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Contrasting Outcomes of Sports-Related and Non-Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury
by: Bruce H. Stern of Stark & Stark  -  Stark & Stark Newsroom
Friday, January 26, 2024

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a rising concern, especially in the context of sports-related injuries. A recent observational cohort study, conducted as part of the CENTER-TBI project, aimed to compare the outcomes of individuals with sports-related TBI and non-sports-related TBI. This summary explores the study’s findings on the characteristics and outcomes of these two groups, with a particular focus on the implications for victims of brain injuries. 

Key Findings: 

The study analyzed data from 4509 patients, including 256 with sports-related TBI and 4104 with non-sports-related TBI. After adjusting for clinical and demographic differences, the study found the following: 

  1. Improved Recovery for Sports-Related TBI: Individuals with sports-related TBI experienced better recovery at 6 months in terms of symptoms, mental health, and health-related quality of life compared to those with non-sports-related TBI. 
  2. No Difference in Functional Outcomes: Despite the better recovery in certain areas, there was no significant difference in functional outcomes between the two groups. This suggests that both sports-related and non-sports-related TBI can have similar long-term effects on functioning. 
  3. Persistence of Impairment in Sports-Related TBI: Even individuals with mild sports-related TBI and negative imaging findings still faced a degree of disability, with 31% experiencing incomplete recovery at 6 months.
  4. Psychological Well-being: The sports-related TBI group had lower prevalence rates of anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and postconcussion symptoms compared to the non-sports-related TBI group at the 6-month mark. 

Perspective of a Personal Injury Attorney: 

As a personal injury attorney who helps victims of brain injuries, these findings carry significant implications. While it is encouraging that individuals with sports-related TBI had better recovery in certain aspects, it is essential to address the persistence of impairment, even in mild cases. This highlights the importance of clinical follow-up and support for all TBI patients, regardless of injury severity. 

In cases involving sports-related TBI, it is crucial for attorneys representing victims to understand the complex nature of these injuries. The study highlights that functional limitations can persist, emphasizing the need for ongoing medical care and rehabilitation for brain injury victims. Attorneys play a vital role in ensuring that TBI victims receive proper compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and long-term care needs. 

Furthermore, the lower prevalence of psychological symptoms among sports-related TBI patients raises the importance of psychological support for all TBI victims. Attorneys can help ensure that the emotional and mental well-being of their clients is adequately addressed and accounted for in legal proceedings. 


The contrasting characteristics and outcomes revealed in the study emphasize the need for comprehensive care and support for all TBI patients, regardless of the cause. While sports-related TBI may have some advantages in terms of certain recovery measures, it is vital to recognize the persistence of impairment and the potential long-term consequences. Attorneys specializing in personal injury cases related to brain injuries have a crucial role in advocating for the rights and well-being of TBI victims, ensuring they receive the medical and psychological support they require for a successful recovery.

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