Former Athletic Trainer Sues Union, Citing Coaches’ Dismissiveness About Athletes’ Concussions

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt for the latest issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. You can subscribe to  CLR by visiting this link.)

A former high school athletic trainer has sued the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSSU), an administrative organization that provides support and services for several educational institutions in Vermont, claiming she resigned under pressure after coaches were dismissive of her measures and concerns regarding traumatic brain injuries suffered by the athletes under her care.

Jaclyn Penson, a resident of New Hampshire, filed suit March 3 in federal court in Vermont, alleging wrongful termination in violation of Vermont’s public policy mandating protection of student athletes participating in school athletic programs.

The plaintiff, represented by attorney Norman E. Watts of Watts, is seeking a jury trial, judgment, and an award from her supervisory union for lost compensation and benefits as well as damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Penson began her nearly 4-year tenure at Brattleboro Union High School in 2016. She was designated an “allied health care provider” under Vermont law. Her duties included “promoting and implementing an effective athletic training program; providing first aid, injury evaluation diagnosis and assessments, treatment, rehabilitation, and reconditioning for student athletes; and protecting student athletes from serious injuries,” according to the lawsuit. She was also required “to implement, administer, supervise, and update concussion protocols for student athletes and maintain an emergency action plan.” She also was responsible for supervising “the clearance on injured athletes prior to and during the sports seasons,” as well as “the required training and certifications of all coaches and (coordinating) their professional development.”

The complaint continued: “Although plaintiff was charged with the aforementioned responsibilities and enforcement of safety protocols for student athletes, some of …

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Publication Examines Concussion Litigation from the Defendant’s Perspective

The latest Concussion Defense Reporter reports on the developments in youth football, soccer, science, protective gear related to the defense of concussion claims. Of particular interest – the United States District Court, Central District of California granted Summary Judgment to Pop Warner Football in a CTE–wrongful death case two days after Christmas, and two weeks before trial was to start, and the New York State Appeals Court affirmed dismissal of a college soccer player’s PCS / second hit claim, based on primary assumption of the risk.

Just as compelling is an upcoming concussion conference that tackles what organizers are calling a “New Understanding” about CTE.

The debate over CTE will take center stage on the morning of April 15 in Indianapolis when experts gather at the Sheraton Indianapolis Centre to discuss CTE & Sports – A New Understanding.

The moderated panel discussions will examine:

  • The State of the Science;
  • Cases in the News; and
  • Best Practices for Sports Administrators.

Among the already confirmed panelists are Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, Uzma Samadani, MD; Rudy Castellani, MD; Joe Sala, PhD; Bill Barr, PhD; and Tom McAllister, chair of Psychiatry at IU School of Medicine.

For more information, visit: https://www.wilsonelser.com/news_and_insights/speaking_engagements/1366-cte_sports-a_new_understanding

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Hackney Publications Launches Opioids and the Law, Raising Awareness About the Impact of the Opioid Crisis on American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Communities

Hackney Publications announced today that Tate Grossman Kelly & Iaccarino, LLP (https://www.tgkilaw.com/ is sponsoring the newsletter Opioids and the Law, a bi-monthly electronic newsletter, as a way to raise awareness about the impact of the opioid crisis on American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native communities.

Subscriptions are complimentary and can be obtained by visiting: (http://opioidsandthelaw.com/#contact). Subscribers will receive the first issue, which was published last week.

David Grossman, one of the newsletter’s legal editors and a name partner of TGKI, noted that “It is important to inform those entities that have suffered an egregious economic impact from the irresponsible promotion and distribution of Opioids about what is taking place in the ongoing Multi-District Litigation.”

“Some of them have already retained a law firm, but the information coming from the firm is limited,” said Grossman. “Others have not yet retained legal counsel and are weighing whether to participate or not. We want to give them as much information as possible to keep them up to speed and help them make an educated decision.”

Mark Tate, a founding partner and lead litigator of TGKI, added that “time is of the essence” for municipalities, hospitals and Native American communities to decide if they will participate in the MDL.

A determination has already been made that the pharmaceutical companies are liable for damages.” said Tate. “However, the court has wisely afforded a very short period of time for those entities that have suffered economic damages to retain counsel.”

It is the role of Opioids and the Law to make sure these municipalities, hospitals and communities have the best possible understanding of what their options are, in order to make an informed decision.

Holt Hackney of Hackney Publications, who produces 12 legal newsletters, said TGKI is leading the way when it comes to representing these entities.

“Municipalities, hospitals and communities have gravitated to this law firm, which is why we are so excited about the partnership,” said Hackney. “By combining forces with TGKI, we’re able to provide a unique perspective about this pivotal moment in time.”

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