Our Illinois brain injury lawyers were incredibly saddened to read this weekend about a high school football player who died after a Friday night game. The USA Today reported on the tragedy that struck in the third quarter of the varsity football game with many fans, students, parents, and friends looking on. Apparently, a lineman on one of the teams was hit hard during a play and fell face-first onto the field below. Teammates became immediately concerned as he did not get up.
At first, it was assumed that the player would be alright, because he rolled over onto his back by himself and was talking to coaches and trainers. He eventually sat up on his own, but he complained of a very bad headache. When he tried to stand up, he collapsed. He was taken by an ambulance to a local hospital. When he was being transferred to a larger hospital, his condition suddenly started to deteriorate. The ambulance turned around to go back to the closer hospital to perform emergency care. However, there was nothing that the doctors could do to save the student’s life after the head injury, and he passed away.
Obviously the tragedy has sent shock waves through the community. It is never easy to lose a young teenager, and it is particularly sad when the death occurs during a community sporting event. While deaths caused by a single hit on the football field are rare, football head injuries are much more common than many might suspect. In fact, our Illinois sports injury attorneys are very familiar with the severity and frequency of head injuries that occur because of contact during athletic events. New studies which show a rise in brain injuries of this kind have increased concerns from all of those in a position to prevent and treat these injuries which affect young athletes.
Many have concerns about the steps taken to protect those most susceptible. For example, there is some medical evidence which suggests that the equipment currently in use to protect players is inadequate to prevent long-term injuries. Even when football helmets appear to be working at keeping players safe, these injuries are notoriously difficult to identify and symptoms can arise only later. Even the young man in this case who succumbed to his injuries seemed like he would be fine immediately after the incident.
The increasing awareness of these injuries make it less excusable for those in a position to prevent these injuries from occurring to not do everything in their power to keep student-athletes safe. When it comes to equipment, it is vital that only safe equipment be used and that it be inspected on a reasonable schedule to ensure that it remains capable of protecting students as needed. Many schools have football helmets reconditioned every year and require each to undergo a safety screening before students are allowed to use them in a game. In fact, some state legislatures have taken matters into their own hands. Laws continue to be passed which mandates these equipment screenings. On top of that it is often now required for schools not to allow students to play who show symptoms of a concussion, brain injury, dizziness, or headaches.
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