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Hockey player returns to practice after head injury

Jarrett Stoll, a center for the professional hockey team the L.A. Kings, recently returned to practice after being hit in the head during a game against the San Jose Sharks. While he participated in no-contact drills during the practice, the team's coach stated that he will not be playing in any games for an indefinite period of time, presumably until it is proven that the effects of the brain injury have subsided. The coach also stated that the team's doctors are monitoring Stoll's recovery process, and that he is nowhere near ready to return to playing yet.

Traumatic brain injuries are common in contact sports such as football and hockey, and they can have devastating consequences for the athletes. A disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which causes depression and dementia, is the result of chronic head trauma and the resulting brain damage. There have been instances of retired athletes committing suicide due to this disease, so this is clearly a major issue affecting athletes.

Traumatic brain injuries of the type in this case are a workplace hazard for sports players, as they are not avoidable in their occupation. This fact has caused a debate within the sports community regarding the effectiveness of safety equipment and the effectiveness of medical treatment for players. Many have also questioned whether players who suffer concussions or other serious brain injuries should be allowed to play again.

Anyone who has suffered a serious brain injury while on the job is entitled to claim worker's compensation benefits for their injury. These monetary benefits are provided so that the worker's living expenses are provided for and his or her family is provided with a livelihood. They may also seek a personal injury judgment against their employer, if negligence is involved. Anyone impacted by a traumatic brain injury is entitled to seek an appropriate legal remedy.

Source: ESPN, "Jarett Stoll returns to practice," Arash Markazi, May 25, 2013.

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