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Spotting Concussions In High School Athletes - By A PA Sports Injury & Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Even though these last two weeks marked the beginning of many schools in Pennsylvania, fall sports teams, such as lacrosse, soccer, football and field hockey, have already started try outs and team practices prior to the first day of school.  Parents whose kids play contact sports need to be aware of concussions and know how to spot concussion symptoms.

Concussions are head injuries that may lead to permanent traumatic brain injuries if they are not properly diagnosed.

Signs of concussions include, but are not limited to:

  • loss of balance,
  • headaches,
  • memory loss,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • blurred vision,
  • double vision,
  • dizziness, and/or
  • confusion, such as being unaware of the surroundings, a delay in answering questions, or having a blank expression.

When players suffer from concussions during a practice or game, they need to stop playing.  If they do not stop, they are at risk of sustaining a second head impact which often results in a permanent traumatic brain injury.

For instance, a player is hit hard during a football game.  He gets double vision and has a hard time staying balanced while walking to the sideline.  Rather than letting the player sit out the rest of the game, the coach tells the player to go back into the game.  The player is then hit again by a linebacker and falls to the ground.  Only this time, he does not get up.  He loses consciousness and is transported to a hospital.  As a result of the second hit, he suffers from a permanent brain injury. 

If the coach had benched the player after the first hit, he would not have sustained a secondary impact. He would have recovered from his concussion with rest.  In this instance, the coach may be liable for the player's permanent brain injury because of his negligence, i.e., he failed to recognize that the player had a concussion and continued to let him play.

Related: The Devastating Effects Of A Second Head Impact After A Concussion In Contact Sports

Parents also need to know that signs of concussion may not be immediately apparent.  Symptoms may develop or get worse after several days.  Therefore, just because an individual seems fine after a hard hit does not necessarily mean he did not suffer a concussion. Parents need to keep a close watch on their teenaged children after a hard hit.

In addition, parents need to talk to their children about concussions.  Young players often don't want to disappoint their coaches and may tell their coaches that they are fine after sustaining a hard hit, when in fact, they are not.  They may not inform their coaches that they threw up or that their heads hurt in order to stay in the game.  They may try to shake it off.  This is a mistake.  Thus, it is important for parents to talk to their children about sports injuries and that they need to inform their coaches of any pain and/or injuries they may be experiencing.

Treatments For Concussions

Unfortunately, there is no medical "cure" for concussions.  The best way to treat a concussion is to allow the brain to recover.  Treatment recommendations for concussions often include physical and mental rest.  They should avoid sports, vigorous activities, essentially anything that requires physical exertion.  They should also limit activities that require concentration and thinking.  That means limiting watching television, playing video games, reading, using a computer, etc.  If they have to do school work, they should take breaks often.  After symptoms improve, then individuals may gradually add more activities.  However, make sure the doctor says it's okay to return to normal activities.

Concussions & Permanent Traumatic Brain Injuries Due To Negligence

If an athlete sustains a traumatic brain injury as a result of a coach's negligence, the athlete has legal rights.  They may file a sports accident injury lawsuit against the coach/school/sports organization.  If the injured athlete is a minor, i.e., under the age of 18, then the minor's parents or legal guardians would have to file suit on the minor's behalf. 

Injured individuals may recover financial compensation for the following in a PA sports related traumatic brain injury lawsuit:

  • medical expenses,
  • lost wages, if any,
  • pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering damage is different for everyone.  It depends on how the brain injury affects the individual's life at work, school and/or home. 

Help After A PA Sports Accident Resulting In A Traumatic Brain Injury

Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. has helped many athletes after they sustained traumatic brain injuries, head injuries and other sports related injuries.  He has helped a bicyclist who was hit by a car while riding in a race and a recreational bike rider who suffered a traumatic brain injury due to an ill-fitting helmet after falling from the bike.

If you would like to explore your legal rights after a PA sports related or brain injury, call Mr. O'Brien to schedule a FREE consultation.  877.944.8396

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