More Brain Injury Tragedy in the NHL

Not to sound like a broken record when it comes to brain injuries – but we don’t care if it serves to prevent more tragedies like that of former N.H.L star Rick Martin. On October 13, 2011 at myaccidentlaw.com, we wrote of the changes to N.H.L. regulations regarding prevention of brain trauma through hit limitations. I expressed my incredulousness at the reluctance of a number of players to embrace these changes. Hopefully, a recent article in the New York times regarding the death of Rick Martin will serve to garner full league support.

The Times reported that Mr. Martin had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain trauma when he died last March of a heart attack at the too young age of 59. Martin had only 14 fights in fourteen seasons in the junior leagues and the NHL. He did not wear a helmet for most of his career and sustained no known brain trauma outside of hockey, according to a Boston University report issued in a new release following his death. The Boston University researchers found that Martin was in the second stage of the disease, which was unlikely to significantly affect his cognitive abilities or behavior. There are four stages of the disease, and the fourth is the most severe including memory loss, depression and lack of impulse control.

Rick Martin’s case indicates that even hockey players who don’t engage in fighting are at a risk for C.T.E (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Martin’s only known concussion occurred in a 1978 game against the Rangers during which his head hit the ice, causing immediate convulsions.

Researchers at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatice Encephalopathy have currently completed the analysis of the brains of more than 70 former athletes, with than 50 with signs of C.T.E., including 14 of 15 former N.F.L. players, as well as college and high school football players, hockey players, professional wrestlers and boxers.

All brain injuries are tragic for both the sufferer and the family. Grazian and Volpe has advocated for hundreds of brain injury victims, most of which are suffered as a consequence of a motor vehicle accident. The increase among athletes exhibiting advanced stages of brain injury has sky-rocketed in the last decade and is most disturbing because many of these injuries could be prevented by appropriate head gear and promulgation and adherence to safe and fair standards of play. Please visit us at myaccidentlaw.com/blog and WCIU, You and Me in the Morning where we report on new findings and laws in the area of prevention of brain injuries and pursuit of claims. Remember, it is always better to stay safe-but if you can’t-stay with Grazian and Volpe!

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