The American Association for Justice released a new report entitled concussions and the courthouse, which examines the role the civil justice system has played in encouraging sports leagues to not only take action to prevent concussion, but also change the way they respond to players who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Below are the highlights of the report:
- We all know that football is an exciting, competitive, and violent sport. But for decades, the NFL and other professional and amateur sports organizations ignored and denied the science behind concussions and long-term health impacts.
- Class action lawsuits on behalf of former NFL players finally forced a change in policies and a recognition that more should be done to protect professional and student athletes. Although the settlement reached between retired players and the NFL was not without controversy, it did force the league to acknowledge the toll that concussions have on long-term cognitive health.
- While every state except Wyoming has some kind of concussion law in place, no state has a comprehensive law that includes important safeguards such as notifying parents when their child suffers a concussion, comprehensive training for all coaches, and clearance from a licensed physician or trained health professional before a student is allowed to return to play.
- AAJ has done the research and is offering five points that all states must adopt to protect player safety:
- States must require students who have been concussed to be cleared by a licensed physician or health professional trained in traumatic brain injury (TBI) management.
- States must require TBI training for all coaches.
- States must require comprehensive athlete education on concussions.
- States must require schools notify parents of student-athletes who have suffered a concussion.
- States must require comprehensive parental education on concussions.
- We encourage every state, school board, professional and amateur athletic program to review its policies and ensure these five protections for student, amateur, and professional athletes are in place.