Increased attention has been given in recent years to the possible long-term consequences of concussions for football players of all levels. The truth is that young athletes in every sport are at risk of sustaining serious injuries.
Parents are right to feel outraged when their children suffer injuries that were completely preventable. Whether it is because of the equipment that was used of a supervision failure, these types of injuries can result in significant long-term difficulties or possibly even death.
Atlanta Lawyer for Sports Injuries
If your child sustained a catastrophic injury or was killed in a sports-related accident, you could be entitled to compensation if your child was hurt or died because of another party’s negligence. The Balams Firm investigates these types of cases for families in communities all over Gwinnett County, Clayton County, Fulton County, Cobb County, and DeKalb County.
Atlanta attorney ReShea Balams is familiar with all types of personal injuries and sports injury. She represents clients on a contingency fee basis so victims do not have to worry about paying any fees unless they get a financial award first. Call (404) 445-2005 today to let her review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a completely free initial consultation.
Georgia Sports Injuries Information Center
- Which sports do injuries most frequently occur in?
- What kinds of injuries do children usually suffer?
- How do these types of injuries happen?
- What is the “Return to Play” law?
- Is there somewhere that I can learn more statistics and legislation?
A 2014 University of Ottawa research paper estimated that roughly 45 million children between the ages of 6 and 18 in the United States participate in some form of organized sports. Essentially three out of four American families have at least one child playing an organized sport.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that injury is the number one killer of children and teens in the United States. The CDC states that more than 7,100 children age 19 or younger were treated in hospital emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries every day in 2009.
That rate translates to an estimated 2.6 million children a year injured in a recreational or sports related activity. Some of the most popular and simultaneously dangerous youth sports include:
- Track and field;
- Volleyball; and
The nature of injuries for these sports varies because of the differences in equipment and the ways bodies are exposed or used in competition. Certain injuries are more prevalent in one sport while being rather infrequent in another.
Generally, some of the most common sports injuries that are treated in Atlanta area emergency rooms include, but are not limited to:
- Achilles tendon injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Internal organ injuries;
- Knee injuries;
- Ligament injuries;
- Neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Swollen muscles; and
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Most young athletes are required to sign waivers before participating in any sport. Such agreements waive a group or team’s liability in the event that the participant suffers an injury.
Generally, legal action cannot be taken against opponent players for injuries sustained during practice or competition. If a youth football player’s tackle breaks another player’s bone, the family of the injured player cannot sue the party that made the tackle that caused the injury.
A family may have a legal claim when an injury is the result of equipment or supervisory failure. A coach or organization may be liable if an injury is the result of any of the following:
- Abusive coaching;
- Disregarding warning signs or symptoms of injury;
- Failure to have qualified medical personnel;
- Improperly maintained equipment;
- Inadequate protective gear;
- Lack of proper training;
- Lack of training;
- Negligent medical advice; or
- Unsafe playing fields or athletic surfaces.
Parties that sell or manufacture equipment may also be liable in cases involving injuries. Victims may have product liability claims in cases involving:
- Defective or dangerous equipment;
- Equipment malfunction;
- Failure to adequately warn;
- False advertising; or
- Inadequate instructions.
Zackery Lystedt was a 13-year-old athlete who played both offense and defense for his junior high school football team. In 2006, he was injured when his head struck the ground after tackling an opponent.
Zack was sidelined for three plays before halftime, but returned to play when the third quarter began. He later collapsed on the field and had to be airlifted to a local hospital for emergency life-saving surgery to remove the left and right side of his skull and relieve pressure on his injured and swelling brain.
In May 2009, Washington became the first state in the nation to enact a youth sports concussion law when the state legislature passed the Zackery Lystedt Law. Five years later, Georgia’s Return to Play Act of 2013 took effect and now every state in the country has one of these concussion laws.
Concussions used to be thought of momentary fits of dizziness that could be “shaken off” and forgotten about with the passage of time. A growing body of medical research has confirmed that concussions are in fact smaller TBIs.
The Return to Play Act made it state law that any child who is suspected of a concussion while playing sports needs to be immediately removed from the game, competition, tryout, or practice. Additionally, any child who sustains a concussion needs to obtain medical clearance from a health care provider for a full or graduated return to play.
Return to Play Act of 2013 — This is the full text of the youth concussion legislation passed by the Georgia Legislature in April 2013. The law requires parents to sign a form before their child can participate in any public, private, or charter school sports activity.
HEADS UP to Youth Sports — The CDC provides several valuable resources here for parents with children participating in youth sports. You can find customizable fact sheets and information sheets as well as concussion information sheets, concussion cards, and concussion quizzes. There is information available elsewhere on the website for coaches and athletes as well.
NFL Evolution – Safety For Your Kids — The National Football League (NFL) launched this website to help educate parents about safety concerns related to football. There are articles as well as sections specifically devoted to concussions and medical research. You can also find videos and material in partnership with USA Football and the CDC.
Find a Sports Injuries Lawyer in the Atlanta Area
Did your child sustain severe injuries or was he or she killed while participating in an organized sport? If the injury or death was the result of equipment failure or coaching negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, disability care, and emotional damages.
ReShea Balams is an Atlanta sports injury attorney who helps families in many surrounding communities, including Milton, Riverdale, East Point, Smyrna, Duluth, College Park, Marietta, Decatur, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Norcross, Dunwoody, Forest Park, and Lawrenceville.
The Balams Firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing if you do not obtain a financial award. Our firm will provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (404) 445-2005 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.