It has taken four years, but doctors have been able to confirm that they can now use brain scans of the living to find evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Previous approaches to detecting the disease, which appears to affect a disproportionate number of professional football players, could only find evidence of the debilitating and lethal condition once a victim had died.
The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers from Evanston’s NorthShore University Health System and elsewhere have been utilizing special brain scans that look for tau-proteins (specific proteins that build up in trauma-damaged brain cells) for years to search for links between CTE injuries and playing high-contact sports like football. However, a confirmed diagnosis that could be tracked to live patient scans had not arrived until recently, when posthumous scans of Fred McNeill, a former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings who died in 2015, revealed concrete evidence of the disease.
Being able to detect signs of the disease before a player dies from it could be transformative for the control of the illness, explains Dr. Julian Bailes, a NorthShore neurosurgeon. “If you can trust the scans, you can tell a football player he shouldn’t keep playing, or tell someone in the military he shouldn’t (be exposed to) explosions.”
By the time McNeill was 59-years-old, the ex-NFL player was showing behavioral traits reflective of signs of CTE, such as memory loss, depression, a lack of impulse control, and bad temperament. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and presumptive CTE, and died at the age of 63.
Class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of former professional football players, seeking damages for the painful, debilitating, and sometimes lethal injuries they suffered from repetitive head traumas during their careers in National Football League.
NFL Players Lawsuit Summary
Lieff Cabraser represents former professional football players and their spouses in a class action lawsuit seeking damages for the painful and debilitating injuries the players suffered from repetitive head traumas during their careers in the NFL. If you or a family member have been affected by these injuries, contact us today about your case.
The litigation also seeks to recover fair compensation for the players’ spouses from the loss of companionship, affection, and support the spouses have suffered due to their husbands’ injuries. For those players that have not yet evidenced the long term physical and mental effects of repetitive head traumas, the lawsuit seeks the establishment of a medical monitoring program to provide specialized testing for the early detection of the long term effects of repetitive head traumas.