Dealing with the Danger and Impact of Concussions
Dealing with the Danger and Impact of Concussions Among High School Athletes is Troublesome
Concussion risks endure despite significant effort by educators and medical professionals
Recent studies conducted by the Centers For Disease Control, the National Football League and other scientific and medical organizations reveal the dangers of concussions among athletes. According to these studies, high school athletes are at greater risk of lasting harm caused by concussions.
In 2013, Tennessee became the 44th state to pass a sports concussion law. According to the Tennessee State Department of Health, the legislation was carefully designed to educate coaches, athletes and parents on the risks of concussion prior to an athlete’s participation in their desired sport. The bill also requires an athlete to be removed from a sporting event or practice whenever the potential for a concussion exists, or the athlete displays some symptoms of a concussion. Finally, the legislation requires athletes who have suffered concussions to be cleared by a licensed medical professional before returning to practice.
Despite the existence of the bill, the frequency of high school athlete concussions in Tennessee is troubling. An unofficial study conducted by the Department of Health pinpointed several reasons why concussions are gone undiagnosed or the athlete is allowed to return to practice without care. The most common factors include:
- Lack of education: Despite the state’s concussion bill’s requirement of all coaches and parents to be educated on the symptoms of a concussion, it is difficult for any single individual to know everything on the subject. Concussion symptoms range from athlete to athlete, making it difficult to clearly identify a single set of symptoms to look for.
- Lack of set policy: In order for a concussion prevention and treatment program to be effective, the school must maintain a clearly defined policy on how to handle a potential concussion. Many schools rely on the digression of a coach or athletic trainer to handle concussions on a case-by-case basis. Fortunately, with the rise in focus on concussion prevention and treatment, more schools are implementing these policies.
- Uncooperative athletes: Many high school athletes are so passionate about their sports that they would risk participation even when demonstrating concussion symptoms. Athletes may avoid mentioning symptoms or downplay the extent of symptoms in an effort to continue practicing or participating in an event or game.
The costs of inaccurate concussion diagnosis and treatment are high
The costs of failing to accurately diagnose or treat a concussion are numerous and wide-ranging. Common costs or repercussions of failure to diagnose and treat a head injury include:
- Increased risk for future concussions
- Risk of temporary and permanent brain injury
- Avoidable medical costs
- Unnecessary pain and suffering to the athlete
Schools may be held liable for an athlete’s injuries
Schools that maintain athletic programs have the responsibility to maintain effective anti-concussion programs and protocols. In short, schools are required to provide the maximum protection for student-athletes.
Should a school and its employees fail to diagnose or treat an athlete’s concussion, they may hold liability for any losses resulting from the negligence.
If your child has suffered a concussion that went undiagnosed or untreated by the coach, trainer or school employees, you may be entitled to compensation for any losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing care and treatment
Understanding your rights in such a situation can be difficult. At Kidwell, South, Beasley & Haley, we have successfully represented several parents and athletes during the search for compensation. Our knowledge of Tennessee concussion and personal injury laws allows us to provide the education you need to understand your rights and your legal options.