When your child plays sports at the high school or college level, more than likely an injury will sideline them at some point. It’s a risk many are willing to take because they love competing so much. But in recent years, athletes and parents have become more aware that sometimes suffering an injury isn’t just an unlucky break. Sometimes, a sports injury involves negligence by another party too.
Head injuries in sports
For example, in early December, eight international rugby players announced they were contemplating suing their sport’s authorities because of head injuries they’ve received while playing. They claim that World Rugby, the English Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union have been negligent in protecting them from concussion risks. Also, an attorney who has met with the players says that many former rugby participants between the ages of 20 and 50 now suffer from neurological problems.
The potential lawsuit puts the dangers of head injuries in sports back in the news. In 2013, thousands of former NFL players won damages because they now suffer from dementia and concussion-related health problems. The NFL had to pay out more than $1 billion because the players claimed the league hid information about the long-term consequences of repeated concussions.
Since the NFL paid former players for damages, the league has instituted several new rules to reduce the risk of player concussions. It also redesigned player helmets and began a program to teach those in youth sports how to avoid concussions. Plus, those NFL players who do suffer concussions can’t play until they pass a specific protocol after their symptoms have subsided.
Football players, and other athletes, also have sued schools, coaches and athletic trainers for pressuring them to compete despite struggling with injuries. Or for not treating their injuries according to medical best practices.
What to do about a serious sports injury
If your child suffered a serious sports injury and you feel someone else was negligent for that injury, you should consult a personal injury attorney. You may be able to recover damages if that injury led to a lifelong disability or long-term health problems. By seeking damages, you also can bring attention to negligent actions that could impact other athletes too.