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Wisconsin Family Files Lawsuit against Pop Warner Football League after 25-Year-Old Committed Suicide Due to a Degenerative Brain Disorder

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2015 | Personal Injury

The family of Joseph Chernach has filed a lawsuit against Pop Warner for failing to warn families and players about the harms of head trauma. Specifically, that Pop Warner failed to train coaches properly, did not use helmets that were safe enough, did not teach children how to properly wear their helmets, and did not limit the amount of hitting in practice. Mr. Chernach’s mother, Debra Pyka, alleges that Joseph Chernach’s repeated blows to the head from playing football for several years beginning in 1997 resulted in the development of the neurodegenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, and resulted in her son’s depression and suicide.

CTE affects a person’s brain by developing large deposits of certain proteins that damage the regions of the brain associated with mood regulation. As a result, people suffering from CTE often suffer from depression. Like many neurological disorders, CTE is irreversible.

CTE is a condition that is associated with repeated brain trauma. Individuals typically suffering from CTE include members of the military, victims of domestic abuse, and participants in high contact sports such as boxing or football. In the past few years, CTE has been linked to multiple high profile suicides of former NFL players such as Jovan Belcher and Hall of Famer, Junior Seau. However, CTE’s link with high contact sports has been documented as early as 1928 in peer-reviewed articles in medical journals. After an examination of Joseph Chernach’s brain tissue, Dr. Ann McKee of the Sports Legacy Institute confirmed that Mr. Chernach suffered from an advanced stage of CTE.

Traumatic brain injuries can have very dire consequences, often resulting in the development of irreversible neurological disorders and even death. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a traumatic brain injury, it is important to understand your right to recover. Contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 800-594-4884 for a confidential consultation.


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