Tag Archives: football

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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Concussion Legacy Foundation: More Than 100 Former College Football Players Have Now Been Diagnosed with CTE

The Concussion Legacy Foundation announced yesterday that former players from over 100 college football programs have now been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank. 15 colleges have had 3 or more confirmed cases, and those schools have combined for 64 national championships. Every conference within the Power 5 (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) has at least one school represented in those 15 colleges with the most CTE diagnoses.

“This information is being released to raise awareness that CTE is not just an issue for professional football players,” said our co-founder and CEO Chris Nowinski. “The data should not be interpreted to say that players from these schools are at greater risk than other college players. Instead, the data shows the widespread reach of this disease, and the commitment by the alumni and their families of these schools to support CTE research by participating in brain donation.”

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Recommendation: Reduce Contact in Football Practices

By Greg Johnson, of NCAA.org

The Division I Football Oversight Committee on Wednesday endorsed a proposed guideline to reduce the recommended number of live-contact practices that teams conduct each week from two to one. The practice guidelines take effect six days before each team’s 2016 regular-season opening game and run through the final regular-season game or conference championship game.

The guidelines allow players who do not compete in a game in a particular week to participate in an additional live-contact practice to work on skill development and master proper techniques.

The committee made the recommendation during a teleconference Wednesday as a clarification to the inter-association consensus guidelines for in-season football practice contact that the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute helped develop in 2014.

The committee made the recommendation in an effort to improve player safety, believing it could decrease athlete exposure to concussion, including repeat concussion and overall head impact exposure. Data indicate that football players are more frequently diagnosed with sport-related concussion on days with an increase in frequency and higher magnitude of head impact.

Live-contact practices are defined as any practice that involves live tackling to the ground and/or full-speed blocking. A live-contact practice may occur in full pad or half pad (also known as “shell,” in which the player wears shoulder pads and shorts, with or without thigh pads). Live contact does not include “thud” sessions or drills that involve “wrapping up,” because in those scenarios players are not taken to the ground and contact is not aggressive in nature.

To assist schools with applying the definition, the committee also endorsed clarifying that a live-contact practice is any practice that involves players being taken to the ground.

The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports is expected to recommend the same in-season, live-contact practice guidelines for Division II and Division III football programs.

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