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$50,000 Settlement Paid to Family of Frostburg Football Player Who Died of Concussion-Related Injuries

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 practices.

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.

Second-Impact Syndrome

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.