Concussions in sports: Legal recourse in California

Categories: Brain Injury
concussions in sports

Concussions in sports are an unfortunate part of the game. Blows to the body or head cause trauma, bringing potential physical, cognitive, and emotional consequences. Concussions are not always serious, but even mild or moderate events can produce lasting effects, and simply by their occurrence, these concussions put affected athletes at greater risk for subsequent injuries.

Reach out to a California brain injury lawyer from Ernst Law Group after you or your child sustains a sport-related concussion. You may have legal recourse to hold negligent parties accountable for your losses.

How common are sports concussions?

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can range from moderate to severe. Those participating in sports, whether playing at recreational, competitive, or professional levels, are at risk of sustaining a concussion. Rough contact with other players, the ground, a ball, or other equipment can cause “transmission of direct or indirect impulsive forces to the head,” an impact that typically leads to concussion.

An article in Neurology Clinical Practice states incidents of sports concussions are on the rise, and their effects on patients’ long-term cognitive function have been documented more frequently. More specifically, the article states:

  •  About 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the United States each year, and about 50% of concussions go unreported.
  • Concussion rates have increased, at almost double the rate, for athletes of all ages, according to studies of collegiate, high school, and elementary-school-aged children.
  • Between 35-62% of high school and college-level sports concussions go unreported.

Both contact and non-contact sports produce concussions. Concussions happen when the brain “shakes” inside the head, and any jolt to the body can make that happen. According to the article “Sports-Related Head Injury” published by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cycling caused 64,411 concussions during a recent year, American Football caused 51,892, basketball caused 38,898, and soccer caused 25,965. Meanwhile, exercise led to 37,045 concussions.

What are the effects of a concussion in sports?

A variety of symptoms may follow a sports-related concussion, and those affected typically experience one or more of the following:

  • Headache
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Irritability or emotional change
  • Drowsiness or sluggishness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Unsteady gait
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems with vision

According to the University of Utah Healthcare, these initial symptoms may resolve, but not all victims experience a full recovery, with some sustaining additional long-term effects. Less than 50% of adults who sustain moderate or severe concussions return to pre-injury levels of functioning after a year.

Further evidence indicates concussions are cumulative. Sustaining a concussion puts individuals at greater risk for additional concussions and ongoing long-term effects, such as depression and other behavior changes. This is especially true for those who do not allow time for healing between injuries.

Are there laws related to sports concussions in California?

The problem of participants sustaining a concussion in sports has gained attention in recent years, and California has passed concussion laws to protect young athletes involved in school sports or youth sports organizations. The laws govern the number of weekly practices, how coaches or supervisors must respond when an athlete sustains a head injury, and concussion-related educational programs coaches or other relevant parties must complete each year.

Other legislation governs football helmet regulations. An experienced California traumatic brain injury attorney will investigate your case–or your child’s–to determine whether the sports organization provided the helmets or other equipment required under these laws.

Can I get compensation for a sports-related concussion?

You may have grounds to pursue a claim and collect compensation for your damages.

First, get immediate medical attention following a sports concussion or even if you suspect a concussion. Even a minor blow to the head warrants professional attention. Then, connect with a California brain injury lawyer from Ernst Law Group.

If failure to comply with state laws caused your child injury, your attorney will fight to hold the at-fault parties accountable. The law requires sports organizations to notify parents or guardians if a child was removed from participation because of a head injury. Without notification, parents lose the opportunity to get the child immediate and critical care, a lapse that could lead to severe consequences.

Adult leagues and sports equipment manufacturing companies must also comply with safety regulations. If a defective or poorly designed product contributed to your discussion, or if a product falsely claimed to meet safety standards, your attorney will work to find proof of negligence and hold the at-fault party accountable.

Ernst Law Group gets results

Sustaining a concussion is a frightening experience, especially considering the potential long-term effects. Ernst Law Group is here to help you secure compensation for your losses and possible future needs from the party whose negligence contributed to your concussion. We offer free consultations, so there is no risk in contacting us online or calling (805) 541-0300 to speak with a knowledgeable California brain injury lawyer from our team.