Federal Judge Backs School and Coach in Concussion Lawsuit

A federal judge has granted summary judgment to a school district and its coach, who were sued for negligence after one of their student athletes suffered a concussion and was re-inserted back in the game.

In so ruling, the court held the defendants to “a recklessness or intentional conduct standard of care for the actions.”girls basketball

The plaintiff was a student and athlete on a varsity women’s high school basketball team. On January 4, 2011, the team played a game against a neighboring school. During the second half of the game, she was struck in the front of the head by an opponent. The coach called a timeout.

The plaintiff told the coach that she was dizzy, that her eyes were blurry, and that she needed to sit down. She sat on the bench for approximately five minutes, during which time the plaintiff alleges that she exhibited signs of a concussion and acted out of character. The coach asked the plaintiff whether she was ready to return to the game. The plaintiff re-entered the game. During one play, she lost her balance and alleges that she felt disoriented, according to the complaint. Sometime thereafter, the plaintiff was struck in the head a second time by a player on the other team. The plaintiff asked to be removed from the game. The coach removed her and did not put her back in for the remainder of the game. The plaintiff alleged that she suffered a concussion and other injuries.

The plaintiff alleged that the coach was aware of the symptoms of head injuries and concussions and had received “training and education in the prevention, recognition, and treatment of head injuries.” The plaintiff also alleged that the coach was aware that protocol required that athletes exhibiting symptoms of a concussion could not return to play before being evaluated by an athletic trainer or physician. In addition, she charged that the coach was charged with “protecting his players from injury as much as possible.”

She sued the coach and school for negligence. The defendants moved for summary judgment. (To get the details on this case and read the full summary, visit: https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/)

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