Athletes of all ages involved in many different sports are at risk of sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI) during the course of practice or play. Like many sports-related injuries, some TBIs are unavoidable and simply occur as part of the game. However, in other situations, the athlete or a young athlete’s parents may have legal rights following a sports-related TBI.
In many cases, sports participants accept the risk that they may be injured. For example, if a parent signs their child up for soccer, they likely assume the risk that their child may suffer a sprained ankle or similar injury from their participation. In some situations, however, injuries may result from the negligence of a coach or sports league and, in such cases, the parent or athlete may be able to recover for their injury-related losses. The following are some examples of negligence that may allow recovery after a TBI from sports.
Failure To Identify A Possible Brain Injury
When an athlete gets hit in the head, the game play should stop and the athlete should be examined for a possible concussion, which is a form of mild TBI. This is true whether or not the athlete lost consciousness and is especially true regarding young athletes. The sports league should have guidelines for a concussion evaluation on the sidelines and if there are any possible signs of a concussion, the athlete should not be allowed to return to the game. If they are and additional complications occur, the sports program should be held liable.
Failure To Provide Proper Safety Equipment
Sports leagues for youth players, student athletes, and professional athletes should all provide the necessary safety equipment to protect every athlete’s head and neck from injury in the event of a direct trauma. While helmets and pads cannot always prevent TBI, they can lessen the risks. Providing inadequate safety equipment or allowing athletes to play certain sports without helmets can lead to liability in the event of a TBI.
Encouraging Rough Play At High Risk Of Head Trauma
Sports should also have rules and regulations regarding safe gameplay that aim to prevent serious injuries such as TBI. If certain coaches or leagues request that players engage in risky behaviors while playing to entertain fans or intimidate other teams, that behavior can often result in TBI and the coaches or leagues may be found negligent.
Downplaying The Risks Of Brain Injuries
In recent years, it has been revealed that certain professional sports leagues purposefully downplayed the risks of multiple concussions in order to keep players on the field, even when they were at risk of long-term brain damage. Former NFL players have recently obtained a historical settlement because the league was found to be negligent in downplaying these risks.
Consult With A Baltimore And DC Brain Injury Attorney Today
If you or your child has sustained a traumatic brain injury in sports and you would like to discuss your rights, please call an experienced Washington, DC and Baltimore brain injury lawyer for help as soon as possible. Call Brain Injury Counsel at 888-387-3878 for a free consultation today.