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Playing sports provides many benefits including improved cardiovascular health, stress relief, camaraderie, and so much more. Unfortunately, sports can also be dangerous and result in injuries and trauma. In severe instances, athletes can suffer from brain injuries that affect them for the rest of their lives. Suffering from a traumatic brain injury in sports can be devastating, and survivors and their families are left to deal with medical, financial, and legal challenges. If you or a loved one suffered a head injury in sports or brain injury in sports, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact a sports head injury lawyer today to find out whether you qualify to participate in a sports head injury lawsuit.
Athletes can suffer from a variety of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and head trauma. A traumatic brain injury is a severe blow or jolt to a person’s head or body that disrupts the brain’s normal functioning. Traumatic brain injuries can also come from an object penetrating the brain’s tissue. TBI symptoms depend on the extent of damage to the brain and can be mild, moderate, or severe.
The most common traumatic brain injuries in sports are:
Concussions result from sudden movements that cause the brain and head to dramatically jerk back and forth. This can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull creating chemical changes and brain cell damage. A concussion is the most common traumatic brain injury in sports, and multiple concussions can have long-lasting, cumulative effects.
A contusion is a bruise on the brain resulting from an impact to the head. Brain contusions can occur directly at the point of impact, known as a coup contusion, or on the opposite side of impact, known as a contrecoup contusion.
A hematoma is a blood clot on the brain that forms as a result of ruptured brain blood vessels. Hematomas can affect the brain’s dura, dura lining, and the brain’s deep tissues. Hematoma clots can press against the brain leading to loss of consciousness, seizures, and confusion.
A skull fracture is a break in the bones surrounding the brain. The severity depends on the type and location of the fracture. If the skull bones break but remain in place, it is less likely that brain damage will occur. But in some instances, pieces of bone can cut into the brain and cause bleeding and severe brain damage.
Concussions are the most common traumatic brain injury in sports. It is estimated that 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur every year in the United States. A concussion in sports can result from athletes colliding, a player falling and hitting his or her head, a piece of equipment hitting a player’s head, or even from headers in soccer.
Concussions alter a person’s mental status and can disrupt the brain’s normal functioning. Athletes who suffer from multiple concussions risk sustaining long-term, cumulative damages. When players sustain a concussion, it’s important to grade the injury to ensure he or she does not continue playing when they should not. Severity on a concussion depends on:
If you believe that you or someone else might have a concussion or sports-related head injury, make sure to take the right steps to prevent further damage. Stop the sport you are playing, tell a coach what happened and that you or the person might be injured, then seek proper medical attention. If you’re playing on a team, ask to be taken out of the game. If you notice a teammate or player on the other team showing signs of confusion or loss of coordination, let the referee or the player’s coach know. If you are coaching a team and notice a player with a potential brain injury, take them out of the game and ensure they receive proper medical attention.
It’s crucial that players suffering from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury receive proper medical care. Players who have suffered concussions should not return to play until cleared by a medical professional. Undiagnosed or untreated injuries could lead to long-term impairment and disability. Although death from head injuries in sports are rare, traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of sports-related deaths.
Concussions and brain injuries frequently affect athletes in both contact and non-contact sports. The sports with the highest incidence of concussion in the United States are football, hockey, rugby, soccer, and basketball personal injuries. Among males, traumatic brain injuries were most common in cycling, football, and basketball. The largest number of sports and recreation-related concussions among females occurred during cycling, playground activities, and horseback riding. Across all demographics, the rates of reported concussions significantly increased for those who play on multiple sports teams. There are also higher numbers of injury in more niche sports, such as sliding sports brain injuries consisting of bobsled, luge, and skeleton.
Traumatic brain injuries and CTE have been connected to Football with many retired football players developing serious mental and physical impairments resulting from years of head trauma. This research has caught national news attention, been the feature story on international news outlets, been written about extensively, and even been the inspiration for a number of documentaries and a major motion picture.
There are many ways to reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injuries in sports. Preventing head injuries requires players, coaches, and officials to exhibit sportsmanship and follow rules and regulations. Some keys to preventing head injuries in sports are:
Using the Correct Equipment —Make sure that all players wear the right protective equipment and that they are using the equipment properly. In sports that require helmets, ensure they are well-maintained, age-appropriate, certified for use in the specific sport, and worn consistently and correctly.
