Personal Injury Lawyers in Baltimore: Youth Sports Head Injury Claims Continue to RiseNovember 15, 2014
Whether sports-related concussions are becoming more common or families of young athletes are simply more willing to pursue legal action today, lawsuits for head injuries in sports are on the rise. Recent campaigns have helped raise awareness about the risk of severe head injuries causing long-term debilitation to NFL players and other adult athletes. This awareness is helping prompt concern about younger athletes as well, who may suffer head injuries even in seemingly low-key school sports.
A report released last year by the Institute of Medicine examining concussion rates in youth athletes 5 to 21 years old revealed alarming findings:
- There appears to be a higher rate of concussions among high school athletes than among college athletes.
- As many as 10 to 20 percent of youth concussion victims could experience symptoms long past the typical two-week recovery period — for weeks, months or even years.
- Concussion rates were higher in competition settings than in practice.
- Concussions occurred more often in children with a history of concussions and female athletes.
Although enrollment in youth sports like football remains steady, many parents are reconsidering the wisdom of allowing their children to pursue sports with histories of violent injury. Of particular concern are abrasions, cuts, muscle strains, sprained joints and broken bones, in addition to concussions. Parents are increasingly worried that we don’t fully appreciate the potential for harm these sports present, and children may continue to suffer permanent brain damage.
How liable are sports organizers for youth injuries?
In general, parents must sign a consent form or waiver for their children’s participation in sports, but leagues and schools may be liable for injuries that result from misconduct or negligence. Coaches and instructors may also be responsible for injuries if they encourage misconduct, use abusive training methods, push youth beyond reasonable physical limits or fail to provide adequate medical attention to injured players.
Sports injuries to young athletes can affect physical and mental development and impose astronomical medical costs on families. To learn more about taking legal recourse for negligence, consult the personal injury lawyers in Baltimore at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A.