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Calvin Johnson’s Experience with the NFL and Traumatic Brain Injury

In March of 2016 former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson chose to retire after a nine season career with the NFL, despite having what seemed to be at least several years left. While some people assumed Johnson left due the Lions’ repeated struggles, in his interview with E:60 he revealed that his physical health was the primary motivating factor. After suffering multiple concussions, Johnson ran the risk of falling victim to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if he continued participation in the NFL.

Constant Concussions

Johnson revealed in his E:60 interview that the prevalence of concussions in the professional football world is much higher than most would expect, and handled in a severely unhealthy manner. “Concussions happen,” Johnson said. “If not on every play, then they happen like every other, every third play, you know.” Despite their frequency, research by Football Outsiders’ Scott Kacsmar noted that zero of Johnson’s 78 appearances on the NFL injury report even mentioned concussions.

Even when facing serious injury, players seem to take whatever steps were necessary to stay in the game. Johnson said that “the team doctors and trainers they were giving [painkillers] out like candy.” Such heavy reliance on strong medication risks creating an even more harmful cycle of addiction and dependency for players already suffering from other injuries.

Hidden Injury

One of the biggest concerns surrounding concussions is not the initial trauma, but the hidden damage that could surface later. Dr. William Meehan, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, noted that “concussions have a cumulative effect” and “every time you get [a concussion], there’s some effect on the brain that doesn’t go away”. Repeated injury can eventually cause chemical changes in the brain and effect areas responsible for controlling mood, problem-solving and concentration.

Not everyone who suffers a concussion will lose consciousness. Symptoms can include:

 

  • Headache
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizure
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness or numbness in extremities
  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Changes in personality or uncharacteristic behaviors
  • Problems with memory, concentration or thinking


In the days following a serious or traumatic brain injury, it’s extremely important to pay attention to any symptoms and seek medical help if conditions worsen.

If Someone’s Negligence Led to You or a Loved One Suffering a Concussion, Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Maine

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, contact Hardy, Wolf & Downing today. Our Maine personal injury lawyers are intimately familiar with the unique concerns of time delay in the onset and detection of symptoms after suffering head trauma. Our attorneys may be able to prove injuries of this type even weeks after the incident.