Cracking Down on Concussions – Part II: Max’s Law

February 5, 2014 | By R. Brendan Dummigan of Pickett Dummigan LLP

Brain injuries are serious and we applaud the NFL for treating it seriouslyWith all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, it is easy to miss the NFL’s recent announcement of the protective procedures they have put in place to keep their players safe. The NFL hired 27 additional medical personnel, including independent neurosurgeons on each team’s sideline, to keep their players from suffering brain injuries. The NFL’s safety measures have paid off. Concussions in the NFL are down 13 percent in 2013 from the season before.

Brain injuries are serious and we applaud the NFL for treating it seriously. Unfortunately, for most student athletes, their schools do not have enough money to hire even one onsite medical examiner. This puts pressure on coaches, staff, parents, and the athletes themselves to make sure that they are fit to play. This blog is part two of last week’s blog, “Cracking Down on Concussions – Part II: Max’s Law”, which can be read here:—part-i-when-helmets-fail.shtml

Although equipment failure can contribute to concussions, they are not the only cause of head injury. Head injuries are bound to happen when competitive athletes are playing a contact sport. The most common form of sport injuries are concussions. Despite being the most common injury, it may also be the hardest to identify. Unlike broken bones or bruises, a concussion may not be physically observable. To make matters worse, repeated concussions or severe concussions can cause life-long problems or death.

To address the problem of concussions in young athletes, the Oregon Legislature passed a law in 2009 called Max’s Law. Max’s Law is named after Max Conradt, a former high school quarterback who sustained a concussion while playing a football game. With no medical exam to confirm that he was recovered from the concussion, he was sent back to play in the next game. While playing, he received another concussion. The second concussion caused a devastating brain injury and Max ended up in a coma. He woke up permanently disabled months later.

Max’s Law is meant to prevent another sport tragedy. The law requires coaches to be trained to identify concussions and to remove the athlete from play until he or she is cleared by a trained medical professional. Max’s Law has made great strides in reducing concussion injuries. However it is only effective if people follow the rules. There could still be a problem if coaches and doctors are careless and fail to treat a concussion as seriously as it deserves to be treated. Traumatic brain injuries should not be taken lightly.

Unlike the NFL, Schools may not have a team of highly paid doctors, but Max’s law gives schools the tools they need to protect their athletes. Whether the athletes are playing in the Super Bowl or under Friday night lights, no athlete deserves to be pushed beyond their limits.

If an athlete gets hurt because of a concussion that should have been recognized, the athlete may have a personal injury claim. If you or your athlete has been injured because of bad training, bad coaches, or bad doctors, we may be able to help you discover a claim. We have successfully handled cases dealing with traumatic brain injury and Max’s Law. Click HERE to go to our website to learn more about traumatic brain injuries. For a free consultation, give us a call at (503) 405-8037.

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