Could NFL Concussion and Domestic Violence Issues Be Connected?

Oct 7, 2014 | Personal Injury

As the NFL works its way through dual scandal threads involving domestic abuse by several players and an increasing number of studies indicating that players are likely to suffer significant brain injuries over the course of their careers, some are asking whether the two problems may be linked.

“[S]tudies of severe traumatic brain injuries suggest that aggressive behavior might result after repeated concussions,” NBC News states in the premise of a recent report.

“Aggression is one of the most common aspects of severe TBI [traumatic brain injury],” Dr. Douglas Smith, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the University of Pennsylvania, tells NBC.

“Generally aggression is thought to be linked to damage to the frontal lobes, which are responsible for executive function. The frontal lobes control things like restraint. Patients are disinhibited and can’t modulate their behavior in general, and that includes aggressive behavior.”

Violence, Concussions are Issues Plaguing Pro Football Ranks

NBC is looking into the matter as a follow-up to two other ongoing news stories involving the NFL:

  • Domestic violence scandals involving Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers and Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals.
  • Concussions in football brought to the forefront, again, by a recent study identifying multiple cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head that steadily destroys cognitive functions and leads to mood problems. Another report revealed that the NFL itself believes that about three in 10 players will eventually suffer from at least moderate brain disease.

Any violent blow to the head can cause damage as the brain moves within the skull and is forced against its boney encasement. A concussion is a mild form of TBI that usually heals with a few weeks’ rest. More severe forms of TBI can cause a variety of functional losses in cognition, physical ability and emotional control.

Smith states in the NBC report that scientists have determined that repeated jolts to the brain, such as a pro football player suffers on a typical Sunday, can cause as much damage as one big blow to the head.

Experts Dispute Potential Link between Violent Behavior and Brain Injuries

Others quoted by NBC dispute the idea that concussions or brain damage suffered over the long-term lead to violence.

Dr. Julien Bailes, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the NorthShore University HealthSystem and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute told NBC that CTE has not been linked to violence.

David Hovda, a professor of neurosurgery and director of the Brain Injury Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, told NBC that the effect of repeated blows to the head is more like intoxication, leading to a loss of inhibition. The lack of inhibition in someone who is naturally aggressive could then allow violent tendencies to surface.

But, Hovda points out, given the millions of concussions that happen over the course of a year in accidents ranging from car crashes to falls and other accidents, violence would be rampant if concussions alone led to violence.

The issue, obviously, is one to closely monitor as more examine this potential link.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    5 Reasons Personal Injury Lawyers in Virginia Go to Court

    If you’ve had an accident, you probably expected the insurance company to send you a settlement check right away. Cue shock and disappointment when insurance decides to play hardball. An adjuster may throw you a low settlement offer, or they may refuse to pay for...

    Will My Insurance Go Up If I Hire an Injury Attorney?

    Car accidents can be costly – both to your health and your finances. When another driver is responsible for the crash, it’s important to ensure your rights are protected. While you will typically seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, the...

    Benefits of Hiring a Slip and Fall Attorney in Virginia

    Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries that impact your daily life and affect you for years. After an accident, you should focus on your recovery and let an experienced lawyer handle the details of your personal injury claim.  Often, these accidents occur...

    What Does the Insurance Company Really Think My Case Is Worth?

    The perceived value of your injury claim will depend on what evidence is available to the insurance company. In most cases, the value of a claim will be determined by the amount of property damage and medical bills associated with the accident. That said, the claims...

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald