It wasn’t long ago when a young athlete would be given smelling salts, told to toughen up, and sent back on the playing field after suffering a head injury. Most head injuries in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and any other sport happen when two athletes collide. However, it’s possible that an athlete suffers a head injury, such as a concussion, without colliding with another athlete. They can be hit on the head with a baseball, slam their head into a wall, or fall while jumping.
These days, the number of concussions in young athletes has dwindled due to tougher laws and better instruction for coaches, athletic trainers, and medical personnel. Despite this, there are still times when coaches take things too far and become a danger to the kids they are supposed to protect. Failing to follow safety laws puts athletes everywhere in jeopardy of suffering a concussion, paralysis, or other type of traumatic brain injury.
The Alabama safety laws for athletes
The law in Alabama, called the “Return to Play” law, is pretty straightforward. The athlete is not permitted to return to the field of play until he or she has been evaluated by a doctor. In fact, the athlete is not even allowed to return to play that same day. The law further outlines how and when an athlete can return to the field, court, or rink:
- Get rest until all of the symptoms are gone
- Perform light exercise a couple of days following the injury
- Perform activities related to the sport they play with their coaches
- Participate in practice without contact until cleared by a doctor
- Participate in practice with contact once permitted
- Return to play when completely cleared by the doctor
The law recommends that there be 24 hours between each stage of recovery for the athlete and if any symptoms reappear, the athlete is to return to the first stage and restart the process. Should your child’s school in Alabama fail to adhere to these guidelines it can be held liable for any injuries to your child.
Multiple concussions and long-term damage in young athletes
Much has been discussed over the past decade or so about the long-term damage young athletes can suffer if they are diagnosed with multiple concussions. The most serious concerns raised about the impact of multiple concussions on young athletes include the following:
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Trouble with memory
- Impaired learning ability
Was your son or daughter injured playing a youth or high school sport? Do you believe that they were improperly rushed back onto the field of play? Proper medical care is essential when treating young athletes for concussions or other forms of TBI. If this has happened to you, be sure to schedule a consultation with an experienced Alabama traumatic brain injury attorney from the Mezrano Law Firm by calling our office at 205-206-6300 or completing a contact form. We have offices in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Florence, Huntsville, and Montgomery to better serve our clients. We have offices in Mobile and Gadsden coming soon.