Millions athletes, from young children to professionals, suffer sports-related injuries each year in the United States, with many suffering serious injuries and even death. While generally accidental, sometimes these injuries can involve negligence and warrant legal action.
In one highly publicized case, Kline & Specter, P.C. in November 2009 settled a lawsuit against La Salle University for $7.5 million for a 19-year-old football player who suffered a concussion in practice and was cleared to play again before he was fully healed. Preston Plevretes suffered profound brain damage when he was hit during a punt return play in a subsequent game. (See the news stories)
Even though parents sign school liability release forms, there can be exceptions if an injury results because of negligence. This can include a coach pushing an athlete too much, improper gear (such as a defective football helmet), insufficient supervision, poor training, inadequate medical care, or unsafe premises such as playing fields or courts.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious sports-related injury that may have been caused by negligence, you may want to contact a sports injury lawyer for a free evaluation of your case.
Statistically, the highest injury rates are reported in sports that involve contact such as football, basketball and soccer, but numerous injuries also are seen for baseball. Cheerleading also is an activity for which injury rates are relatively high. (See Cheerleading Injuries)
A case similar to that of Preston Plevretes occurred recently in Washington state when a 16-year-old football player suffered a severe brain injury after he was sent back onto the field too soon after a concussion. And another suit was filed in New Jersey by the family of a high school football player who died after he was sent into a game three and a half weeks after suffering a concussion.
Sports-related deaths are rare, with the majority resulting from brain injuries. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about one in five traumatic brain injuries suffered by children and adolescents. The majority of brain injuries are suffered in accidents involving bicycling, skateboarding and skating.
In the Washington state case, the serious injury to high schooler Victor Lystedt resulted in the state legislature enacting one of the nation's most rigorous laws protecting young athletes from severe brain injuries. The law requires athletes who sustained concussions to get clearance from a licensed medical professional before returning to the playing field.
The National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that about 3.5 million children get hurt each year in the United States playing sports or participating in recreational activities, with about 775,000 treated in hospital emergency rooms.
And that is just children 14 and younger. High school athletes, because of their size and athleticism, can suffer more severe injuries, particular in contact sports. Most sports-related injuries result from falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion. And most, 62 percent, occur not during games but in practices.
Kline & Specter, is a Philadelphia-based law firm with some 30 attorneys, several of whom are also doctors, with the experience to handle personal injury cases including sports injuries. Contact a sports injury attorney today.
- Sports-Related Injury Cases on the Rise in Pennsylvania: The Legal Intelligencer 9/24/13