All team sports carry some risk of injury. Yet American football is certainly among the most injury-prone sport played here in the U.S. Each year, countless football injuries – from knee and ankle injuries to shoulder separations, lacerations, contusions and more – occur on high school and college football fields. Yet head injuries, including concussions, have drawn the most attention lately—and for good reason.
Once shrugged off as simply an unfortunate byproduct of the violence and culture of football – “He got his bell rung; he’ll be alright…” – football-related concussions are no laughing matter. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the amount of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years. Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages eight to 13 years old has doubled, while in the last decade alone, concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19.
According to headcasecompany.com, high school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent of concussions occurring during practice. After football, ice hockey and soccer pose the most significant head health risk.
Head impacts and concussions caused by contact sports are a growing epidemic among young athletes. When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal. Professional football has worked to address player safety in recent years, and so too have high schools and colleges. Today, many established head injury procedures and protocols apply before, during and after football games. These are designed to identify concussion-related symptoms on the spot, and when necessary, prevent student athletes from re-entering the field of play until cleared to do so by medical personnel.
Consider a hypothetical example: Johnny, a wide receiver on the varsity football squad, sustains a helmet-to-helmet collision with another player, then falls to the ground and briefly loses consciousness. After trainers revive him and get him to his feet, Johnny is visibly woozy and needs help getting off the field.
In this case, all signs point to head trauma, and assuming head injury protocols are in place, trainers and the team’s medical staff initiate these protocols. The team and its personnel are now doing what they’re bound to do.
Still, procedures and protocols are not fail-safe. Football games (and other team sports as well) are fast-paced, dynamic events with many activities all occurring either at once, or in rapid succession. While today’s concussion protocols do work to varying degrees, some student athletes find their way back onto fields of play with concussion-like symptoms.
In an alternate scenario, let’s suppose Johnny gets to the sideline, then tells his coach and the trainers he feels fine. For whatever reason, the coach lets him back in the game a few plays later without having Johnny undergo concussion protocols. In this case, the protocols were not followed, despite obvious signs that a head injury was entirely possible. Consequently, the team personnel and school district could be held potentially liable for Johnny’s pain and suffering.
When head injuries occur, and policies and procedures aren’t followed correctly by coaches, staffs and school officials – or worse, when they’re not even in place – legal implications can come into play. Moreover, those injuries can permanent long-term brain damage if second or even third head impacts occur. In fact, cumulative sports concussions are shown to increase the likelihood of catastrophic head injury leading to permanent neurologic disability by 39 percent.
In cases where (1) policies and protocols were not followed properly by school and medical officials, or (2) such policies were not in place when a concussion or head injury occurred, victims and their loved ones may be entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering as a result of negligence that may have occurred.
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If you, a family member or a friend sustained a concussion or head injury while playing football or another school-sponsored team sport, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our head injury attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced head injury lawyers of NRS have handled a variety of head injury cases over many years; we fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.
In the event you or a loved one sustain a concussion or head injury, contact the head injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.