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Helmet Maker Found Not Liable for Brain Injury

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Los Angeles, CAIt was the sort of injury that has life-changing consequences: a young football star suffered a serious brain injury and back injury while in a football game. The results of the traumatic brain injury were immediate, including losing consciousness and being partially paralyzed. A lawsuit was filed against the maker of the helmet the young man wore, alleging the helmet pad was defective, but now a jury has found the brain injury could not have been prevented by the boy’s helmet.

According to the Los Angeles Times (3/21/14), Edward Acuna was 17-years-old and was the captain of his football team when the injury occurred. During the fourth quarter of a football game, Acuna was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit. He fell unconscious, was partially paralyzed and had lost his short-term memory.
Even now, four years after the injury, Acuna walks with a cane and suffers seizures.

A lawsuit was filed against Riddell, maker of the helmet Acuna was wearing, alleging the company knowingly used a defective helmet pad in its helmets. But a jury deliberated only 30 minutes before rejecting the allegations.

Although brain injuries can occur from a variety of events, concerns about the link between football players and head injuries have continued to grow, as lawsuits have been filed against the NFL and other football leagues alleging that players - professional and amateur - were not properly warned about the risks associated with head injuries and concussions.

Allegations made against the NFL include that the organization knew about the risks of repeated concussions but did not protect players from those risks. Recently, a judge rejected a $765 million settlement between the NFL and approximately 20,000 players, finding that the settlement money would not last as long as it was meant to and would not adequately cover all players involved in the lawsuit, the Washington Times (1/14/14) reports.

Meanwhile, the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys will reportedly pay an undisclosed sum to a halftime worker who suffered a brain injury when he was hit by falling ice from a stadium. WFAA (3/18/14) reports that Severin Sampson suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost hearing in one ear after the incident. He is also unable to work as a sound engineer. Sampson filed a lawsuit and a jury found the Dallas Cowboys 70 percent liable for Sampson’s injuries, while the NFL was found 25 percent liable. A security company was found five percent responsible.


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