Last night, Athletico Madrid footballer Fernando Torres suffered what has been described as a “traumatic brain injury” during his team’s draw against Deportivo La Coruna; being knocked unconscious following a clash of heads with Alex Bergantinos.
After being taken to hospital, Torres regained consciousness and was said to be recovering well despite the initial seriousness of the injury.
Torres’ injury wasn’t the first of its kind in football this season either; Hull City’s Ryan Mason suffered a fractured skull during a Premier League match against Chelsea and, less than two weeks later, Max Sheaf, also of Hull City was knocked unconscious on the pitch.
These incidents come at a time when head injuries in sport are already being scrutinised. The family of Chesterfield legend Ernie Moss have recently claimed that they believe the dementia he is now suffering from, at the age of 67, is linked to “years of heading a heavy ball and persistent head injuries” and have called on the FA, the Premier League and the PFA to act and stop “burying its head in the sand”.
A great deal of research has gone into the link between sport, in particular football, and neurological problems such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia but footballing bodies have yet to accept the findings or make any changes in the way footballers and former footballers are cared for.
A 2015 study by Purdue University in Indiana found that the force taken by a players head when heading a ball from a goal kick is approximately the same as a punch by a boxer. Last year, Sterling University researchers also found that heading a football has a direct link with profound memory loss. It is also believed that the percentage of ex-professional footballers suffering from dementia is much higher than that of the rest of the population and even includes four members of England’s world cup winning side.
Across the pond, American football governing body, NFL, agreed a staggering £800m total settlement in 2013 for former players in relation to the suffering of conditions caused by head and brain injuries. Although we have yet to see a settlement in football from the FA, UEFA or FIFA, the mounting press, research and pressure from suffering families of victims mean it should only be a matter of time before they must remove their heads from the sand and accept a level of responsibility.
At Farleys Solicitors, we have a team of expert personal injury solicitors with experience of dealing with brain and head injury claims. We have also been included in Headway’s Head Injury Solicitors Directory, an accreditation showing the dedication our solicitors have for providing support and representation for clients who have suffered life changing injuries and conditions through no fault of their own. To speak to one of the team about your claim please call 0845 287 0939 or send an enquiry through our online contact form.