Last September, TIME Magazine wrote an article about 16-year-old, Chad Stover, who was killed during a high school football game due to repeated blows to the head. Stover suffered a concussion on the first blow, but the coach continued to play him. While this was a tragedy for the Stover family and entire community, this type of concussion treatment is not uncommon across the country.
Concussions are a scary thing at all ages. No matter your demographic, these types of injuries can be the stem of injuries and conditions that are much more serious. There is a misconception that concussions are not anything to worry about and that they will go away on their own. However, this idea could lead anyone–whether it is the athlete choosing to or a peer, parent, or coach encouraging them–to make irresponsible decisions and take dangerous actions.
Treating youth concussions can actually be more difficult than treating adult concussions. Many kids are not as aware of their symptoms and they often are not able to vocalize how they are feeling. Children’s bodies are constantly going through changes, so they may not feel as if their symptoms are important enough to report. On the other side of the spectrum, many kids—depending on their age and maturity level—complain and cry about a lot of different things, covering a wide range of severity. Many parents are used to their children “crying wolf”, so when they complain of a head injury, their parent may not take it as a serious complaint—at no fault of the parent.
With these complications in mind surrounding concussions in children and young adults, an even bigger and broader problem arises—concussions in youth sports. This has proven to be a highly debated topic, especially recently, with the rise in popularity of youth sports. With football becoming even more popular, and things like The Little League World Series now being broadcast on network television, youth sports are becoming more and more common across America
n. Unfortunately, with this rise in popularity comes a rise in youth sports injuries.
Luckily, a lot of states have begun to adopt new laws surrounding concussions in youth sports, Missouri being one of those states. But before one can fully understand the laws surrounding this topic, it is first important to fully understand the dangers of leaving a concussion untreated.
The Risks of Having a Concussion
One thing that many people do not know is that concussions are technically a classification of traumatic brain injury. This means that they fall within the same vocabulary as gun shot wounds and contusions. While this may seem like an exaggeration, concussions can be very serious, even though they may not seem that way initially. While it may seem like it was “just a bump”, any degree of blow to the head can disrupt the normal function of the brain. The reason that many people do not think of concussions as traumatic brain injuries is because they are usually not life threatening. However, any injury that involves the brain can be life changing, and that is not something that should be over looked.
Every concussion is different, because every brain is different. Sometimes people will lose consciousness upon impact, others won’t. This should not be taken as a sign of whether or not you are suffering from a brain injury. The only person that can rightfully diagnose this kind of issue is a doctor.
For some people, symptoms will not appear right away. This is where the biggest problems can arise. During sporting events, children, parents, and coaches commonly think that there was no serious injury done, and that they can return to playing after they “shake it off.” This can cause major issues. If a person that has recently suffered from a concussion suffers another blow to the head, more serious, even fatal, injuries and symptoms can occur. Just like Chad Stover, these types of decisions can drastically affect the lives of the injured, their families, and the community. For this reason, certain laws have been put into place.
Missouri Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws
In 2011, Jay Nixon, Missouri’s governor signed the Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act. They joined twenty-four other states in having this law, which helps to prevent brain injuries, like the one that happened to Chad Stover, from happening to children and young adults across the state. This law has four different components:
- If a concussion is expected, the player must be immediately removed from the activity. Once the player has been pulled from the activity, they have 24 hours before they are allowed to return, no matter what. This means that, after a few hours, if a concussion is no longer expected, the player still cannot return to the activity.
- Once a player has been removed from the activity, they need to be evaluated before they can return after 24 hours. This means that they have been evaluated by a medical professional and have received clearance to return to the activity.
- School districts must provide concussion and brain injury information to each student performing in athletic events. After this has been distributed, a parent or guardian of the student must sign it and return it to the school in order for their child to play in these types of sports.
As big of a difference as laws like the Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act make, injuries and accidents still happen. The attorneys at Finney Law Office, LLC cannot reiterate
enough how important it is to take the proper precautions when it comes to brain injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence (or even from someone not abiding by the aforementioned law), you deserve financial compensation. Contact the experienced St. Louis, Missouri brain injury attorneys at Finney Law Office, LLC today to get started.