Nearly 13 months ago, Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, killed his girlfriend and then himself. Belcher’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this week against the Kansas City Chiefs alleging that repeated head traumas sustained by Belcher while playing football caused traumatic brain injuries, leading to his suicide. *Source: www.philly.com (Jovan Belcher's mother sues Chiefs for wrongful death)
The lawsuit alleges that Belcher suffered multiple concussive blows to the head which caused him to sustain traumatic brain injuries, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Earlier this month, Belcher’s body was exhumed at his family’s request to have his brain tested for evidence of CTE.
The lawsuit also alleges that the Kansas City Chiefs were aware or should have been aware that Belcher showed signs of cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairment and did not provide him proper medical care after he sustained concussions.
The allegations in this lawsuit are similar to the allegations made by former NFL players against the NFL in a lawsuit relating to concussions and head injuries. That lawsuit settled for $765 million this past summer. See The NFL Settles Lawsuit Related To Concussions And Permanent Brain Injuries For $765 Million
However, Belcher’s wrongful death lawsuit also alleges something different than the allegations in the lawsuit filed by former NFL players. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the former Chiefs general manager was mentally abusive to Belcher and that the mental abuse was intended to motivate Belcher to play through his injuries. According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Belcher became insane as a result of the constant bullying pressure, stress and concussions.
Though everyone knows the risks associated with playing football, such as head injuries and concussions, it is one of the most popular sports watched and played in the United States.
In the last few years, there has been an increase in awareness of traumatic brain injuries sustained by football players due to the lawsuit filed by former football players against the NFL and reports of numerous high school and professional players’ deaths due to head injuries.
Players who sustain traumatic brain injuries as a result of hits suffered while playing football may be entitled to compensation. If the coach, trainer or team physician allow a football player to return to a game without proper medical evaluation after the player sustains a concussion, they can be held liable if the player sustains a second hit resulting in a permanent brain injury. The coach, trainer or team physician would be negligent for allowing the player to return to the game when he should not have.
If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury while playing a contact sport due to someone’s negligence, feel free to contact Daniel O’Brien, Esq. to schedule a free legal consultation. 877.944.8396