News stories abound detailing the long-term effects of a hard-hitting NFL career on the brain, neck and spine. Most recently, former NFL players received a $765 million settlement from the NFL following players’ contentions that the league did not take the necessary precautions to protect its players from concussion and brain damage.
News stories abound detailing the long-term effects of a hard-hitting NFL career on the brain, neck and spine. Most recently, former NFL players received a $765 million settlement from the NFL following players’ contentions that the league did not take the necessary precautions to protect its players from concussion and brain damage. Believe it or not, sports injuries effect a much broader group than elite football players, and high schools, colleges and recreational leagues are beginning to take a closer look at the true impact of high-impact sports. As well, safety equipment manufacturers are under increasing scrutiny to product helmets and gear which will not only protect players from unnecessary injuries but allow for unimpeded play. If you are one of the millions of current or former athletes dealing with unexpected brain, spine or neck injuries, we encourage you to contact us today.
The Law Surrounding Sports Injuries
Civil law is concerned primarily with identifying a party responsible (or, liable) to another party after the latter has incurred a physical or financial injury. Most personal injury cases are decided under the laws of negligence. This requires a detailed analysis of both parties to determine whether one partied actually owed a duty to the other to keep the latter safe from harm. Generally speaking, we all owe a duty to each other to behave reasonably and to not cause unnecessary risk of injury for other people. Heightened duties occur as a result of certain relationships, including teacher-student, coach-player, high school-enrollee or product manufacturer-consumer.
The source of contention in many cases involves whether one party actually owed another the duty to keep them safe. Remember, if the law does not recognize a duty, no one can be liable for the injury. In sports injury cases, injured players must be able to successfully advance the argument that those in authority over them knew of the potential risk of danger and required them to play regardless. Evidence to suggest this knowledge may include prior diagnoses of concussion or injury, testimony from the player that he communicated his inability to play or expert testimony from a doctor.
Product Liability and Sports Injuries
Equipment manufacturers are under a duty to product helmets, padding or other safety gear that is designed to adequately protect the player from the normal impact of the particular sport. For example, a football helmet manufacturer must design and product a helmet that can withstand the impact of a high-velocity tackle or abrupt collision with the turf. In the event the product does not live up to its intended purpose, resulting in injury, the manufacturer may be liable for any injuries occurring therefrom.
In recent reports, the current provider of helmets for the NFL announced it will no longer be considered the exclusive provider of protective headgear, allowing for other companies to potentially provide helmets to players. This decision comes in the wake of the above-mentioned settlement with the players’ union which presumably prompted the company to consider its potential liability as the only provider of helmets to a sport known for its helmet-to-helmet impacts.
Contact Nelson C. Barry today
Whether you are the parent of a high school athlete or once played sports yourself, you could be at risk for brain, spine and neck injuries. To speak to an attorney about your legal rights, call Nelson C. Barry today.