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NFL player brain damage and disability benefits

Personal injury lawsuits are shedding light on the permanent injury and disability caused by compounded brain injury over the course of an NFL player's professional career. Are players eligible for disability benefits? How does a brain injury victim document injury to the Social Security Administration?

If you or someone you love has suffered a brain injury in California, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. An experienced attorney can help you protect your rights.

A professional football player filed a claim with the Social Security Administration and the agency accepted his disability claim in 2007. His application cited trauma-related brain damage. While the SSA accepted his claim, he is frustrated by the NFL's position which has awarded his pension, but designated him as disabled by "non-football causes." Most likely, this is to avoid corporate responsibility for the injuries.

Increasingly, traumatic brain injury and severe disability caused by compounded brain injuries have been reported by players. Victims often suffer physical and cognitive impairment, even wrongful death. For the NFL, acknowledging responsibility for these serious injuries and impairments could mean liability. In addition to personal injury claims, victims and their families should also have fair access to disability benefits.

The 45-year-old ex-NFL player whose claim was acknowledged by the SSA, but called "non-football" injuries by the NFL, has suffered severe memory loss and has been unable to work for six years. According to the player, he sustained at least 20 concussions while playing football for the NFL.

These injuries were never questioned by coaches or the NFL, even when he was comatose for two or three days and unable to move. He is one among thousands of players joining injury lawsuits, however it is unclear whether the "non-football" related injury status affects his pension.

Source: NBC, "Former Chargers 49ers LB Steve Hendrickson in cognitive decline," Darin Gantt, July 2, 2012.

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