To be a professional athlete in our society, children are trained from
the very start. As soon as their coordination has matured, children are
put into sports programs and camps because of the high value that is placed
on athletic children. Parents have been known to move to sports high schools
where their children can get a first look from scouts, and potentially
make their way up the professional sports ladder to the collegiate level,
and then to the professional level.
The Extent of Inherent Risk in Playing Sports
The amount of status and personal wealth for the sacrifices that professional
athletes make is supposed to ease the extent in which the athlete over
trains and puts his or her body through the ringer. With that said, some
players who get injured may have to cut their careers short and to focus
on new interests or professional paths. However, there are a third category
of men and women who suffer an immeasurable loss for their sport: their lives.
Concussions and Football
Over the last 10 years, scientists have developed a better understanding
of the impact that concussions have on athletes and the extent to which
they devastate an athlete’s brain. Though the National Football
League (NFL) has put into place some measures to guard against concussions
in their players, the measures have a slow trickle-down effect, and the
children who were raised in the sport are still suffering without any
of the glory or money of being professional athletes.
The Frostburg Football Settlement
Within the last week, the family of a Frostburg State University football
player received in a settlement a
$50,000 claim against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for the death of their son who collapsed during football practice, fell
into a coma, and died six days later as a result of a concussion. The
football player died of head trauma - a brain herniation - and an acute
subdural hematoma resulting from consecutive days of full-body contact
NCAA “Play Through the Pain” Policy and its Lethal Effects
Frostburg State University, like many
NCAA-backed Universities, has a “Play through the pain. Do not tell and
complain” attitude that led to the football player’s head
trauma being mismanaged by the team’s athletic trainer. The NCAA
claimed that it had no legal duty to protect the football player but the
Circuit court judge did not agree. The judge held that the NCAA and its
mission statement further evinced that there was, in fact, a special relationship
between the NCAA and the players; the judge also held that the injury
suffered by the football player was the type of injury that was not suffered
as an inherent risk of playing football.
The family of the football player contends that their son died as a result
of second-impact syndrome, where a player, who has previously suffered
from a concussion, receives a blow after the fact and exacerbates the
head trauma, even though the first concussion happened earlier. The football
player had suffered from a concussion in the previous season, and during
the pre-season drills, received significant blows to the head that multiplied
the effect of his previous concussion.
The Future of Concussion-Related Protection Policies for Student Athletes?
This case is just one in a line of many against the NCAA for their lax
handling of other head trauma cases and after-effect of brain injuries
both associated with concussions. The NCAA, according to the claim, was
aware and knew of the dangers of the second impact syndrome and concussion-related
head trauma and did nothing to adopt policies to protect players. This
settlement, among others, will hopefully bring about change in the way
sports programs endeavor to protect their players from fatal injuries.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
Some sports injuries are inherent risks of playing the game. Other injuries
are not. If you or a loved one was seriously injured as a result of negligence,
please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.