Ocala High School Sports Brain and Spine Injury Lawyer
High school sports offer a great opportunity to teach young people teamwork, get exercise and create healthy habits that will follow them into adulthood, and instill a work ethic. However, playing sports, particularly football, comes with a risk. In fact, according to research 40.5 percent of all high school sports concussions comes from one sport: football. Moreover, for every year of high school football played, individuals double their chances of developing the deadly neurodegenerative disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the disabling and fatal results of which are seen later in life, according to the New York Times. Football is also the leading high school sport when it comes to broken necks, broken backs, and spinal cord injuries resulting in death and paralysis.
Brain and Spine Injuries
A brain injury—or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to be more specific—occurs when the brain is jarred or slammed around inside the skull, resulting in bruising, bleeding, swelling, and/or the tearing of shearing of brain tissue. A concussion is one form of TBI. Others include contusions or coup-contrecoup injuries, diffuse axonal injuries, and penetration brain injuries. Symptoms include headache, memory loss, loss of consciousness, mood changes, lethargy, nausea, loss of appetite, and more. A spinal injury is any damage to the spinal column (bone) or spinal cord (nerve). A broken neck or back without damage to the spinal cord is a seriously traumatic injury that can cause permanent damage, pain, and loss of mobility. Any damage to the spinal cord itself results in some degree of paralysis.
What the Liability Waiver Covers
Before your son was able to lace up for the first practice, a parental liability waiver must have been signed and submitted to the school. In rare cases, a coach or school admits a student to play without a waiver, but 99 percent of the time, this release of liability document or “release form” is valid and prevents victims from suing schools over inherent risks from the sport, of which there are many in football. A normal or inherent risk of the sport may be as minimal as a sprained ankle or as severe as a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis during a normal play. However, release waivers do not actually release the school system from all liability.
Returning to Play Too Soon
If a player is forced or encouraged to return to the field too soon following a suspected TBI, either during practice or a game, the school can be held liable for secondary brain injuries.
Failure to Warn Students of TBI Risks
Schools and coaches have a duty to inform players of the dangers of TBI and of playing through a concussion.
Failure to Diagnose
Coaches have a duty to inform students and parents of suspected brain injury, and to encourage or demand that the player seeks medical treatment for proper diagnosis. Failure to do so can lead to a lawsuit.
Other Acts of Negligence
Other instances in which a student athlete may be able to successfully win a lawsuit against a public or private school include:
- Victim was not provided proper safety equipment, pads, or helmet;
- Coach encouraged use of performance enhancing drugs or narcotics;
- Coach forced a player to do something dangerous against their own will, such as not allowing water during a hot practice resulting in heat stroke and brain damage; and
- Coach taught or encouraged dangerous or banned tackling methods, such as head down or spear tackling, which has a high rate of spinal injury according to studies.
An Ocala High School Sports Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you are a parent to an injured child, we understand your concern and emotional distress at this time. We can help you seek compensation for your child’s medical bills, future lost income due to disability, pain and suffering, and other damages. For more information about your options, call our Ocala personal injury lawyers at the Glover Law Firm today at 352-484-0775 to schedule a free consultation.