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Seeking compensation for concussion injuries

Steve Wagner

For parents with children who participate in sports, it can be difficult to learn of a fall or tackle resulting in several complications, or even death. Although rare, these incidents do occur. They highlight the fact that children playing sports can sustain serious injuries.

Cases in point: Recently an Indiana high school football player had to undergo multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation following a brain injury he suffered during a football game in Warsaw. Similarly, a 15-year old Niceville, Florida football player Taylor Haugen was rammed by two tackles during a game. The impact of the tackles was equivalent to that of a high speed car accident. Shortly after being hit, Haugen collapsed on the sidelines and later died from severe internal injuries to his liver.

Cheerleading equally dangerous: Many people mistakenly believe that cheerleading is a “safe” sport. In reality, the sport of cheerleading can lead not only to concussions, but even more dangerous injuries. Studies have revealed that cheerleading is responsible for 66% of catastrophic sports-related injuries. Among cheerleaders, these injuries reduce lifespan and increase the chances of permanent disability.

What is a concussion: A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is caused by a sudden bump or blow to the head that can change the way the brain functions. These injuries can be serious and if not given proper care can lead to lasting symptoms. In most cases, a concussion does not result in loss of consciousness. Concussions often occur in physical sports like football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. They can also occur in non-contact sports and recreational activities. Concussions can result, for example, from falls on both the playground and at cheerleading practice.

Figures that speak: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 300,000 sports-related concussions occur in America per year. Many of these concussions go undetected. In some cases, players are unaware of concussion symptoms and continue to play. Many coaches and trainers rely on the player to determine his or her ability to stay in the game after heavy impact. Research shows that high school athletes are among the most vulnerable to concussions.

Immediate effects of a concussion: Some of the immediate symptoms of a concussion are headache, dizziness, increased irritability and depression lasting as long as 6 weeks. Daily activities are also disrupted to a certain extent. Close to 10% of those suffering from a concussion take approximately 10 days to recover. Concussions are cumulative in terms of effect, so it is important for athletes to communicate all known concussions to their doctors, trainers and coaches.

The occasional fatal complication: Second impact syndrome is a rare fatal event that occurs when there is massive brain swelling. This typically occurs when the student athlete receives a second blow to the head while still experiencing symptoms from the initial concussion.

Who is liable? In the case of high school athletes, the responsibility should be on the school faculty and medical staff to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and to get the athlete immediate help. The Indiana Concussions and Head Injuries Law became effective in July 2012. Indiana Code 20-34-7-4 states that a high school student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a head injury must be removed from play at the time of the injury and may not return to play until the athlete has received written medical clearance.

If your child has been injured and you are concerned about a possible concussion or other sports injury, get immediate medical attention. For more information and a free consultation, contact the brain injury lawyers at Wagner Reese.

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