Head injuries, particularly in football, have been a topic of intense scrutiny and relentless debate. Many NFL players have complained that their injuries during their playing careers have caused them to suffer permanent injuries. New helmets have been designed and new rules have been enacted in the NFL in order to attempt to limit the number of head on collisions that often times cause concussions.
In the news recently is a case that exemplifies the heat of the debate regarding sports related head injuries. A former high school football player sued the Highlands School District, in Pennsylvania, alleging that his coaches and trainers sent him back into games after suffering violent and damaging collisions. The plaintiff, Zachary Alt, continues to struggle with symptoms of brain trauma.
The issue of young football players sustaining head injuries –particularly concussions — has gained traction across the state recently, spurring legislative bills and awareness campaigns.
At least two Western Pennsylvania boys have received fatal concussions during high school football practices during the last six years.
Mr. Alt’s head injuries were life-altering, his mother said. Since a helmet-to-helmet collision with a linebacker in 2007, the young man has experienced hot flashes, depression, insomnia, nausea, dry heaves and vomiting, she said.
Concussions in sports are more prevalent than ever. The NFL has recently implemented fines to players that hit other players in the head in order to attempt to deter players from these “dirty hits.”
Clearly, progressive changes need to continue to be made in order to ensure the safety of high school, college, and pro athletes. Head injuries are occurring at an alarming rate, and several lawsuits like the one mentioned above have been filed.
At any rate, if an athlete is experiencing concussion symptoms, he or she should definitely be held out of games until consulting with a doctor about proper recovery time. In the case of Zachary Alt, his coaches and trainers may be guilty of negligence, as they failed to exercise their duty of care to their players and put him back in a game when he was severely injured.
Hopefully, lawsuits like these will encourage players and coaches alike to act prudently and cautiously when dealing with head injuries into the future. It is inevitable that injuries will happen on a football field, but to risk exacerbating these injuries is irresponsible.
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