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Young Athletes at Risk for Concussions & Traumatic Brain Injuries

| Feb 20, 2016 | Personal Injury

Athletic activities are a fantastic way for children to learn valuable skills. For some, athletics can provide a ticket to a college education. The benefits of athletic activity are numerous, as are the risks. Every year, thousands of children end up in hospital emergency rooms after suffering concussions, contusions, and other head trauma.

In 2012, 3.8 million athletic related concussions were reported. 47% of these were related to high school football. Over the course of an athletic career, it’s estimated that 20% of high school athletes will suffer at least one concussion. Of these, a further 33% will suffer a second concussion before they graduate. 90% of these do not involve a loss of consciousness. While that may seem like something to cheer, the cumulative effect of multiple concussions can be long-lasting and impact memory and motor functions years, even decades after an athletic career has ended.

In August 2015, Governor Rauner signed into law SB 07. The legislation received widespread support from teachers, parents, students, and Wheeling personal injury attorneys. This law requires schools to form concussion oversight teams to monitor players for concussions and brain injuries. Further, the law requires all coaches, nurses, and game officials responsible for athletic activities to complete formal concussion training of at least two-hours by September 2016. Schools must also develop emergency action plans for all of their interscholastic sports programs to ensure that students suffering serious injury can receive immediate treatment.

Additionally, to protect athletes from traumatic brain injuries, Illinois High School Athletic Association requires coaches to carefully monitor their team for traumatic brain injuries. Coaches are required to remove from play any member they feel has suffered a concussion. In order for a student to return to play, they must provide medical proof that they are fit and able to do so. Coaches and schools who act negligently and ignore their duty to protect students from traumatic brain injuries may be liable should a student become injured.

Most concussions don’t result in long-term damage. However, that doesn’t mean it is something parents should take lightly. Any child suffering a concussion while playing sports should be examined by a qualified healthcare professional. Moreover, the advice of the physician should be adhered to in order to ensure that any underlying damage can heal before the child returns to the playing field.