Concussed Football Player Claims High School, Coach Didn’t Follow State’s Concussion Act

Concussion lawsuits are typically high-profile, messy matters, where every ebb and flow of the litigation is splashed across the sports page.

Then you have the lawsuit filed recently in Louisiana against a Baton Rouge high school and its very successful head football coach.

The litigation has not made the papers. But it should.

The father alleged that after his son suffered a concussion that the coach rushed him back to football practice too soon, going so far as to “request” that the trainer “immediately release (him) to begin football practice.” The plaintiff claimed that his son was cleared at the coach’s “insistence and without performing any evaluation.” This, the plaintiff alleged, ran counter to La. R.S. 40:1299.182, the Louisiana Youth Concussion Act (Act).

On May 7, 2014, the player did return to football practice and shortly thereafter was allegedly ordered to perform “head roll drills down the length of the football field” as “punishment.” Midway through the drill, he allegedly advised the coaches that “he was unable to complete the drill because of his prior concussion and that he was also dehydrated due to a lack of fluid provided during practice.” Nevertheless, he was allegedly ordered to continue to drill or he would be removed from the team. He resumed the drill, but begin experiencing dizziness, nausea, and a partial loss of consciousness. The plaintiff claimed that “no evaluation or medical intervention of any kind” was offered to his son.

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CONCUSSION Gets Coveted Slot at Movie Festival

The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that the World Premiere of Sony Pictures’ CONCUSSION — starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith, written and directed by Peter Landesman, and produced by Ridley Scott, Giannina Scott, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman and Elizabeth Cantillon — will be the Centerpiece Gala of AFI FEST 2015 presented by Audi. The honored event will take place at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on Tuesday, November 10. Available now at are festival passes for purchase, which ensure reserved seats for sold-out Galas and other high-demand films and events.

“AFI FEST is the perfect stage to unveil CONCUSSION, and we are privileged to have been chosen as the Centerpiece Gala,” said Ridley Scott and Giannina Scott, two of the film’s producers. “CONCUSSION is a powerful and uncompromising film about an issue that was ignored for far too long and continues to play out today. It’s a story that had to be told, and we were determined to tell it right.”

“Although the film doesn’t open until Christmas, with all of the recent debate about it, we are excited to show it sooner so that the discussion can be more informed,” added Tom Rothman, chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. “CONCUSSION is a great American immigrant story. An outsider, whose greatest aspiration is to belong, takes on an American corporate Goliath at incredible personal risk. His only weapon is the knowledge that he is right and his belief that in America, truth will prevail. We are so grateful to AFI FEST for giving us this opportunity.”

The trailer for the film can be viewed here:

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Concussion Injuries in Sport — Who Is Liable?

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in October issue on Concussion Litigation Reporter. To subscribe, visit

By Charles O’Brien, of Penningtons Manches LLP

Sports bodies in the UK are being told that they should not ignore the costly legal cases running in the United States brought by former American football players. In the US more than 4,500 former American football players sued the NFL, accusing it of hiding research that had shown the harmful effects of concussions, while glorifying and promoting violent play. The NFL, without any admission of liability or causation, paid out $765 million to settle claims, medical exams and research.

The connection between brain damage and concussion has been made for decades and examples include the boxers Mohammed Ali and Michael Watson, and Jeff Astle, former England forward who died of a brain tumour from heading heavy footballs. In the US and Canada, ice hockey players have experienced devastating symptoms of brain damage after a playing career that included frequent fights and concussions.

Safety measures such as better helmets in cycling, helmets for batsmen in cricket and head guards in amateur boxing have been introduced but how can the risks be reduced to an acceptably safe level? If the level of contact in these sports is diminished, so might the level of interest in them. Who would want to watch a World Cup of touch rugby, football where players are not allowed to head the ball, or a boxing match without punches to an opponent’s head? There have already been resignations over new concussion protocols in rugby that potentially slow the game down making it less interesting to watch and a recent spat between Jose Mourinho and his pitch-side medical staff that highlighted the tensions between the need for medical intervention and the desire to win.

There are difficult legal questions involved … (to subscribe, visit

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