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Pop Warner Settles Lawsuit for Suicide

Pop Warner Football settled a lawsuit with a Wisconsin woman whose son committed suicide allegedly due to head injuries incurred while he played football as a child.  Debra Pyka filed the suit against Pop Warner because her son, Joseph Chernach, played in the league as a child and thereafter suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  Chernach suffered several concussions while playing football, and the lawsuit alleged that his CTE, as well as Post Concussion Syndrome, was to blame for the emotional, behavioral and cognitive problems that led to his suicide.  The lawsuit alleged that Pop Warner failed to properly warn parents that playing tackle football with helmets, the weight of which is disproportionate to children’s heads and necks, could lead to permanent brain damage.  The settlement was for an undisclosed amount, however the New York Post reported that it was for less than the $2 million dollar insurance policy that Pop Warner has for each athlete.

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain which is caused by repetitive hits to the head.  While CTE is associated with concussions, repeated hits which do not cause concussions may also lead to CTE.  The degeneration of the brain is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, dementia and problems with impulses and control.  CTE has been in the news lately, as the NFL has acknowledged a link between football and CTE, and several NFL players have been diagnosed with the disease – including several who committed suicide.  The Boston University CTE Center found CTE in 23% of the brains it studied from youths who played tackle football, and 96% of the brains it studied from former NFL players.

If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury due to the negligence of another person or organization, and the injury has led to long term cognitive issues – be it CTE or otherwise – you may be legally entitled to fair and just compensation.  If you have any questions about whether this applies to such an injury, feel free to contact Plattner Verderame, P.C.  We are honest lawyers who spend our days helping honest people.