The family of 13-year-old James Ransom of Ladera Ranch is saying that a hit he took to the head while playing football led to his erratic and obsessive behavior, which tragically ended in his suicide in November 2016. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the boy was playing offensive lineman for his middle school football team and in September 2015, his helmet collided with that of a boy from an opposing team. After the game, his dad noticed dried blood around his son’s ear, but since James did not complain, everyone moved on.
Severe Mental Health Issues
However, his family says that the boy’s behavior changed drastically after that hit. But he almost immediately returned to practice. James suffered from a variety of symptoms including short-term memory loss, mood swings and erratic, obsessive behavior. He was diagnosed with a concussion after the hit. James attempted suicide three months after the hit and spent months in a mental institution.
He spent months at the neuropsychiatric ward at UC Irvine. He tried to commit suicide twice, once by hanging himself, and another time by attempting to electrocute himself. In November 2016, James took his own life. James’ father, Greg Ransom, is now lobbying for laws to ban tackle football for children under 12.
Studies Spark Concern
Professional football has been mired in controversy since a study by Boston University in July 2017 found chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE in 99 percent of deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated to scientific researchers. While the Ransom family did not have their son’s brain tested for CTE, they are now wondering if his erratic behavior and other symptoms may have been caused by that hit to the head. Recent scientific research has also uncovered more evidence of CTE being brought on by youth football.
A new study from Boston University published as recently as last week found hat those who began playing tackle football before age 12 showed cognitive and emotional symptoms linked to CTE about 13 years prior to those who started after 12. The study also stated that for every year a player played tackle football under age 12, the onset of cognitive issues could be predicted by 2.4 years and behavioral and mood problems by 2.5 years. Scientists have said that their findings are strong enough to cause concern and provoke extreme caution.
Our California brain injury lawyers support these laws against tackle football and hope they will be passed soon so our youth are protected from these types of catastrophic and life-changing injuries. Every school and youth sports league has a responsibility to ensure that kids’ health and safety comes first.