Football Leagues May Be Held Liable for Players’ Head Injuries

The National Football League (NFL) has recently faced a number of lawsuits based on players’ head injuries. Recently, other leagues have also begun seeing an upswell of lawsuits, mostly based on the league’s failure to warn its players of the potential risks of participation in the league. According to a recent news source, one youth football league recently settled a case in similar circumstances. The lawsuit was brought in a Wisconsin court by the mother of a man who had committed suicide subsequent to injuries he sustained after playing football. The mother alleged that her son’s suicide was the result of numerous head injuries he suffered as a child playing in a youth football league.

football-1199159The mother alleged that her son, who was 25-years-old when he committed suicide, suffered brain damage after participating in the youth league for four years. He began participating in sports when he was 11. After the son’s death, an autopsy showed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The lawsuit alleges that the disease caused severe emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and physical problems, and that it was a substantial factor in contributing to his suicide. The son had experienced numerous concussions while playing football, some of which occurred while he played for the youth league.

The suit alleges that the football league was aware that the risks to young children were greater than to older players, but failed to warn players of these risks. The lawsuit points out that the sport is more dangerous for children who play with football helmets because the helmet weight is very heavy for children’s necks and bodies. It states that the organization failed to warn children and parents of the risk of permanent brain damage. The complaint sought $5 million in damages, and a settlement was reached for an undisclosed amount.

In 2012, the youth football league changed its rules regarding head-on tackles. It no longer permits certain tackles that present a high risk of head injury. The rules also limit the amount of time that a team can practice using physical contact. The league additionally requires athletes who are suspected of having head injuries or concussions to be removed from practice, play, or competition. Under the new rules, the athlete may not return until he has been evaluated by a medical professional trained in evaluating concussions and receives written clearance.

Another suit against the same league was filed after a teenager was paralyzed while making a tackle during a football game. That lawsuit alleged that the league encouraged dangerous, head-first tackles, and that the league knew that these were likely to lead to feasible head injuries. This is just another type of lawsuit filed under the same general theory of negligence.

The Potential Liability of Sports Leagues

Sports Leagues, like the NFL or youth football leagues, may be held liable to players who suffered injuries while in their leagues. Lawsuits are based on a link between participation in sports and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease resulting from repeated injuries to the head. There may be other avenues available, depending on the circumstances. The lawsuits generally claim that the league was aware of the risks to players and did not fully disclose them. According to the allegations in the lawsuits, because the leagues did not fully disclose the risks to players, the leagues can be held liable for their failure to do so. In addition to the NFL, the NCAA has also faced concussion lawsuits over head injuries in college sports, as has the National Hockey League. High school athletic associations have faced lawsuits, as well.

Have You Suffered Head Injuries While Playing Sports?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while playing sports, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries, even if the league was a youth league. You should speak with a dedicated Illinois personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim. The skilled attorneys at Moll Law Group can help you file your claim in order to get you the compensation you deserve. Serious injuries deserve dedicated representation. To speak with a personal injury attorney, call us at 312-462-1700 or fill out our consultation form to arrange a free initial consultation.

See More Posts:

Recent Case Discusses How Settlement Terms Can Bar All Future Claims, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 1, 2016.

Safer Technologies in Cars, But Not For Everyone, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2016.

Court Considers Causation Issues in Defective Gun Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2016.