If you or a loved one is actively involved in sports, you know that injuries come with the territory. Sports injuries, such as sprains, fractures and muscle strains are a normal part of sports. They can be easily dealt with and athletes can return to what they love doing most, sports.
However, some athletes are unfortunate enough to experience serious injuries with lasting effects. Sports related brain injuries are suffered all too frequently by athletes at all levels. This injury results from great external force or trauma to the head. The force may be as a result of being hit by an object or another player or hitting the ground or other stationary objects with your head. The impact shakes the brain and causes damage to part of the brain.
While brain injuries in sports are still common, today there is much greater awareness of the risks than there was even a few years ago. Athletes of all ages are aware of it as are coaches. You can see that awareness when you watch an NFL game or when you watch a high school basketball game. Coaches know that you don’t mess around with concussions because they may result in serious long term brain injuries.
Athletes who experience traumatic brain injuries may experience:
- Problems with their memory
- Difficulty in writing and speech
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Permanent disabilities
These symptoms and many other effects of traumatic brain injuries can have a great impact on the life of the victim. Many victims are unable to carry out basic daily tasks.
Some symptoms of head injuries such as headaches and nausea are often ignored. Athletes with minor traumatic brain injuries are put at risk of repeated brain injuries when they continue taking part in sports. This can lead to serious physical and cognitive dysfunction down the road. It is therefore important for parents and athletes to be aware of situations that put athletes at greater risk.
There are various people at different levels that can be held accountable for a traumatic brain injury suffered by an athlete. In order to support a claim of liability, the defendant must have been negligent in some manner and that negligence must have put the athlete at risk of serious injury. Examples of these situations include:
- Lack of safety equipment
There are risks involved in playing any game. Safety precautions should therefore be taken to prevent injuries. Safety equipment, such as helmets, guards and padded clothing are used to protect the body and especially the head from injury. Negligence can be proven by a failure to provide this safety equipment – even during practice. It can also be shown in providing defective equipment.
- Lack of or failure to comply with medical assessments
When an athlete is injured, it is important for a medical assessment to be carried out immediately. If it is shown that the player has suffered a concussion or a blow to the head, the appropriate treatment must be given. Failure to carry out assessments or ignoring the results can be considered negligence, particularly if that failure leads to a severe injury.
- Encouraging rough play
Some athletes are encouraged to play more aggressively than is necessary. This type of play can result in serious injuries including brain injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries can be life changing. It is important to take the necessary steps to ensure athletes are protected and compensated for their injuries. Get in touch with an attorney to understand your legal rights.