The Cost of a Concussion

Concussion Infographic

The NFL’s concussion settlement has brought a lot of attention to the issue of concussions in the NFL. More than ever players past and present are thinking about the risks associated with head injuries and how they may be affected.

It’s now known that repeated concussions can lead to diseases related to traumatic brain injury. Early dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and CTE are all degenerative brain diseases that can result from multiple concussions over the course of an NFL career.

From a medical and personal standpoint these diseases are costly because they can result in memory loss, confusion, loss of impulse control, muscular weakness and even death. We wanted to examine what the associated financial cost for some of these diseases would be though. What we found may surprise you…

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

First, we looked at dementia and Alzheimer’s and the costs associated with treatment. Based on the NFL settlement, payouts are available to retired players who meet the qualifications and show signs of early or moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Depending on the diagnosis, those payments can reach $3.5 Million. So, how much of that would go to treatment and care?

Well, based on our research we found that Alzheimer’s can cost $40,000-$50,000 a year to treat, especially if the patient lives in an assisted living facility. This means that treatment for a 40 year old who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to repeated head trauma while in the NFL will cost about $1.75 Million for the rest of his life. That’s a massive sum!

This figure also doesn’t account for all of the unpaid hours friends and family spend trying to help their loved one with this terrible disease. When you start to add in those hours the number is well north of $2 Million. Costs like this can bankrupt families.

Depression

Depression was another condition that we wanted to look at. The reality that repeated head trauma can cause depression and erratic behavior really came to the forefront with the tragic suicide of Junior Seau. Depression is dangerous because many people who have it feel stigmatized and fail to get care. But, even when they do seek care people who suffer from depression often find the costs staggering.

Anti-depressants can cost $200 a month. Then there’s therapy which can cost $240 for an hour session. Start to add up those costs as well as the costs of lost wages due to a lack of productivity and you can see costs of about $20,000 a year. A 40 year old retired NFL player who struggles with depression for the rest of their life due to repeated head trauma can spend more than $890,000 on care.

ALS

Thanks to the efforts of the ALS association and their Ice Bucket Challenge awareness and money for ALS research are at all time highs. Sadly, what we’ve discovered is that repeated head trauma as suffered by many former NFL players can cause this degenerative disease.

There is no cure for ALS and treatment is very expensive. Medical costs alone can run over $30,000. That includes costs for medicine, medical equipment and doctor visits. Add in the indirect costs of need for care, lost wages and more and ALS can costs families over $60,000 a year. A person diagnosed with ALS at 40 can spend over $2.2 Million over the course of their life on treatment.

Now What?

The astronomical costs of treating these diseases combined with skyrocketing health care costs makes the diagnoses a frightening proposition for many families. What’s even more frightening though is the thought that you could have one of these diseases and not even know it.

That’s why we at Weisberg & Associates are encouraging all retired NFL players who qualify for the NFL’s concussion settlement to get tested. Call us and we’ll help you get an appointment setup with a board certified neurologist at no cost to you. They will be able to examine you for signs of neurocognitive impairment and if you show symptoms, you may be eligible for a payout from the NFL.

Make sure that you get the money you deserve for the care that you need. Contact us today.

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