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Repeated concussions leave football players with brain injuries

A former NFL player is receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits because repeated head injuries during his career have resulted in early onset dementia. Steve Hendrickson played for the 49ers and the Chargers, and had a notable high school and college career. Today, he has significant short-term memory loss and cannot work. He receives Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

A former NFL player is receiving social Security Disability (SSD) benefits because repeated head injuries during his career have resulted in early onset dementia. Steve Hendrickson played for the 49ers and the Chargers, and had a notable high school and college career. Today, he has significant short-term memory loss and cannot work. He receives Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Small by NFL standards, Hendrickson was known for his versatility, playing nine different positions in the 1992 season with the Chargers. However, his small size made him vulnerable, and he suffered at least 20 concussions. At the time, concussions were not regarded as serious injuries, and coaches referred to as "dings" or "getting your bell rung." Trainers were not charged with identifying symptoms of concussion, and usually put players on the injured list only when the player reported problems.

He stopped playing professional football after the 1995 season. Within a few years, his family began noticing problems with his memory and concentration. When he was able to get jobs, he often was let go because he would forget to show up for work. He frequently stayed in bed for days at a time with extreme fatigue.

He was awarded SSD benefits in 2007 after being diagnosed with trauma-related brain damage. Today, awareness of the dangers of repeated head trauma is much greater. In the past decade, 18 former NFL players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition in which toxic, cell-killing proteins accumulate in the brain tissue.

Currently, there are 80 lawsuits pending against the NFL, charging the organization with hiding their knowledge of the effects of concussion. Suicide and drug abuse among former players underscore the fragility of players with repeated concussions.

Like Steve Hendrickson, individuals with disabilities caused by brain injuries may be eligible for SSD benefits. At Binder & Binder®, the national Social Security Disability company, our advocates help people who have experienced problems with their SSD claims. Let us help you, too

Source: North County Times, "Cognitive issues plague former Chargers player Hendrickson," July 1, 2012.

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