Creating a Safe Culture — Coaches and officials should foster a culture that reduces athletes’ chances of serious injury. This requires actively ensuring all participants understand rules, conduct themselves with maturity, and exhibit respect towards teammates and opponents.
Check the Playing Surface — Many sports-related head injuries come from athletes falling due to inadequate, ill-maintained playing surfaces. Make sure to perform regular safety checks on sports fields and courts. Cyclists, skateboarders, and rollerbladers should avoid uneven or unpaved surfaces.
Enforcing the Rules — Enforce the rules of the sports to maintain fair play and safety. This means making sure athletes avoid actions that are unsafe such as trying to injure opposing players, using their head or helmet for contact, striking opposing athletes in the head, and making illegal contact.
Research has shown that female athletes are more likely to sustain concussions than male athletes. They also report more severe symptoms and endure longer recovery times. This could be because of hormonal differences, increased angular acceleration at the neck, or differences in neck strength and sizes.
The medical community currently does have any female-specific guidelines, protocol, education tools, or care plans specific to women. Research on sports brain injuries has often been centered on male athletes, and generalized medical guidelines could be insufficient for women. It is important to consider these differences before concluding an athlete is fully recovered.
Dealing with a sports brain injury, either directly or by helping a loved one, is a difficult experience. It can feel emotionally draining, intimidating, and expensive. At Tor Hoerman Law, we understand the pain and suffering in dealing with a brain or head injury in sport. If you have suffered a sports-related head injury, our team of sports head injury lawyers will work with you to help you understand the legal system and receive the compensation and relief you deserve. We are happy to discuss your potential sports brain injury lawsuit for free and with no obligation. Contact us today to learn more about how a sports head injury lawyer can help you.
The first step in any personal injury lawsuit is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you have suffered a brain injury in sports, you should contact a sports head injury lawyer right away. Your state statute of limitations bars you from taking legal action after an allotted time, so do not hesitate to seek legal aid right away.
Once you have successfully contacted a sports head injury lawyer, you need to begin the steps to filing a sports brain injury lawsuit. You may want to familiarize yourself with the steps in the civil litigation process before you move forward.
You should begin collecting evidence as soon as possible after the injury has occurred. In a sports brain injury lawsuit, some of the best evidence to support your claim includes medical bills, personal accounts, witness testimony, and first responder reports. Any and all evidence should be well-documented and organized. Your sports head injury lawyer will be able to determine all the evidence that you may need.
You should also actively work to mitigate further injury by seeking medical attention right away and following your doctor’s orders.
Your sports head injury lawyer will help you to assess the damages that you incurred as a result of the injury – depending on the situation, you may choose to make a demand for both compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Your sports head injury lawyer can also help you to determine liability – which party(s) is liable to provide compensation for the damages that you incurred. Because many sports injuries occur on privately-owned premises, you should familiarize yourself with the concept of premises liability. Your sports head injury lawyer may determine that the premises owner is liable for your injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in sports, contact TorHoerman Law for a free no-obligation sports brain injury lawsuit consultation. At TorHoerman Law, our sports head injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, so we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best possible result for their brain injury in sports.
Brennan, Dan. “Head Injuries (Contusion, Hematoma, Skull Fracture): Causes, Treatments, Headaches After.” WebMD, WebMD, 22 Sept. 2018, www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/head-injuries-causes-and-treatments#1.
“Concussion and Sports.” BrainLine, 28 Aug. 2018, www.brainline.org/article/concussion-and-sports.“FEMALE BRAIN INJURY.” Pink Concussions, www.pinkconcussions.com/brain-injury.
“Sports-Related Head Injury.” American Association of Neurological Surgeons, www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Sports-related-Head-Injury.
Wilberger, James E., et al. “Skull Fracture - Injuries and Poisoning.” Merck Manuals Consumer Version, Merck Manuals, www.merckmanuals.com/home/injuries-and-poisoning/head-injuries/skull-fracture.
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