Monthly Archives: October 2012
It’s that time of month when we break out a new issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter.
Here’s the table of contents:
Court Sides with Cheerleader in Claim against Coach
A federal judge as granted summary judgment to a school district, which was sued by a cheerleader, who was injured in practice almost a decade ago. However, the court left intact her claim against the coach, finding that a jury could reasonably conclude that the risk of significant injury from a fall onto the hard flooring surface was foreseeable and a fairly direct result of (the coach’s) decision to proceed with the stunt in the absence of appropriate matting.
Cutting Edge Information Provided at Penn State Concussion Conference
By Gary Wolensky, ESQ. On October 11 and 12, Penn State University hosted a Concussion in Athletics Conference. Expert physicians, scientists, and researchers from a variety of disciplines descended on Happy Valley in order to present the latest research in understanding, diagnosing and treating concussions, and potential reforms to minimize the risk of mild traumatic brain injuries. While this short article could not possibly begin to provide even a cursory summary of the proceedings, the presentation of Dr. Robert Cantu, Cofounder of the Sports Legacy Institute, does stand out.
ImPACT’s Reliability Challenged in Court
By Paul Anderson, Editor. ImPACT dominates the market when it comes to sideline assessment and concussion evaluation. In fact, it has become so popular its use is encouraged in Rhode Island’s return-to-play law. According to ImPACT’s website, it is “the most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system.” The software has become the go-to tool to determine whether an athlete should be allowed to return-to-play after suffering a concussion. Recently, though, ImPACT has drawn fire from the scientific community for failing to identify concussions and prematurely allowing athletes to return-to-play.
The NFL Concussion Crisis and the Doctor-Patient Relationship
By Andrew M. Blecher MD. If you are reading this then you are already well aware of the current concussion crisis in the NFL. No matter where on the spectrum your opinions lie regarding this topic, there is one question that still remains: How did we get here? Surely if something has gone wrong then there must be someone to blame for it. Was it the league’s fault? The coaches? The players? The doctors? Maybe it is the injury itself that’s to blame? Perhaps it was just the perfect storm of a number of factors that put us in this situation? To truly get to the bottom of this, it is important to have a better understanding of the doctor-patient relationship.
Federal Appeals Court Rejects Disability Claim of Football Player, Suffering from Past Concussions, Other Injuries
By Kelly Mulcahy. On September 11, 2012 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected a man’s claim for expansive disability benefits yet again. In a published opinion, the court effectively ended extensive litigation that included an arbitration, a lawsuit against the NFL retirement plan, and several appeals. A former player for the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins from 1987-1996, he sought “Football Degenerative” disability benefits.
Maine Cheerleader Sues School District and Coach After Suffering Concussion
A former high school cheerleader, who suffered a concussion almost three years ago after she reportedly fell 20 feet and suffered a concussion during a cheerleading practice, has sued her coach and the school district in a negligence lawsuit.
Parental Decisions Can Undercut Good Concussion Laws
By Tommy Dean, ATC, LAT. You can’t turn on the TV today or open the newspaper without hearing about concussions. It seems like over the last few years there have been more superstar athletes who have suffered this injury, especially from those who played “back in the day” and are now coming forward and bringing their multitude of recent struggles to the forefront that have been caused by multiple concussions. But the problem doesn’t start in the NFL. It starts at the youth level. It starts at home.
Youth Sports Executive: Pop Warner Incident Could Have Been Prevented
By Cadie Carroll. In the wake of a recent incident resulting in the injury of five young athletes and the suspension of several Central Massachusetts Pop Warner coaches and league presidents, one youth football industry executive suggested to Concussion Litigation Reporter that such incidents could be prevented if the minimum age for playing tackle football is pushed to 14. “We know from numerous studies that youth concussions are growing at an alarming rate,” said Brian Sanders, President and COO of i9 Sports, a national youth sports organization. “The best way to prevent children from being injured in football is … .”
Where State Athletic Associations Stand on Concussions
(Editor’s note: What follows is a sampling of responses to key questions asked of state athletic association officials this fall about today’s concussions issues.)
The Londonberry School District in Londonberry, New Hampshire is considering a policy that would require all student athletes and parents to take a course on concussion prevention and care before the student athletes could participate in athletics.
If approved next month, parents would have to complete a program called “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports,” an online course provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
School Board member Leitha Reilly applauded the board’s decision.
“While it could be laborious for some parents out there and student athletes, I think it’s excellent because we’re not just educating what it is but also how to recognize it and what to do about it rather than just handing them a pamphlet,” she told the media.
Other board members, such as John Robinson, liked the “intent,” but still had reservations.
“We should do everything we can to limit or eliminate the danger of concussions and brain injuries as much as we can,” he reportedly said. “But that being said, as a parent, I’m a little bothered by the idea that the School District is going to tell me that I must complete a training program before my kid can participate in a sports program.”
One of our readers posted an interesting piece over the weekend on the Forbes.com site that alleged that the University of Arizona sacrificed its quarterback to get a win over its PAC 12 rival, the University of Southern California.
Dan Diamond wrote that in the 4th quarter of the game, “Arizona QB Matt Scott was kicked in the head while sliding during a play. Scott immediately began vomiting on the sidelines, repeatedly, as the game went to commercial.”
“Scott was showing tell-tale signs of concussion, and the NCAA—which is being sued for failing to implement appropriate concussion screening, return-to-play guidelines, and other safety measures—is pretty clear on what coaches should do next: ‘Take [an athlete] out of play immediately and allow adequate time for evaluation by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion.’
“However, well-paid Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff did none of those things. Instead, Scott stayed in the game–and even threw a touchdown pass–before finally going to the sidelines, apparently vomiting again, and being evaluated by trainers for a head injury. Not surprisingly, once Scott was actually forced to undergo a concussion test, he was immediately removed from the game.”
Diamond, who told Concussion Policy and the Law that he has suffered a concussion before, goes on to describe the NCAA policy on concussions as “toothless” and even assails those, who write about the game – “the culture of complicity extends to those who cover the sport.”
To read Dan’s full post, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2012/10/27/arizona-just-broke-the-ncaas-concussion-policy-will-it-matter/