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Back to school means back to the field for many young athletes. While sports leagues invite cooperation, teamwork, and dedication among participants, injuries are also an inevitable downside to such after school activities. Regardless of whether your child is in a school-affiliated or other recreational club-type league, it is critical to recognize the risks of sports participation.

How Can Youth Sports be Dangerous?

Football is the logical starting place when discussing sports injury concerns. With constant forceful contact with one another, football players are at perhaps the greatest risk of personal injury in comparison to other contact sports. The recent series of National Football League (NFL) cases brought helmet safety concerns specifically to the forefront. Federal courts consolidated these matters in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The suit, among other things, involved helmet company Riddell. Coincidentally, a man recently recovered damages in an action against the same football helmet manufacturer. The 22-year-old man was injured playing high school football in 2008.

Injuries arising from contact sports such as football, soccer, rugby, and hockey can be particularly catastrophic. While all sports can result in sprains, breaks, or fractures, contact sports are a leading cause of concussions and other traumatic brain injury among youth today. Pennsylvania-based Main Line Health estimates that such accidents contribute to more than twenty percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children. Further, according to the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, Inc., 21,000 Pennsylvania children between the ages of 0-14 suffer a brain injury annually. Including adults, over two thousand Pennsylvanians die from brain injuries each year.

Children and Concussions

Concussions are the sports-related injury that receives the most attention, and with good reason. Concussions can be minor or extremely severe, given the circumstances. In short, a concussion is a brain injury caused by contact. The most problematic aspect of the concussion may not be the injury itself, but the failure to diagnose it properly. Many athletes will “tough it out” instead of seeking help when they bumped their head. A coach may not be properly trained in determining what symptoms to look for in a concussion or may forget to tell the parents about the incident.

These failures to diagnose can have long-term consequences on the athlete. A children’s hospital’s research looked at the long-term effects of multiple concussions and determined that many people had cognitive problems later in life. This includes poor memory and slow reaction speeds. Additionally, each time a person suffers a concussion, the effects of the injury can be more detrimental the next time they sustain such injury.

How Can I Protect my Child?

Regardless of the amount of contact a given sport requires, injuries are always possible. This does not mean your child should not play sports. It simply means you should be cognizant of the possible consequences. Stay involved, keep up to date with coaching staff, and learn the signs of a concussion.

When things do occasionally go wrong, it is usually attributable to one of the following:

-       Inadequate supervision;

-       Failure to report incidents;

-       Failure to warn of known dangerous conditions;

-       Defective equipment;

-       Poorly maintained premises; or

-       Other player/coach negligence.

The body and brain are designed to withstand a lot of physical contact. The best thing to do is to watch out for the above failures and err on the side of caution when it comes to brain injuries in particular.

What if my Child Was Injured Playing Sports?

If you suspect your child has been injured on the playing field due to negligence, equipment failure, or for any similar reason, please contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Solnick & Levin, LLC for a complimentary initial consultation. Seeking legal counsel in this situation is the best way to ensure your child’s rights will be protected. We can make sure they will be justly compensated for physical injury, medical bills, or emotional trauma to the full extent the law allows.

Photo Credit: Monica’s Dad via Compfight cc


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