Many legal observers believe one of the pivotal challenges facing the thousands of plaintiffs suing the National Football League will be showing that the hits they suffered while playing in the NFL led or will lead to their diminished mental state.
More and more articles are exploring this, including a piece that ran in the New York Times today.
The Times, citing a study published in May in the journal Cerebral Cortex, said that researchers found the semi-obvious that brains of concussed former athletes to be “biologically older” than the brains of uninjured former athletes.
What was more interesting in the story was the validation of just how inexact the science around concussed brains is.
Steven Broglio, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Michigan, told the Times why he agreed. A concussion “may accelerate some of the normal deterioration… we’d expect with aging,” he said. “We know right now that some athletes are more affected by a single concussion than others… And we don’t know why,” he added, explaining how deterioration rates can vary drastically from one person to the next, making it hard to tie damage back to a specific concussion.
And that makes it a challenge for attorneys bringing concussion claims to prove that a concussion occurred at a specific point in time and caused their client’s condition.