Tag Archives: concussion protocol
Appeals Court Overturns Earlier Ruling, Holding School in Washington State May Be Liable in Concussion Case
(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the June issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To see the full story, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
A Washington State appeals court has held that a high school should have been more compliant with a state law pertaining to concussions after one of its football players, who suffered multiple concussions, died from those injuries.
The claim was brought by the parents of Drew Swank, who was participating in a game for New Valley Christian School (VCS) on Sept. 18, 2009 when he suffered a head injury that led to severe headaches, and ultimately his death.
Allegedly, Swank was not examined by head coach Jim Puryear, assistant coach Mike Heden, or school headmaster Derick Tabish. But the following Monday, as the headaches persisted, he went to his Coeur d’Alene doctor, Tim Burns.
The doctor diagnosed a concussion and Swank was placed on “no practice, no play” restrictions.
Three days later, Swank told his mother that the headaches were gone. When she called Burns’ office to inform the doctor of the development, the doctor allegedly told a clinic employee to lift the restrictions without a follow-up exam. Swank practiced and then played in a game that night.
Swank played poorly, which the plaintiffs claimed was consistent with a player coming off a head injury. Coach Puryear allegedly called him to the sideline, where he “grabbed him by the facemask and proceeded to violently shake his head up and down in anger,” according to the complaint. Swank went back into the game and suffered a significant hit that caused his head to allegedly whip back and forth before crashing into the field.
Swank managed to get up from the hit, but collapsed after reaching the sideline. He was then rushed to a local hospital, and airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, where he died four days later.
The parents claimed, in the lawsuit, that the school … (To subscribe, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the April issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To subscribe, visit the following link – http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
A confidential settlement agreement has reportedly been reached between the parties in Walen v. Portland State University, et al., in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, No. 14CV12218.
While the financial terms weren’t disclosed, attorneys for plaintiff Zachary Walen noted that Portland State University (PSU) has agreed to update the concussion policy used by its sports medicine staff. The changes reportedly include:
- The risk of developing post-concussion syndrome will be included in the education provided to student-athletes and the training provided to coaches and staff.
- The training of coaches and staff will include an explanation regarding the concussion healing process, which depending on the student athlete’s condition, can take weeks and possibly longer.
- Student-athletes will be informed of their right to seek, at their own cost, a return-to-play opinion from a physician who is not a member of the PSU Sports Medicine Staff. The most conservative opinion will be followed. All student-athletes will be informed of this option during the education provided to student-athletes.
- At the student-athlete’s request and with his or her consent, the parent(s) of a concussed student-athlete will be informed if their son or daughter has been diagnosed with a concussion and when the student-athlete has been cleared to return to full sport participation. All student-athletes will be informed of this option during the education provided to student-athletes.
The initial injury to Walen, who sought $5 million in damages, occurred on opening day in September of 2012 during the linebacker’s first game as a Viking. It is uncontested that in the fourth quarter of that game that Walen suffered a head injury after a direct blow to the head. Though coaches and staff allegedly failed to identify the concussion in the aftermath of the hit, Walen’s parents brought him to the hospital shortly after the game, where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
The plaintiff alleged in his complaint that …
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