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Domestic abuse victims have brain injuries like NFL players

Many people in Virginia have heard about the traumatic brain injuries that affect professional football players. While football-related brain injuries are making big headlines, less is known about the brain injuries that are sustained by victims of domestic violence. Repeated blows to the head can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and some researchers believe that there are many domestic abuse survivors with this condition.

In 2014, Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice was videotaped knocking his fiancé out in an elevator. Following the incident, the media speculated about whether the NFL player's past concussions might explain his violent behavior. Though Rice's finance was videotaped going unconscious after she was struck in the head, the media didn't comment on her brain injury.

Many victims of domestic abuse are hit in the head regularly over long periods of time. A domestic abuse survivor said that her abusive ex-partner would strike her in the head rather than other parts of her body so that no one would see any bruises. The woman moved into a homeless shelter, but she still suffers from memory loss, confusion and headaches that may be linked to the past abuse.

A person who is in a relationship with an abusive partner may be worried that they will not be safe if they leave. An attorney may be able to help a domestic violence survivor file criminal complaints and petition for an emergency restraining order. If the domestic abuse victim is married to their abuser and has children with him or her, an attorney may be able to help that individual file for divorce and petition for full child custody.

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