Authored by Allan M. Siegel
In the past few years, nearly every state in America has passed laws to increase awareness about the dangers of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and the impact they have on young athletes. Awareness, however, is only part of the equation and many sports organizations, sports leagues (of all levels), and schools have begun to enforce strict regulations regarding concussions and head injuries.
In part because of these new regulations and a general increase in awareness, rates of reported concussions among youth athletes have increased dramatically. According to a recent study conducted by researchers and physicians at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, emergency room visits for children with sports-related traumatic brain injuries increased by 92 percent from 2002 to 2011.
Physicians credit the rise in emergency room visits to the fact that more people are aware of the need for seeking care after concussions. In Cincinnati, Ohio's law mandating medical clearance in order for kids who have sustained head injuries to return to play also helps with ensuring that children receive the medical care they require.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to TBI as an "invisible epidemic" because the injuries are profound not well known or apparent to the public, it is clear from this study that awareness and new laws are helping. New technology and safety equipment are also playing an important role, as injury severity of TBI among children during the same time period decreased from 7.8 to 4.8 – based on a medical scale of trauma severity.
While improvements are reassuring, there is still much work to be done throughout local, legal, and medical communities. Those in positions of authority who fail to protect young athletes or abide by new regulations, for example, must be held accountable so that a standard – and a clear point – can be made. You can find more information about TBI, athlete injuries, or your particular case by contacting a Washington, DC brain injury lawyer from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C.