According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, more than 38 million children under 14 are involved in some sort of organized sports activity, whether in a neighborhood league or a scholastic sports team, and of those, 3.5 million incur sports-related injuries annually. Of those, more than 775,000 are injured badly enough to earn a trip to the emergency room.
The problem with children and sports is so acute that children between the ages of 5-14 account for about 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. While death from a sports-related injury is thankfully rare, the leading cause of the deaths that do occur are brain-related injuries, while sports account for more than one out of every five incidents of traumatic brain injuries among children in that age group.
Children’s sports injuries vary widely in both severity and cost. While most sports injuries are strains and sprains, a significant number are more serious. For example, according to one study, nearly 100,000 children between the ages of 8 and 13 are admitted to emergency rooms every year with concussions and half of those are related to organized sports. Also, about 40 percent of all traumatic brain injuries suffered by children are linked to participation in sports activities. On that rare occasion when a child dies participating in sports, TBIs are the number one cause.
There is also the potential for growth plate injuries to consider. The term “growth plate” refers to the developing tissue at the end of some bones in growing children and injuries to these areas can have a lasting and often permanent effect on a young athlete’s growth.
If your child was injured during the normal course of the sport they were involved in, it may be difficult to hold anyone else legally responsible, due to the doctrine of “assumption of the risk,” which means that willing participants assumed the inherent risks that come with playing the game. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to hold a negligent party, like a school, a league or even an equipment manufacturer responsible, especially if the injuries were caused by something other than the game.
For instance, the facts of the case might make it possible to allege that your child’s injuries were caused by some other factor, such as:
- A coach who failed to take the same precautions during practice as during a game.
- Failure to monitor the health conditions of the players.
- Failure to properly supervise the players.
- Facilities had been improperly maintained, such as a field with holes in it from a storm or something either sticky or slippery on a court.
- A lack of sufficient available medical care.
- Sports equipment that was either defective or poorly maintained, or wholly inadequate.
In some cases, if the injury was incurred due to an intentional act by another player or another coach, there may be a cause of action directly against that player or coach. In some cases, their action may even constitute an assault.
If your child has been seriously injured while playing any type of sport, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney, like those at the Hoffoss Devall. It may be possible to file a third-party insurance claim to cover any damages your child suffers. Contact us right away to find out how we can protect your rights under the law.