Tag Archives: concussion management protocol
Concussion Lawsuit Puts Focus on Tracking Concussed Athletes After They Leave the Playing Field and Engage in Other School Activities; Experts Weigh In
(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the March issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter)
A high school football player in New York has sued Staten Island and its Education Department, claiming they failed to follow proper city and state protocols when the student participated in a gym class, before he had been cleared from a concussion he suffered on the football field, and suffered a subsequent concussion.
The plaintiff was a member of a junior varsity football team when on Sept. 26, 2015 he suffered a concussion during a game. Protocol dictated that he could not resume athletic activities until he had been declared symptom-free for at least 24 hours and received written authorization from a physician.
Such an authorization must be maintained as part of the student’s permanent health record, according to the complaint. The plaintiff also alleges that the city’s Education Department requires that the prohibition applies to all physical activities within the school, including before- and after-school programs, physical education, recess and leagues.
But on March 16, 2016, during a PE class, he was convinced by his classmates to participate in a field hockey game in the school gymnasium. He suffered a second concussion, when he tripped and fell. This has caused him to suffer from “classic concussion symptoms,” such as dizziness, inability to concentrate and nausea, according to the complaint.
The boy’s mother has alleged …
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The following press release was just issued by the NFL and NFLPA:
Furthering their commitment to protecting the health and safety of NFL players, the NFL and NFLPA today announced an agreement to enforce the NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol and discipline clubs that violate it. Under the new policy, the NFL and NFLPA will follow a strict and fair process to investigate incidents and determine appropriate discipline, including club fines and possible forfeiture of draft picks.
The NFL and NFLPA, in conjunction with their medical advisory committees, implemented the NFL Game Day Concussion Protocol to address the diagnosis and management of concussions. The parties consistently review the Concussion Protocol to ensure that players are receiving care that reflects the most up to date medical consensus. The new policy sets forth disciplinary action against a club should a member of its medical staff or other employee fail to follow the Concussion Protocol.
According to the policy, the NFL and NFLPA will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations. The investigation will not reach medical conclusions; it will only determine whether the protocol was followed. Following the investigation, the NFL and NFLPA will review the findings to determine if a violation occurred and, if so, to recommend the proper disciplinary response. If the parties are unable to agree, the matter will be brought to a third party arbitrator. After conducting a thorough review, the arbitrator will issue a report to the Commissioner, NFLPA Executive Director and the involved parties.
As jointly agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, the Commissioner retains absolute discretion in determining penalties for violations of the concussion protocol. Potential disciplinary action includes:
- A first violation will require the club employees or medical team members involved to attend remedial education; and/or result in a maximum fine of $150,000 against the club.
- Second and subsequent violations of the concussion protocol will result in a minimum fine of $100,000 against the club.
- In the event the parties agree that a violation involved aggravating circumstances, the club shall be subject, in the first instance, to a fine no less than $50,000. The Commissioner shall determine appropriate discipline for subsequent violations involving aggravating circumstances.
- In the event that the Commissioner determines that the club’s medical team failed to follow the protocol due to competitive considerations, the Commissioner may require the club to forfeit draft pick(s) and impose additional fines exceeding those amounts set forth above.
The enforcement policy is one of many collaborations between the NFL and NFLPA to improve player health and safety:
- The NFL and NFLPA launched the NFL Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System across all 32 NFL clubs prior to the start of the 2014 season, resulting in more uniform and detailed injury data. The injury data is reviewed annually by the NFL, NFLPA, their medical advisory committees and the Competition Committee to make changes to the game to improve player safety.
- The NFL and NFLPA, through the Duke Infection Control Outreach Networks (DICON), implemented an infectious disease prevention and response program across all 32 NFL clubs. As part of that effort, DICON has visited every club and inspected their premises and developed a comprehensive plan to educate players and team staff about infection prevention.
- Through the Accountability & Care Committee and an independent Credentialing Verification Organization, the NFL and NFLPA implemented league-wide credentialing standards for all members of team medical staffs.
- The NFL and NFLPA, through a third-party company, surveyed all NFL players in 2015 regarding their opinions on team medical care and other player health and safety issues. The survey, agreed to in the 2011 CBA, was confidential, and the results will be used by the NFL and NFLPA to identify potential areas of improvement in player medical care.
- This offseason the NFL and NFLPA established the Field Surface & Performance Committee, a joint committee to provide advice and guidance regarding the safety, performance and testing of non-NFL game day and practice surfaces. The new committee will perform research and advise the parties on injury prevention, improved testing methods, and the adoption of tools and techniques to evaluate and improve field surface performance and playability.
- The NFL, in collaboration with NFLPA-appointed experts, sponsored a study to assess the performance of football helmets worn by NFL players. A poster summarizing the results of the study hangs in all 32 NFL club locker rooms.
- The NFL and NFLPA jointly sponsored a study to assess the performance of football turf shoes worn by NFL players and determined that certain models presented an enhanced risk of injury. The parties created a poster summarizing the results of the study and advising players against wearing certain models of footwear which hangs in all 32 NFL club locker rooms.
- The NFL and NFLPA implemented the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant (UNC) Program and the Independent Athletic Trainer (ATC) Spotter Program to improve sideline medical care on game day. UNCs, who are independent of either club, are involved in all in-game neurological assessments. Independent ATC spotters in the press box are empowered to call a medical timeout to stop the game and have a player receive medical attention should he show signs of distress or disorientation.
The Table of Contents for the May 2016 issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter is available:
The Limits of Fairness Ethics and Gender Equity in Football
Former Jacksonville University Player Sues School, Trainer, and Others over Concussions
With the Risk of Concussion, Athletes Should Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney
Judge Grants Helmet Maker’s Motion to Dismiss Product Liability Claim
Canadian Football League Decrees that Injury Spotter Will Be Added to Command Centre for All Games
Former USC Player, Who Claims He Was Forced to Play While Concussed, Settles with School and Ex-Coach
The NFL Should Be Doing More If It Wants to Preserve the Future of the Game
Developing an Athletic Department Concussion Management Policy/Protocol
Ex-NFL Player Tracy Scroggins’ Lawsuit Against the NFL Faces Major Hurdle
Steady Examines Sub-concussive Hits and the Damage They Can Cause
Case Against NCAA in Death of Football Player Will Go to Trial