Category Archives: College
The latest issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter examines concussion litigation arising from youth sports to high school athletics, as well as the collegiate and professional ranks.
We also look at recent research and litigation in the manufacturing space, such as a recent judicial opinion involving the former officers in a helmet reconditioning company and the False Claims Act.
Here is the Table of Contents for the December issue:
- The Wait is Over – NHL Concussion Class Action Lawsuit Finally Filed
- Concussed Football Player Claims He Was Denied His Constitutional Rights
- Student Athletes Pepper NCAA with Lawsuits, One Focuses on What NCAA Knew About Susceptibility to Future Concussions
- Brain Still Injured from Concussion After Symptoms Fade
- Court Holds for Plaintiffs in Case Involving Reconditioned Helmets and False Claims Act
- A New Potential Area of Liability Exposure to Equipment Manufacturers
- Student Athlete Sues School District for Slow Response to Concussion
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new clinical report that suggests that student athletes may need to take a break from the classroom after suffering a concussion.
In the clinical report, “Returning to Learning Following a Concussion,” released late last month at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, the AAP offers guidance to pediatricians caring for children and adolescents after suffering a concussion.
“Students appear physically normal after a concussion, so it may be difficult for teachers and administrators to understand the extent of the child’s injuries and recognize the potential need for academic adjustments,” said Mark Halstead, MD, FAAP, a lead author of the clinical report. “But we know that children who’ve had a concussion may have trouble learning new material and remembering what they’ve learned, and returning to academics may worsen concussion symptoms.”
Research has shown that a school-aged student usually recovers from a concussion within three weeks. If symptoms are severe, some students may need to stay home from school after a concussion. If symptoms or mild or tolerable, the parent may consider returning him or her to school, perhaps with some adjustments. Students with severe or prolonged symptoms lasting more than 3 weeks may require more formalized academic accommodations.
The AAP recommends a collaborative team approach to help a student recovering from a concussion. This team should consist of the child or adolescent’s pediatrician, family members and individuals at the child’s school responsible for both the student’s academic schedule and physical activity. Detailed guidance on returning to sports and physical activities is contained in the 2010 AAP clinical report, “Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents.”
A symptom checklist can help evaluate what symptoms the student is experiencing, and how severe they are.
“Every concussion is unique and symptoms will vary from student to student, so managing a student’s return to the classroom will require an individualized approach,” said Dr. Halstead. “The goal is to minimize disruptions to the student’s life and return the student to school as soon as possible, and as symptoms improve, to increase the student’s social, mental and physical activities.”
Because relatively little research has been conducted on how concussion affects students’ learning, the AAP based its report primarily on expert opinion and adapted it from a concussion management program developed at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Center for Concussion in Denver, Colo. The AAP calls for further research on the effects and role of cognitive rest after concussion to improve understanding of the best ways to help a student recovering from a concussion.
Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38) has sent a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) asking it to ensure that college athletic departments are taking proper action to protect players from head injuries.
The recent death of Derek Sheely, a 22 year-old football player and student at Frostburg State University, who suffered a head injury during football practice and later died, was the catalyst for the letter, according to a press release.
“Something is clearly wrong when a player like Mr. Sheely is allowed to return to the playing field despite suffering a head injury,” she said. “It is time for the NCAA to review its concussion policy and take stronger measures to protect the safety of its students.”
Her office went on to cite the following stats: “Between 2004 and 2009 there were more than 29,000 reported concussions in college sports, with more than half of them occurring in football. The NCAA’s current concussion policy varies widely in scope, language and requirements. Furthermore, there are no guidelines in place to ensure that schools are enforcing the NCAA’s policies. A 2010 survey of NCAA trainers found that more than half of the schools did not require student athletes who suffered a concussion to see a physician.”
She added: “Student athletes deserve to know that there are policies in place that will protect them in the event they suffer an injury on the field. Concussions can happen to an athlete of any age, any league, and any sport. These young people might play in non-revenue sports, but that does not mean they should be ignored. My hope is that the NCAA will further focus on head injuries and develop safety plans that encompass all sports, not just football.”
In 2007, Congresswoman Sánchez chaired a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law to examine if the NFL’s player disability plan was adequately serving former players, many of whom suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of multiple concussions. Since then, Congress had held hearings on concussions in the 110th and 111th Congress, “which resulted in greater public awareness and changes to how football teams address player concussions on all levels of play,” according to her office.