By: Allan M. Siegel
Pop Warner, a Pennsylvania-based national youth football organization,
recently settled a lawsuit filed in Wisconsin involving the suicide of
a man who played football for the organization as a child. The lawsuit,
which was filed by the mother of the former football player, claims that
the 25-year-old man’s suicide was a result of significant brain
damage caused by numerous head injuries while playing in the organization.
The young man, Joseph Chernach, began playing for Pop Warner at the age
of 11. An autopsy revealed that Chernach suffered from Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that is known to cause physical, cognitive,
behavioral, and emotional problems. CTE is found in people who have suffered
one or repeated traumatic blows to the head. Chernach had suffered several
concussions during his football years, and was also found to have suffered
from Post-Concussion Syndrome at the time of his suicide.
The lawsuit sought $5 million in damages from Pop Warner for some of the
- Failure to adequately warn parents and players of the risk of brain, head,
and other injuries
- Organizing, promoting, and allowing children to play tackle football with
disproportionately heavy helmets
- Recklessly exposing children to danger
In 2012, Pop Warner changed its rules regarding head-on tackles and now
limits the amount of time contact play is allowed at each practice. They
also no longer allow full speed head-on tackling or blocking drills in
which the players line up more than three yards apart. Any players with
a suspected or confirmed head injury are now removed from practice and
play, and may not return to play until they receive clearance from a licensed
This settlement, together with a nationwide increase in
concussion awareness, may mean that more lawsuits will be filed against Pop Warner in the future.
Reliable Legal Support for Sports-Related Head & Brain Injuries
If your child has suffered a serious injury in an organized sport, you
should contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to see if
you have a viable personal injury case. You could be eligible to pursue
compensation for your child’s injury to cover the costs of past
and future treatment, as well as other related damages.
Our Washington, DC personal injury lawyers have extensive experience handling
brain injuries and
sports injuries. In fact, CSCS Partner Joseph Cammarata drafted legislation to better
protect young athletes from brain injuries – The
DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act. The act became law in the District of Columbia in 2011.
Our lawyers accept cases in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia and
named “Preferred Attorneys” for the DC Metro area by the Brain Injury Association of America.
We are prepared to review your case for free when you call (202) 644-8303.