Litigation Helps Youth Soccer Safety
There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few months about the hazards of head injuries due to sports. “Concussion,” the movie has triggered important conversations about concussion, the injury. Across Georgia our kids are playing soccer and football every day and parents are concerned about ensuring their kids’ safety. The good news is that more and more is known about the long term effects of repeated concussions. Youth coaches are learning more about these injuries, are hopefully taking these injuries more seriously and many are not sending players back on the field when they need to rest. If your kids’ coach is not engaging in more conservative practices with regard to return to play, it is important to address this issue. The temptation to send a star player back into play is not worth the potential impact on that child’s future.
Changes will be seen on the soccer field. After a lawsuit was filed against all the major soccer associations, a recent litigation settlement includes some big changes to protect youth soccer players. Coordinating with the plaintiff’s counsel in the case, the United States Soccer Federation established a policy that prohibits children aged 10 and under from heading the soccer ball. The litigation settlement also includes educational requirements to make all parties, from referees to players and parents, more aware about concussion. It also places limitations on the use of heading the ball by children from the ages of 11 to 13 years of age. Although the U.S. Soccer leadership claims that they were already about to implement some of these changes, they have issued a statement saying they are pleased the plaintiffs appreciate their efforts and recognition of this important health and safety issue for youth.
Long Term Impact of Repeated Concussion
Soccer has the highest rate of concussion for female players, while football has the highest rate of concussion for male players. Last week, CNN ran a story that included some revealing interviews with a young soccer player. In the interview, the young woman and her parents talked about the chronic headaches that she suffered from numerous concussions and the medications she needs to take to control them. She revealed in the interview that she wanted to get back on the field so badly, at times she did not tell her parents that she was still having symptoms. But she now regrets that. She said that had she known her normal life would be altered by playing after having suffered many concussions, she would not have continued to play until she was better.
Soccer is a great sport and can be played safely. But concussions can happen on the field in contact and parents need to pay attention to this. Although the long term effect of repeated concussions is still under study, it is know that conditions such as mild cognitive impairments (MCI’s) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can result from many concussions over time. The latter has been diagnosed after the passing of professional football players — it can only be diagnosed on autopsy.
Experts now know that it is very risky and unwise to go back into play before recover from a concussion. Returning to play too soon can worsen the damage from the original concussion. This important knowledge is being implemented on the playing field as coaches and players are better educated and realize they must protect their players.
Getting Help After a Head Injury
Concussions require specialized understanding and diagnosis. They are common in auto accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents. Once you have had a sports concussion, and you add to that an injury a concussion in a motor vehicle accident, one’s life can begin to take a major challenge. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the fault of another driver, contact Scholle Law for experienced and expert legal support and medical information. We provide case evaluations for our potential clients for free and we do not get paid until we win for you.