Sports Concussions and Head Injuries

Monday, November 9, 2015

Every year, millions of adults and children are injured while participating in an athletic or recreational event. While there is a certain assumption of risk associated with every sport or recreational activity, sometimes significant injuries are caused by the negligence of another person. Dangerous property conditions, negligence of a teammates or opponents, and improper head or body protection equipment are chief causes of sports accidents; which can occur in all varieties of sporting games such as: soccer, baseball, football, hockey, basketball, tennis, wrestling, racquet ball, horseback riding, and swimming. Determining negligence of any kind typically involves a thorough investigation of the incident and/or the equipment used. The key to keeping your rights protected is getting informed and contacting an experienced attorney to ensure you and your loved ones safety.

Facts and Misconceptions about Concussions

A concussion usually occurs when the head accelerates and then is stopped suddenly or it is spun rapidly. Many people incorrectly believe that a concussion is a bruise to the brain caused by the head hitting a hard surface. In fact, bleeding or bruising of the brain is typically not seen during radiological exams after a concussion has been sustained.

Common symptoms of concussion can consist of headache, blurred vision, nausea, memory loss, confusion, lack of motor coordination, loss of consciousness and even convulsion. Symptoms typically subside within a few weeks, although complications may arise or worse, permanent brain damage may occur. Treatment usually involves monitoring and rest, with a gradual return to normal activities. Often, medications are prescribed to counteract the symptoms, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other anti-inflammatory medication.

Key concussion statistics

• 42% of student athletes who suffered a concussion returned to the game too soon after the injury

• 16% of student athletes who suffered a concussion and lost consciousness returned to play the same day

• 18% of Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) victims are under the age of 18. SIS is a condition in which a second concussion occurs before the injured person has healed from their first concussion. SIS symptoms can include rapid and severe brain swelling that can cause death. Even a very mild second concussion can result in SIS.

• Neurologists believe once a person suffers a concussion they could be 4 times more likely to sustain a second one and after several concussions it takes less force to cause another one.

Severity of a Concussion

Following a concussion, various pathological events may occur. The brain may enter into a state of hypermetabolism and incur a reduction of cerebral blood flow. During which time, the brain is susceptible to changes in intracranial pressure, blood flow and anoxia (decrease in oxygen level). These events may cause other symptoms and you should be under physician’s care during your recovery from a concussion.

Concussion has an almost zero mortality rate. Post-concussion symptoms are seldom permanent, and prognosis is typically excellent. However, periodically, complications can arise possibly leading to intra cerebral hemorrhage, brain swell, or other permanent physical, mental or emotion deficits. Recurring concussions may result in accumulative traumatic brain damage as in dementia or second-impact syndrome.

Contact an Attorney

Many schools and recreational teams have implemented the "When in Doubt...Take Them Out!" sports-related concussion prevention campaign, which is designed to empower coaches, parents, athletes, and school administrators to effectively prevent, recognize, and respond to concussions. If you or a loved one believe that the proper prevention tactics were not implemented or followed or believe that negligence was a factor in your injury, you must contact an experienced attorney immediately to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Practice Areas: 

Accidents & Injuries