If your children play football, concussion risks are probably a big worry for you. Unfortunately, your concerns are valid.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia now have youth safety laws in place, intended to address the growing dangers of concussions as a result of playing football, as well as from other sports-related traumatic brain injuries.
Simply put, young football players are at great risk for brain injuries. In fact, a National Academy of Sciences study funded by the NFL found that teen football players are twice as likely as college players to suffer concussive injuries. In some cases — if negligence is a factor — you may be able to file a personal injury claim.
Short- and Long-Term Effects of Concussions
Immediate symptoms of a concussion often include drowsiness, confusion, headache, nausea and blurred vision. In some cases, these injuries cause a loss of consciousness, and many football players suffer memory loss about the circumstances of the injury.
With some injuries, however, symptoms are mild, and the player or coach may not recognize the injury. But even mild concussions can cause long-term or even permanent damage. (The dangers of playing football are dramatized in the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith.
Teens may suffer chronic headaches or migraines, dizziness, insomnia and emotional or behavioral changes. Some also have lifelong issues with learning and memory loss.
Concussions and Youth Football
According to the CDC, athletes who suffer one concussion are at greater risk for experiencing subsequent brain injuries.
Despite these alarming risk factors, many young athletes continue to play after being injured. Some — eager to get back into the game — ignore symptoms. Others, however, are allowed back into a game without a proper medical assessment, or before they have had an adequate chance to heal.
Why does this happen?
Many youth and high school football programs blame a lack of resources to adequately protect players. A doctor or athletic trainer may not be on the sidelines during practices or games. This means that the young, injured players must rely on their coach’s judgment as to whether they should continue to play.
To add to the danger, some school athletic programs do not use helmets approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. This organization is dedicated to the research-based establishment of national safety standards for athletic participation.
Personal Injury Claims for Head Injuries
Not every football-related concussion injury will be a candidate for a personal injury claim, because negligence must be proven.
Players and their families may have grounds to file a lawsuit against coaches, athletic trainers or other responsible parties if the teens did not receive appropriate medical evaluations after the injury. This may also be the case if the players were ordered back into practice or a game without having enough time to completely recover.
The helmet players wore may also be a factor, as unsafe or poorly manufactured models may increase the risk for concussion.
Was your child injured during a football game or practice? If so, contact the Montgomery Dowdle Law Offices in Boise, Idaho, immediately to schedule a free consultation. Your child may require additional or ongoing care for a concussion or other traumatic brain injury as a result of playing football.