From a young age, parents often teach our children to be tough after they trip, fall or bump their heads. Parents try not to make a big deal out of it because we do not want our children to cry every time they have a minor fall or accident. We tell them to brush it off or be tough. This mentality is also seen in sports.
When grade school kids play soccer and run into each other and fall, we tell them to get up, shake it off and continue the game. When football players get up after a hard hit and go right back in the game, we clap and applaud their bravery. However, what we have to realize is that players may have had a concussion and going back to play may result in permanent brain injuries if there is a second impact.
A second impact to the head of a player who sustained a mild concussion earlier may result in permanent traumatic brain injuries. The effect of a second blow is devastating and may be life changing for the player. Even if the player did not sustain a mild concussion from the first blow, he may still be vulnerable to chronic neurological problems if he sustains a second blow.
According to a literature review appearing in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), Dr. Andrew J. Rosenbaum, a co-author of the article said, “Second-impact syndrome can have devastating consequences, including rapid-onset swelling of the brain; worsening function of the brain, spinal cord, muscles or nerves; and instability of normal body functions." Therefore, coaches, players and their parents must be aware of the significant negative effects second impacts can have.
Coaches in organized youth sports must be trained to recognize signs of concussion and the effects of second impacts. Even if a player can walk off the field after a hit, rather than sending the player back in the game, perhaps the player should benched until he is medically checked out. For youth sports, a medical team is often not present on the field. The only people that decide whether the player can go back in the game are the coaches. Most coaches are not doctors, and they should err on the side of safety and prevent the players from going back into the game.
If your child sustained a traumatic brain injury due to the coach’s negligence, feel free to contact the PA and NJ sports injury and traumatic brain injury lawyers at White and Williams. Daniel J. O’Brien, a life long athlete, has helped numerous athletes in their sport injury accident cases due to someone else’s negligence. Dan offers a free initial consultation. 877.944.8396