used back when Astle started his career – older balls being made of leather which were much heavier, and held water, making them even heavier in the rain. However, it is being acknowledged that any blow to the head may cause damage and should be treated with caution.
Head and brain injury can be caused by a wide variety of accidents and events, and the result can be life changing. You may find you are unable to work or look after yourself, and in that event, if the injury was caused by someone else, you may be eligible to claim brain injury compensation. Our specialist solicitors offer free initial advice for any brain or head injury and can advise you on the next step, should you decide to make a claim.