Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry’s family was shocked when West Virginia University researchers announced that a tissue analysis of the 26-year-old’s brain indicated he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a serious brain disease. Henry died last winter after suffering severe brain trauma and multiple head injuries when jumping from a pickup truck. Researchers speculate that his condition may have contributed to the severity of the injuries Henry suffered and his subsequent death.
Henry’s family and coaches were unaware of Henry’s brain condition. Brain injuries are common in football players who suffer multiple concussions, but Henry had never been diagnosed with a concussion during his playing career. Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes, co-director of the WVU Brain Injury Research Institute, a former team physician for the Pittsburg Steelers, and lead researcher in the WVU study, said researches believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy results from multiple head impacts whether or not concussion occurs. Direct impact with another football player or the ground is not necessary to cause brain injury. The quick spurts and sudden stops typical of the game can also cause brain damage. “The brain floats freely in your skull. If you’re moving very quickly and suddenly stop, the brain bounces,” California medical examiner and WVU researcher Bennet Omaki explained on Philly.com.
The implications of Henry’s death and brain injury research findings are a cause of concern to Philadelphia parents whose children play on high school and college football teams. The toll football takes on the brain has long been suspected. Retired NFL football players suffer a higher than average incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems. However, Henry’s tragic death at such a young age emphasizes the potential risk of serious brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury can have life-altering consequences. A Philadelphia personal injury attorney can provide the legal advice you need and work aggressively to protect your rights and obtain fair compensation for your injury. Edith Pearce with The Pearce Law Firm can help.