Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. Unfortunately, every year too many children suffer injures to the head while playing football. 21% of all the traumatic brain injures among American children can be attributed to sports and recreational activities; and, although it is rare, brain injuries are the leading sports related cause of death.
Traumatic Brain Injury is caused by a blow or jolt to the head, or penetration. These can be severe or mild. It is relatively easy to diagnose a severe brain injury. Two players collide and one looses consciousness. You call the ambulance.
However, the mid TBI may not be so obvious. The child may be dizzy or “out of it” for a few moments, but can rally himself to finish the game. Should he go back in? What if he has blurred vision, headache, nausea, or has memory loss? Those are all symptoms of a brain injury.
Young people are particularly susceptible to concussions because their brains are still developing. If they suffer an injury to their brain, they need more time to recover. If they don’t, they can suffer permanent brain damage.
While there are many situations that can lead to a concussion, football has a high concussion rate among its million plus youth players. The statistics belie the seriousness of the problem because many of these injuries are not recognized.
All 50 states have legislation to address the issue of sports injuries in children. In Missouri it is know as the “Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act.” The law deals with education about injuries and requires:
- A youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or brain injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time and for no less that twenty-four hours.
- A youth athlete who has been removed from play shall not return to competition until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions as defined in the guidelines developed under subsection 1 of this section and receives written clearance to return to competition from that health care provider.
The Missouri law also requires school athletic organizations to publish “an annual report relating to the impact of concussions and head injures on student athletes which details efforts that may be make to minimize damages form injuries sustained by students participating in school sports.”
The purpose of these laws is to prevent and identify youth sport related injuries; however, not all are prevented or addressed appropriately.
Unfortunately, sometimes children are injured because of the carelessness of adults who are responsible for keeping kids safe while they are engaged in sports. In some cases children and young adults have been harmed by being put back in the game after an injury or the athlete has no received appropriate care and injury has resulted.
If your child suffered a head injury playing football or another organized sport, call an attorney at Tatlow, Gump, Faiella and Wheelen for a free consultation.