It is no secret that NFL players often sustain concussions and head injuries. However, the issue of permanent brain injuries has been highlighted in recent years, especially with the lawsuit filed by more than 5,000 retired football players against the NFL alleging that the NFL hid the dangers and risks of concussions from the players. The lawsuit settled earlier this year. See NFL Concussion Lawsuit Resolution-PA NJ Head Injury Lawyer.
In an attempt to reduce concussions and head injuries, the NFL has banned players from tackling with a blow from the crown of the head. In its 2015 Health and Safety Report, the NFL reported that concussions in regular season games have gone down by 35% since 2012.
The report also discussed initiatives the league is taking to reduce concussions, such as helmet testing and clinical trials for new types of imaging studies to better identify concussions.
Many NFL teams have also been considering a different tackling style where players tackle each other lower, i.e., grabbing the other person’s legs.
Despite the NFL’s efforts to reduce concussions, this football season is not off to a great start. With only a few weeks into the football season, there have already been 29 concussions according to Frontline, which has ongoing coverage on concussions in the NFL. One of these concussions was sustained by a Philadelphia Eagles football player in week 1. *Source: www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/concussion-watch (Concussion Watch - FRONTLINE tracks officially reported head injuries in the NFL.)
It is crucial for football players to be medically cleared before stepping back on the field to play or practice after sustaining a concussion. If not, they are at risk of suffering a secondary impact which often leads to a permanent brain injury.
Professional football teams have doctors waiting on the sidelines to help football players who sustain injuries or concussions. However, high school football teams do not have doctors standing on the sidelines to help the players. The coaches are the ones who have to evalutate their players. Coaches need to know the signs of concussion and know when to bench a player after a hit. Even if a coach is unsure about whether a player has suffered a concussion, it is better to be safe than sorry and bench the player. If the coach lets a player back into the game and the player sustains a permanent brain injury as a result of a second hit, the coach/school/sports organization may be liable for the player’s injuries.
If you were injured in a sports related accident and want to inquire about your legal rights, call Daniel J. O’Brien, Esq. to schedule a FREE consultation. 877.944.8396