Tag Archives: protocol

North Carolina Return to Play Lawsuit Puts Spotlight on Such Protocols

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from the recent issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/) 

By Gary Wolensky, Anne Marie Ellis, and Paul Alarcon, of Buchalter (www.buchalter.com)

On Sept. 27, 2014, 17-year-old Isaiah Langston, a Rolesville High School football player, suffered a concussion-producing collision with another teammate during a team practice.

According to a lawsuit recently filed by Langston’s family in North Carolina, Rolesville’s failure to properly respond to this concussion led to the teen’s death. In its complaint, the family alleges that while Rolesville’s coaches and staff checked Langston and sat him out for the remainder of practice, they never notified his parents of his injury and subsequently allowed Langston to return two days later to participate in pre-game drills and warm-ups without obtaining any medical clearance. The family alleges that Langston began complaining of head pain during these drills and then collapsed and died shortly thereafter.

In its lawsuit, Langston’s family alleges that Rolesville violated North Carolina’s “Return to Play” laws enacted to prevent concussion-related injuries arising when a youth sports participant returns to play after suffering a concussion. Return to Play laws have been enacted in some form by every state in the country in response to the changing landscape of concussion awareness in youth sports. Such laws are intended to increase awareness and care in addressing concussions. Specifically, Return to Play laws generally impose educational, training and notification requirements designed to ensure that coaches, parents, and youth athletes are better educated about the signs and risks of concussions.

The Return to Play laws enacted in California are among the most robust in the country. Specifically, California’s Education Code imposes an array of concussion and head-injury related obligations on any school districts, charter schools, and private schools that offer an athletic program. Seee.g., Cal. Educ. Code § 49475(a). If a coach or administrator suspects that an athlete sustained a concussion or head injury, the athlete must be removed from play for the remainder of the day as well as receive an evaluation from a licensed health care practitioner with expertise in concussion-related injuries. Id. at § 49475(a)(1). If no concussion is diagnosed, the athlete must receive a written medical clearance before returning to practice. Id. If a concussion is diagnosed, then the athlete must complete a graduated return-to-play protocol for seven days under the supervision of a health care practitioner. Id. Lastly, athletes and their parents must sign an annual concussion and head-injury information sheet. Id. at 49475(a)(2).

Additionally, California recently dramatically expanded the scope of its Return to Play laws. Specifically, California’s new statutory requirements …

 

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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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Dolphins Slammed for Failure to Follow Concussion Protocol, NFL Releases Statement

The NFL just released the following statement:

The NFL and NFLPA have reviewed the application of the Concussion Protocol by the Dolphins’ medical staff in the January 8th Steelers-Dolphins game.

The Miami Dolphins were notified in a letter co-signed by Dr. Hunt Batjer, Co-Chair of the NFL Head, Neck & Spine Committee and Dr. Thom Mayer, Medical Director for the NFLPA, that the NFL-NFLPA review determined that the Protocol was not strictly followed. The letter further advised the Dolphins that they must engage their staff in a full review of the Protocol and conduct additional education, if necessary. The Dolphins were also advised that any future deviation from the Protocol may result in enhanced discipline, including monetary fines assessed against the Club.

In the second quarter, Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore incurred a hit to the chin and mouth area which drew a roughing the passer penalty. Mr. Moore was attended to by medical staff on the field and on the sideline. The team doctor took appropriate steps to promptly and fully involve the Unaffiliated Neuro-trauma Consultant (UNC) in the medical evaluation of the player and review of the video. They jointly cleared Mr. Moore to return to the game, but did not recognize that Mr. Moore presented a documented symptom, bleeding from the mouth, that required further evaluation in the locker room under the protocol. There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game.

It is important for us to ensure everyone understands and follows the Protocol and that we continue to reinforce its importance. The co-chairmen of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee sent a memo to the medical staffs of the clubs participating in the playoffs reminding them of that point.

The objective of the Concussion Protocol is to ensure a standardized process composed of best practices is used to identify and manage potential concussions. Concussion diagnosis and management is often a difficult and complex exercise, compounded by hectic game conditions. Accurate diagnosis and management of concussion requires a collaborative approach among experienced physicians on the sideline, each acutely aware of his or her responsibilities and all committed to the strict application of the protocol designed to protect players.

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