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Test for brain damage could help current NFL players

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In the past several years, controversy has been brewing within the professional football industry. Does the sport recklessly put players at risk of sustaining life-changing brain injuries? Sure, the public sees players sustain fractures, but damage to the brain is the invisible problem that has inspired lawsuits against the league by former players.

Dementia and personality changes have been linked to head injuries in football players. Some former players' suicides have even been connected to the damage that their brains sustained while playing. For them, the diagnosis of a disease called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy happened when they were already gone. Current players might be able to avoid that order of events.

PBS reports that UCLA researchers have conducted studies on several ex-players' brains. These players are alive. Brain scans reportedly showed signs of CTE in the living subjects, signs that until this breakthrough study have only been identifiable in autopsies of deceased players.

What does this mean in relation to disability insurance and current players? The researchers hope that their findings mean that players currently in the league or even playing at the college level can have their brains scanned for signs of CTE. If their scans suggest that they have sustained damage, players can decide whether continuing to play in the impact sport is a healthy option.

A brain scan that indicates a player suffers from brain damage, damage that could be furthered with continued play, potentially could support a player's claim for disability insurance. Our legal team has experience with NFL disability insurance claims. We can help injured players move on with their next chapters by fighting for the benefits they deserve.

Source: PBS, "New Study Finds Brain Damage in Living Ex-NFL Players," Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, Jan. 22, 2013

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