Standard of Care and Concussions
Over the years, helmet manufacturers and other organizations have made attempts to make the game of college football safer. There are advances in place to create an overall standard of care for concussion management, but it doesn’t always work out.
As the game of football, equipment, and safety protocols all change, so does the legal ramifications. The standard of care is ever-evolving. If there are concussions and injuries, there may still be legal ramifications to file lawsuits against colleges, coaches, trainers, and others.
Breaching the Standard of Care
What defines the standard of care? Unfortunately for many athletes, this is often difficult to answer. However, this is the most prominent test of liability in litigation regarding the NCAA concussion lawsuits. There must be a breach in the standard of care provided to the student-athlete.
Primarily, these cases rely on showing that the parties responsible for care were aware of a player suffering a concussion. They placed the player within the concussion protocol and performed all necessary tests. From that point, the next decision may determine liability.
Did the staff recommend that the player sit out the remainder of the game post-evaluation? Did the team allow the player to return to the game knowing a concussion occurred?
In any situation, a standard of care should mean that the organization is responsible for ensuring the player is safe. When a concussion occurs, the standard of care is to properly evaluate and withhold the player from competition until a medical professional clears the player to return. Failure to adhere to these protocols would breach this standard of care.
The Rights Players Have After a Concussion
As a player, you may refuse to return to the game if you feel your injury is severe enough to warrant further testing. However, many players reenter the game at the urging of their coaches and teammates. They hide the concussion, and they further risk their bodies for the sake of the team.
At Shrader & Associates, our sports concussion attorneys want to represent players with severe head injuries. Coaches often force players to return to the game too soon after a concussion, prioritizing winning over player health. We’ll work hard to hold these parties accountable on your behalf.