As more and more former pro athletes find their on-field careers are having debilitating effects on their post-football lives decades down the road, we are now learning of players who are experiencing long-term symptoms of brain injury much more quickly. One documented case involves former pro tight end Benjamin Utecht, who is experiencing big gaps in his memory despite the fact that he's only 30 years old.
A California jury is deciding a case involving a motorcycle crash and its aftermath. A couple crashed their Harley-Davidson touring bike on a California freeway in April 2008. The husband, who was at the controls of the motorcycle, slammed on his brakes when traffic suddenly backed up. The rear wheel locked and sent his wife flying 35 feet forward.
An 82-year-old passenger en route to a Hawaiian cruise sustained serious injury late last month when she fell off the stairs leading to a jet bridge at LAX airport. Witnesses said she fell 15 feet to the ground, and her friends say she suffered a brain injury.
Life changed in the blink of an eye for a family earlier this week after a fatal car accident on a Van Nuys street. According to police, a 33-year-old man allegedly lost control of his 1995 Lexus and crashed into two sisters who were standing near a parked pickup truck alongside the rear passenger door.
It used to be the norm in football that when a player suffered a head injury--or "got his bell rung" as was often said--he would go back into the game to show how tough he was, often at the behest of trainers and coaches. While this might have boosted the player's image in the eyes of his teammates, more often than not the player was putting himself at considerable risk for long-term brain damage. And players who go on to play professional football subject themselves to thousands of hits over the course of many years.