It has been 12 years since the Concussion Management in Youth Sports Act was signed into law in California. It was created and passed to protect student athletes who had suffered from head injuries and included numerous requirements to protect students from football head injuries and other sports-related injuries – but do they go far enough to protect students?
What the Law Requires
The California law described above requires that any youth sports league that operates within the state must have procedures in place to protect their young athletes from both head and brain injuries. If an athlete seems to have suffered a concussion then they must be removed from play immediately and are not allowed to return to the game until they have been approved by a medical professional with training in treatment and management of concussions.
While the main purpose of this law is to protect young athletes, it is also in place to educate parents, coaches, and the athletes themselves in how to note and treat the symptoms of concussions.
Second-Impact Syndrome is Life-Threatening
Second-impact syndrome is a serious condition that can occur when an athlete goes back to the field too soon after their initial concussion-causing injury. If that athlete then receives a second blow to the head, even if it is just minor, the brain can rebound inside the skull and be injured again. This second injury can be much more dangerous than the initial injury.
The Reason Second-Impact Syndrome is So Dangerous
When the brain has just been injured, it is more likely that it will become seriously damaged. For example, when the brain swells there is an increase of blood volume to the brain. This can result in brain herniation, which can be deadly. This is a process in which brain tissue, blood vessels, and cerebrospinal fluid are moved for pressed away from where they would normally be located within the skull.
It is common for an athlete who has a second blow to their brain not to lose consciousness. More commonly, they look stunned and will only later collapse. When this happens, the condition will begin to get much worse very quickly. Common symptoms of this more serious condition include loss of consciousness, dilated pupils, respiratory failure, loss of eye movement, and eventually coma. This can all happen within minutes.
As you can see, it is very important that everyone involved in youth sports understands how serious this problem is and takes steps to protect athletes. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury during a sporting event or in another situation in which someone else may be at fault, contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.