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Liz Mote
Liz Mote
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Concussions in Sports – From “having your bell rung” as a mark of courage to “When in Doubt, Sit Them Out” laws

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The American Association for Justice has just released a report, Concussions and the Courthouse (http://concussion.justice.org/), detailing the decades of concussion incidents in sports, culture change surrounding concussions, and research on the cognitive effects of repeated brain trauma.

Learn how “having your bell rung” and continuing to play went from a mark of courage to players, coaches and parents taking concussions seriously.  This shift has not only been felt in the NFL and NCAA, but almost every state now has some version of a “When in Doubt, Sit Them Out” law, addressing traumatic brain injuries such as concussions in youth sports.

Ohio’s “When in Doubt, Sit Them Out” law requires:

(1) student athletes with suspected TBIs be removed from play;

(2) clearance from a health professional before returning to play;

(3) that the health professional clearing a player be a licensed physician or trained in TBI; and

(4) coach and parental education regarding TBI.

See R.C. 3313.539; 3319.303; 3707.511; 3707.52; 3707.521.

However, as AAJ’s report points out, a law is only as good as its enforcement mechanism.  Ohio law grants qualified immunity to most of those who could be held responsible for injuries to children as a result of breaking these laws enacted to protect Ohio’s student-athletes.  Specifically, the law requires proof of “wanton or willful” misconduct on the part of school districts, school board members, employees, volunteers, coaches or referees.

Still, awareness of the dangers of TBI continues to rise and would not have occurred without holding sports leagues, school districts, and colleges accountable in our civil justice system.

Read more KLH firm blogs here.