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John Varvatos Collection Reed Low Top Sneaker, This is first in a series of blogs by Ryan Lake. The blogs are intended to give an overview of some of the contemporary legal issues impacting the sport of ice hockey, with a strong focus on the National Hockey League (“NHL”). Readers are encouraged to leave comments and participate in debates around the topics raised.
This blog examines the difficult and concerning issue of player concussions, focusing on a review of the ongoing consolidated litigation by ex-players against the NHL relating to the long-term effects of concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (“CTE”).
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Mini Melissa Aranha Quadrada Sandal (Toddler & Little Kid), The true extent of brain damage after suffering multiple concussions in sport was not scientifically discovered until the untimely death of Mike Webster in 2002.1 Webster was a Hall of Fame football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League (“NFL”).2 After playing 17 years in the NFL and suffering multiple concussions, Webster started to experience symptoms normally only shown in people suffering from dementia and was prescribed a powerful cocktail of medications.3 In 2002, at the age of 50, Webster died from heart failure.
The pathologist on call at the Allegheny Medical Coroner’s office the day Webster died was Dr. Bennet Omalu.4 Dr. Omalu, conducted several tests on Webster’s brain, in the hope of discovering what was causing his symptoms. What Dr. Omalu found would change medical and sports history. Dr. Omalu described Webster’s brain “as one of boxers, very old people with Alzheimer’s disease or someone who had suffered a severe head wound.”5 Dr. Omalu published his findings and named his discovery CTE.
A medical diagnosis of CTE can only be made after a posthumous examination of the brain. Over the next ten years, several former NFL and College football players were diagnosed with CTE, including, Terry Long, Andre Waters, Tom McHale, Owen Thomas, Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling, and Junior Seau, among others.6