Sports InjuryRemember when Denver Broncos player Aqib Talib took a spill right before his post-Super Bowl interview? (Here is a refresher if you missed it)

This clip had over 2,000,000 hits online – because he didn’t get hurt and yes, it is funny to watch.

Remember the video for Walk of Life by Dire Straits? It was filled with sports-related bloopers, tumbles, falls and flops. All of this makes for great TV (America’s Funniest Home Videos, anyone?), but it can also be a painful reality for many.

Sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions top the list of sports-related ER diagnoses for kids ages 6 to 19 — at a cost of more than $935 million each year, according to a report from the non-profit advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide. For the 19 and under crowd, football, basketball and soccer top the list for the most injuries.

In 2013, over 68,000 individuals required emergency room treatment for injuries sustained while snowmobiling, snowboarding and ice skating, according to the National Safety Council. More than 23,500 concussions result from playing winter sports every year – a third of them among children, making it a source of concern for students, coaches and parents alike.

Many injuries stemming from overuse of muscles and fatigue, as well as inadequate gear and facilities are preventable. Not only do athletes need to monitor their gear and fatigue, but parents need to monitor their children’s sports activities. Parents must ensure their children are well fed, rested and have the right training and stamina for their chosen sports.

In some cases, though, sports related injuries become part of a bigger problem. If an injury occurs because of negligence, improper training, equipment or other issue, sports facilities, programs and clubs can be held responsible.

For example:

In a recent groundbreaking case, the NFL reached a tentative $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries. Among its 18,000 retired players, the NFL agreed to compensate the victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research. More than 4,500 athletes from the NFL are suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, and post-concussive syndrome, which result from blows to the head. The league has been sued in part due to their concealment of the dangers of concussions, and their profiting from the hits these players took – often sending players back onto the field when they should have been taken out of the game. For years the NFL disputed evidence that their players experienced a high rate of severe brain damage, but has now stated in federal court that it “expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems” at “notably younger ages than the general population.”

An Iowa jury found a local school negligent for how it handled a football player’s potential head injury, according to the Des Moines Register. Bedford High School freshman Kacey Strough reportedly told his coach that teammates were repeatedly throwing footballs at his head from less than six feet away. He also asked them to stop, but they kept at it. The student sustained head injuries as a result of the incident, and although the coaches and the nurse believed he had a concussion due to headaches and double vision – nothing was done. Under an Iowa state law passed in 2011, coaches and officials must remove an athlete from the field at the first possible sign of a head injury and cannot return until being cleared by a licensed physician. Later exams revealed an underlying condition made worse by the abuse and the jury awarded over $1,000,000 in damages because they determined that the school did not protect the student who sustained a head injury.

In 2014, a $1.7 million settlement was reached in a case addressing safe environment issues when a high school student drowned during a physical education class, an incident in which the boy was discovered at the bottom of the pool 17 minutes after surveillance cameras showed him climbing down a ladder into the deep end and disappearing below the water’s surface. As a result, the Connecticut legislature enacted a pool safety law establishing mandating a second supervisor for all school aquatic activities, including swim team practices, and requiring schools to develop and implement aquatic activity safety plans.

Too many injuries are left unaddressed and the injured unattended, resulting in serious medical issues and / or death. But many sports injuries can be prevented with the right information and preparation.

To stay safe, always make sure to:

  • Have the proper gear: Helmets, mouth guards, shin / elbow pads, protective eye wear can make a huge difference in many sports-related injuries. Always follow the appropriate product guidelines.
  • Stay hydrated: Just because it is 0 degrees on the ski slopes doesn’t mean you aren’t dehydrated. Drinking water is essential, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Take a time-out: Particularly in hot weather or during high-intensity sports, take frequent breaks to prevent fatigue, muscle weakness and dehydration.
  • Adequate supervision: From making sure your kids’ sports teams have proper supervision, to notifying a friend or family member if you are out on a solo hike, taking precautions ensures that f an injury is sustained, it can be addressed in a timely manner.
  • Speak up: If you are concerned that a sports venue is unsafe, your kids’ are not getting the proper training and / or care, or you observe an injury that is not being attended to, make sure you speak up and talk with the coach, medical team or doctor to establish whether the appropriate safety measures are in place.

There are many ways to ensure safety and enjoy sports no matter the season. We encourage you to do your research and make sure you and your kids are prepared for the game – whatever it is.

Have you or a loved one suffered Injury in a sporting event as the result of negligence? Let the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP, investigate whether you have a claim. Call us toll-free at 1800LAW1010 (1-800-529-1010).