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Unsportsmanlike Behavior Can Lead to Trauma Brain Injury

The name of any game is to win in a sportsmanlike manner. This applies to any sports whether it is baseball, football, hockey and lacrosse. Children’s involvement in any type of sports activity should always be prefaced with this admonition.

Take the game of lacrosse. It is a fast paced, highly competitive sport that is growing in popularity, in high schools and colleges across the nation. But like any sports activity, it is fraught with danger and risks of injury to its players. Injuries to the legs are common, as well as head injuries.

The rules of the game for lacrosse players are substantially different for boys and girls. Boy’s lacrosse is classified as a “contact” sport, meaning that because a higher level of player contact is allowed, the boys are required to wear protective gear including padding, facemasks, mouthguards and helmets. Girl’s lacrosse on the other hand is considered a “non-contact” sport, and although the players are not required to wear protective gear, there is still a risk of injury to the players.

Concussion Injuries and Lacrosse

Whether it is a boy’s lacrosse team (contact sport) or a girl’s lacrosse team (non-contact sport), both teams are subject to the risk of head injuries, including traumatic brain injury leading to concussions. Head injuries are very common in lacrosse, partly due to a defensive move called stick checking.

What is Stick Checking?

Stick checking is allowed in both boy’s and girl’s lacrosse games. This is a means by which one player uses his or her lacrosse stick to knock the ball out of their opponent’s possession. Sometimes the ball is not the only thing that is hit. In the heat of the game, occasionally the stick may make contact with another part of the opponent’s body, usually the head, by accident or by design.

There is a specific technique to be used when stick checking to avoid a foul. However, in no case is the opponent allowed to use the slick to club the other player over the head with it, as in the case of Ellie Yenor and Kendalle Holley.

Kendalle Holley vs. Orange County, Florida, et al.

During a high school lacrosse game between Timber Creek High School and Florida High School, Yenor who was playing for Timber Creek was seen (via video) to have hit Holley in the head with her lacrosse stick in what looked like a deliberate act. Despite the fact that Holley showed signs of distress after the assault, neither the referee nor any other school official made any effort to remove Holley from the game in order to assess the extent of her injuries, nor was Yenor reprimanded for the assault. The game continued, and after the game, Holley collapsed from what appeared to be a result of her head injury and was later diagnosed to have suffered a concussion injury.

Holley and her family have filed a lawsuit against Yenor, Orange County, Florida, and the Florida High School Athletics Association for negligence.

Traumatic brain injury and children’s sports activities must be monitor by the adults present, whether it is the child’s parents or school officials. To do otherwise creates an unsafe environment for children that can be avoided.

Minor concussion injuries, if treated early may not cause any residual or long lasting effects. If there is any suspicion that your child has been injured in a sports related activity, immediate medical attention is a must. And if you feel that negligence or some intentional act is responsible for the injury, consult with an experienced brain injury attorney. Call the law offices of Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.