Many children of all ages play fall sports which typically include, football and soccer. Sports injuries are also a part of playing sports. There is always a risk of injury when a child or athlete plays a sport. However, some of the injuries can be prevented. When sports injuries occur, the coach, school or sports organization may be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the athlete.
One of the most common injuries associated with contact sports such as football or soccer is a head injury. There are many different type of head injuries, and they range from concussions to permanent traumatic brain injuries.
Recent media attention and research on traumatic brain injuries in the context of sports injuries have highlighted the fact that some of the traumatic brain injuries sustained by athletes could have been avoided and was caused by someone's negligence, i.e., the coaches, trainers, etc.
If a coach does not know the signs of concussion, is not properly trained or does not have the qualifications to be a coach, then he/she is likely liable for an athlete’s brain injury.
A common situation where an inexperienced coach may be liable for a player's brain injury is as follows: a high school football player is hit hard in the head while on the field. As he is walking to the sidelines, he has difficulty walking in a straight line. He is benched for the next several plays while he is examined by the coach. During the examination, the player vomits. After 5 minutes, the player says he feels fine, and the coach lets him get back on the field. He is hit hard again in the head by another player and is knocked down. Only this time, he does not get up and is unconscious. He is rushed to the hospital and sustained a traumatic brain injury.
The football player's brain injury could have been avoided if he was benched for the rest of the game after he was hit the first time. He had a concussion after the first hit, and the coach did not recognize that as one of the signs of a concussion. Players who continue to play with concussions are at a higher risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury if they sustain second impacts. Athletes playing with concussions may also die if they are hit again in the head. See The Devastating Effects Of A Second Head Impact After A Concussion In Contact Sports.
In addition, the school may also be liable because it hired an unqualified coach or did not make sure the coach had proper training on how to recognize the signs of concussions and the risks of brain injuries associated with concussions.
If your child sustained a traumatic brain injury while playing a sport and you would like to explore your child’s legal rights, call Daniel J. O’Brien, a PA and NJ sports injury lawyer. Mr. O’Brien is a life-long athlete and has helped many athletes who were injured and hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence while playing. Call 877.944.8396 to schedule a FREE consultation