Personal Injury Law Blog

Should a Helmet Company Be Liable for a Possible CTE Related Death?

Monitoring of the patient in the intensive care

A 22-year-old man was on a boat fishing with his grandfather when he lost his life. Now the young man’s family is trying to hold a football helmet company responsible for the tragedy. Will a California court agree or will this potentially CTE related death go unaddressed?

Should Football Helmet Companies Be Held Accountable?

On May 29, 2016, a 22-year-old man was out fishing with his grandfather when he suffered a seizure. The attack forced the man into the waters of Lake Lorelei near Fayetteville, Ohio. Rescuers were not able to get to him before he drowned.

Searching for answers to this sudden seizure, the man’s family sent his brain to an Illinois hospital. Examiners determined that the man had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This degenerative brain disease may have been the source of the man’s seizure. This disease has come to be associated with tackle football players.

From 2001 to 2011, this 22-year-old had played football while wearing helmets manufactured by Riddell and Schutt. However, this man’s family felt those helmets failed to protect their son over the course of that stint. For that reason, they have filed a lawsuit both in Ohio (where the man played football) and in California (where the companies do business).

The lawsuit alleges fraud, product liability, negligence and wrongful death. The suit claims that the helmet companies are producing products that don’t help protect young players from CTE. It goes on to say that the manufacturers had evidence of this and yet didn’t warn players or parents. It also alleges that the use of NOCSAE stickers on children’s helmets may mislead parents into thinking the devices were tested for children.

Now a California court will have to decide if this lawsuit and its claims have merit. Currently, there are other similar lawsuits like this in courts all over the country. NFL players are suing Riddell and two California mothers are suing Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. over the children’s deaths due to football-related injuries. This shows that the issues of CTE and football-related brain injuries have become a pressing legal issue. That means families that suspect their loved one is suffering from CTE may need to contact an experienced attorney to investigate their case.

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