The Mail-Tribune reported late last week on a new brain injury lawsuit that has been filed by the mother of a teen athlete following a football head injury. According to reports, the mother claims that her son was playing in a junior varsity football game for the local high school when he suffered a concussion. The boy, a sophomore at the time, was hit hard in the first quarter and then again in the second quarter. The teen was shaken up by the incident. He told his coaches that he thought he had suffered a concussion. However, those charged with looking out for the player’s health-coaches and administrators-failed to act appropriately in response to the injury. They were playing their cross-town rivals and did not want to lose their player, so the boy’s coaches sent him back into the game. He was told to “try to stick it out.”
Eventually, after going back into the game, the player was hit hard again. This time as he was going back to the sidelines he collapsed and began to have seizures. He also began to vomit. An ambulance was called and the child was rushed to a nearby hospital. He had suffered a serious sports head injury. When he arrived at the medical center he was sent to intensive care and eventually placed in a medically induced coma. As a result of the trouble the now seventeen-year old teen suffered severe brain damage. He had suffered multiple concussions, including a “Grade 3” concussion. He also was diagnosed with post-concussive prolonged seizures, cognitive changes, sensitivity to light, vertigo, headaches, and a variety of other daily symptoms. Doctors have repeatedly explained that the overall injuries are permanent and will have a lifelong impact on his life.
The suit filed by the victim’s mother following the incident alleges that the involved coaches were negligent in failing to recognize the boy’s injury and demanding his removal from the game. At the very least, claims the suit, the coaches could have had the child examined by the qualified athletic trainer that was on the field and available at the time of the injury.
Sadly, accidents like this continue to happen, even though awareness of the dangers of concussions has increased steadily. No longer can coaches and administrators claim that they simply didn’t know that a child suffered a concussion. Particularly in sports where there is contact-like football, hockey, soccer, boxing, and others-it is incumbent upon coaches and administrators to ensure proper screening procedures are in place so that those injured received the treatment and rest they need.
The Illinois brain injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti urge all families who have had children injured in this way to come forward and press for accountability. It is only when victims demand changes in safety protocols are real efforts made to ensure that other children don’t suffer the same fate. Life and death is always on the line when it comes to these head injuries, and so the risks never outweigh the alternative.
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