Concussion Litigation Against School Districts on the Increase

Concussion Litigation Against School Districts on the Increase

Dr. Daniel Rancier MD

Improperly handled head injuries can lead to lawsuits. Litigation against school districts and faculty is expanding for concussion-related injuries per 2016 Sports Law Year-In-Review, an article from NFHS.

Some lawsuits sought as much as $20 million dollars, while others settled for as much as $2 million. These were filed across the country from Connecticut to Florida all the way to Texas. Parents, as well as lawyers, are keenly aware that high schools need to have and follow concussion protocols. Most of these lawsuits were because of not following concussion protocols.

Examples include a football player who sustained a skull fracture and concussion while in practice because he was not wearing a helmet. The coach and athletic trainer failed to make the diagnosis and let him drive himself home.

Another was when a football player suffered a second head injury making him a person with quadriplegia. The faculty prematurely returned him to the game despite being diagnosed with a concussion.

Another case involved a cheerleader who fell from a pyramid and hit her head. The lawyers contended that the school district did not follow state-mandated concussion protocols.

From these cases, it is abundantly clear that:

  • Accurately diagnosing all head injuries is critical
  • Every school district needs to utilize a standardized concussion protocol
  • Coaches and players need training
  • Players need supervision especially after a concussion
  • Good documentation of each injury evaluation and treatment helps avoid unwarranted litigation

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