Monthly Archives: November 2012
Here’s the table of contents for the December issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter.
Setting Up a Comprehensive Concussion Policy, Procedure or Program at a High School
By Marco S. Boscolo, MA, ATC, LAT, PhD Candidate
Every high school’s environment is different and it is this environment that will be reflected in the school’s concussion policy. At a minimum, a high school concussion policy must address state laws. In more comprehensive high school concussion policies, specific procedures and programs are developed to provide the best care for the athlete.
Settlement Reached in Morales Concussion Case
The family of a New Jersey high school football player, who died after sustaining a head injury during a 2008 practice, has reached a settlement with the school district. The plaintiffs, who are the parents of Douglas Morales, will receive $125,000.
The Potential Role of Criminal Law in the NFL Concussion Cases
By Jordan Kobritz, J.D., C.P.A.
The thousands of plaintiffs – former players and their family members – suing the NFL in the so-called concussion lawsuits have one thing in common: They all seek monetary compensation for the injuries, disabilities, and medical expenses allegedly incurred as a result of playing football.
The Mississippi Sports Law Review 2nd Annual Fall Symposium: The Impact of Concussion Lawsuits on the Future of Football
By Ellen Rugeley
The Mississippi Sports Law Review held its second annual fall symposium entitled “The Impact of Concussion Lawsuits on the Future of Football” on November 9, 2012 at the University of Mississippi School of Law, where experts in the field discussed the ramifications of the pending NFL concussion lawsuits on the future of sports.
Mississippi Jury Rules in Favor of Riddell in Design Defect Case
Riddell has prevailed in a week-long trial as a jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi unanimously ruled in favor of a football helmet manufacturer in a case that challenged the protective qualities of Riddell’s football helmets.
Cheerleader Who Suffered Concussion Sues School District
A former high school cheerleader in Michigan has sued Clarkston Community Schools in that state, alleging that the school district and some of its employees were negligent when they failed to prevent an accident, which resulted in a concussion.
Court Dismisses Concussion Lawsuit Brought by Former High School Student Athlete
A federal judge from the Eastern District of Texas has dismissed the lawsuit of a former high school student athlete, who, representing himself, had sued the school he attended, claiming that he “suffers from a chronic condition” because of a concussion he received while playing basketball.
Parents Sue over Concussion-related Death of their Son
The parents of Drew Swank, a high school football player in Washington state, who died after allegedly returning to the football field too soon, have sued New Valley Christian School, an administrator, football coaches and a family doctor, alleging negligence.
Conference Looks at Growing Trend Toward Concussions in Sport
By Chris Saunders
It was a day when everyone acknowledged the 10-ton elephant in the room – and the elephant was violence and injuries in sports. One could probably not find a more experienced and qualified group of people to discuss the culture of sports violence that leads to traumatic injury than the panelists who assembled for the Gladiators in the 21st Century conference at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on Saturday, November 10.
Hockey Violence and the Long Arm of the Law
By Jon Heshka
What began as a hotly contested hockey game has turned into an international legal dispute. With more twists, turns and double salchows than a figure skating routine, this case involves two players from different countries playing in a third country, two insurers, criminal and civil proceedings, and the judicial systems of two countries including two levels of courts in the United States and at least three in Switzerland.
Earlier this week, a new City of Boston ordinance designed to limit concussions in contact sports went live.
The new rule requires that all public and private school sports teams in Boston have concussion training and management procedures before kids under 18 can participate in athletics. Specifically, coaches and administrators must receive annual head injury training.
The ordinance also applies to any independent organization looking to use city-owned facilities: (https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/2012/08/28/city-requires-concussion-training-for-athletes-coaches-before-it-will-lease-fields/).
Some municipalities have taken things a step further. The City of Ashland has passed a law that, starting Jan. 1, requires all parents, coaches, and athletes over 10 to receive education in how to recognize and respond to a concussion. In addition, all athletes suspected of having a concussion cannot return to play without written medical clearance.
By Cadie Carroll
After serving as an expert witness in the case of Scotty Eveland, Dr. Andrew Blecher shared his thoughts on this high school student’s “football-game-gone-wrong” experience and lent some insight on how to prevent similar future cases from arising.
Scotty Eveland, a backup middle linebacker for the Mission Hills High School football team in San Marcos, California, got his first chance to play under the bright stadium lights when the starting linebacker was injured.
Allegedly, Eveland complained of headaches during practice before his chance to start in his first game. Also alleged, directly before the game, was that Eveland’s headaches were so severe that he was experiencing blurred vision bad enough to not allow him to see the football clearly. It was also noted that he even stated he did not feel well enough to play.
Reportedly, Eveland then saw his head athletic trainer who agreed that he should not be put in the game. However, upon notifying the head coach of their thoughts, Eveland and the athletic trainer did not receive the reply they expected.
In an expletive-laden response, the head coach allegedly claimed that Eveland was his football player and that if he wanted to put him in the game, he would, which is exactly what he did.
Eveland entered the game and as the time ticked down, his condition worsened.
Eveland’s teammates claim they heard him mumbling play-calls in the huddle. Shortly after complaining of leg numbness, Eveland collapsed on the field, quickly becoming comatose.
He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent emergency craniotomy surgery. Now, over five years later, Eveland requires around-the-clock-care. He cannot walk, talk or even feed himself.
Eveland’s family reached a settlement with the San Marcos Unified School District for $4.375 million earlier this year. They also settled with Rydell last year for $500,000.
Expert Witness, Blecher, Weighs In
In a video interview with Tony Iliakostas, host of the YouTube web-show “Law and Batting Order,” Dr. Andrew Blecher said that serving as an expert witness in the case took a little bit of getting used to, being that it wasn’t really a task he was prepared for in medical school.
One of the toughest parts, he said, was the challenge of dealing with the medical jargon and trying to translate it into something the jury and the lawyers would understand.
On the question of who was to blame, Blecher said, “Allegedly Scotty was exhibiting symptoms, so how he goes from explaining symptoms to being put back in the game, that one is on the athletic trainer. The athletic trainer should have held him out.”
Blecher did note, however, that it was very possible the athletic trainer was overridden by the coach, which should never be the case, but still there were several hurdles that should have stopped him from playing and the fault did not lie entirely on one individual.
Lastly, Blecher touched on the topic of concussion education, saying he felt there were a lot of people that aren’t exactly sure what a concussion is or how to treat it.
“A lot of schools aren’t lucky enough to have an athletic trainer there,” he said, elaborating that the role of unofficial doctor then falls on the coaches shoulders.
Blecher also said that there have been some laws passed, such as the one in California, that requires high school varsity football coaches to undergo concussion training every two years, and others that provide training for officials and give them the right to pull players from a game if they see signs of concussion.
In the end, however, Blecher noted that concussions were a very hard injury to diagnose and treat with near perfect efficiency.
“It may take a generation before we can get everyone to really understand the gravity of concussions.”
Andrew Blecher is a Board Certified Sports Medicine physician at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, has served as a treating physician in the NFL and at the Los Angeles X-Games, and is a Certified ImPACT Consultant who has lectured extensively about concussions at national conferences. He is also currently the Director of the SCORE Concussion program that provides comprehensive concussion insurance coverage for 10 Los Angeles area high schools.
You can watch Iliakostas’ interview with Dr. Blecher at:
To read Blecher’s guest column for Concussion Inc., visit: