We often think of sports injuries as being “part of the game.” When players are injured, it is easy to forget that sometimes there may be a responsible party, and the injury may not be an accepted risk of playing the sport.
Student Athlete Injuries
One subject that has gotten much attention nationally is the proliferation of concussion injuries suffered by professionals. Even the NFL has instituted a number of guidelines designed to recognize and treat concussions. School and recreational leagues are only now starting to realize the concussion problem and consider ways to protect student and child athletes.
Aside from concussions, there are a number of situations in which negligence can cause injury to student athletes. In many cases, the equipment that is used or the fields that kids play on may have defects. Damaging a knee may be the cause of simply playing football, but it should not be caused by a poorly maintained football field.
In many cases, equipment such as pads or helmets are ill fitting and may not only contribute to injury, but cause them.
Even when a child athlete is injured through nobody’s fault, questions must be raised as to whether the injury was treated quickly and properly. More and more courts are recognizing that leagues and schools have an obligation to have full first aid equipment on site, people trained to use them, and the ability to call emergency services if necessary.
Concussions are Growing Concern
The Maryland general assembly is considering a bill that would require a coach be suspended for allowing a child with a suspected concussion injury, to continue to play a sport.
Some who oppose the bill are concerned that many schools or leagues do not have the resources to have medical professionals on site at every event. Thus, they are concerned that it may be impossible for coaches and staff to properly recognize concussion injuries, especially with older athletes,who may conceal symptoms in an effort to stay in games. In some cases, the symptoms of a concussion may not be apparent until hours after the injury or hit.
Still others feel that better equipment, or rule changes to the game itself, are better answers than legislating punishments to coaches.
Parents Still Have a Right to Recover
It is important to remember that regardless of what happens to the bill, coaches—along with any other adults who supervise student athletes and children—always have an obligation to safeguard the players. Any coach, league, school or organization that allows a knowingly injured child to remain in a game, could be considered negligent and liable for the child’s injuries.
The bill being considered would only require the coaches be suspended or punished. It does not alter whatever right may exist to file a civil suit for personal injuries.
Do not try to analyze injuries to children on your own. Speak with attorneys who understand the special legal obligations owed to children. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss getting reparation for your injuries.