Former Golden Bear Football Player Files Medical Malpractice Suit for Traumatic Brain Injury Misdiagnosis
A former player for the California Golden Bears has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the University of California for medical malpractice leading to his traumatic brain injury and suffering.
Bernard Hicks played safety position from 2004 to 2008, and sustained repeated head traumas during practices and games, according to his medical malpractice case. He filed the lawsuit on August 3rd.
Hicks claims in the lawsuit that the university failed to warn players about the dangers of head trauma, and failed to adequately protect the student team from potential traumatic brain injury. Since he finished school and left the team, Hicks says that he suffered “permanent and debilitating” neurological injuries which likely have led to his depression, dizziness, memory loss, blurred and double vision, and suicidal thoughts. He states that the university, along with defendants Jeff Tedford (former head coach) and Cindy Chang (former team physician) should have been more proactive regarding players’ safety, especially when it involved potential concussions or traumatic brain injury.
The team should also have been more responsible for educating the players about long-term dangers involving traumatic brain injury, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative swelling of the brain’s lining that causes serious mood and personality changes, dementia, and even physical degeneration.
“The university is the players’ caretaker,” Hicks’s attorney said in a statement. “We think it would be fair for them to at least inform the players what they’re getting themselves into.”
Hicks’s attorney added that the team willfully and negligently ignored player injuries, especially head trauma, “in hopes to get them to continue to play.”
Cal Athletics, which oversees the University of California’s football team, could not directly comment on the pending medical malpractice lawsuit. However, the group did release a statement saying that they base their care on the “best and most up-to-date clinical guidelines” and that “the medical care we provide our student-athletes meets or exceeds the standards in collegiate and national sports medicine.”
“Our coaches, physicians and medical staff, and everyone involved with Cal athletics, are dedicated to the safety of our student-athletes. While we cannot comment on any student’s specific medical history, we were saddened to read the lawsuit’s statements about Mr. Hicks’ health.”
The lawsuit is similar to one faced by the NFL in the past few years, in which former players who now suffer physical and mental disability related to their time as professional football stars sued the league for their injuries, claiming that the league could have done much more to protect players’ long-term physical health, protect against brain injury, and change their attitude of “powering through” injuries on the field. Because of the prominent lawsuits, the NFL has taken drastic steps to change their regulations to actively educate and assist players with their own safety during pre-season training, as well as during games.