Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has an established reputation as advocates for victims of traumatic brain injuries. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims who suffered concussions and brain injuries in all types of accidents, including those resulting from sports injuries, car accidents, truck accidents, and more.
As Brain Injury Association of America “Preferred Attorneys” for the DC Metro area, we want to take the time to remind all athletes, coaches, instructors, and parents about safety in sports, especially when it comes to brain injuries. As we know all too well, brain injuries have the potential to create significant setbacks for victims and their families, sometimes in life-altering ways. Because of this, we make considerable efforts to support brain injury awareness and legislative acts that protect our communities. This includes the DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act, which was drafted by Partner Joseph Cammarata and which became the law in 2011.
The Act was designed to provide protections to young athletes throughout the District of Columbia by implementing rules all schools and youth sporting organizations must abide by when a young athlete suffers a head injury. It also helps educate families and key individuals who are responsible for overseeing children during practice and play.
Here are a few important things to know about the Act:
- The DC Youth Athletic Concussion Act applies to athletes 18 years of age and younger and to all sports or athletic programs run by local schools in Washington, DC, including public, private and charter schools. It also applies to non-school affiliated youth sports leagues.
- The core of the Act establishes clear protocol and guidelines that must be followed by anyone who has a role in running or organizing youth athletics, such as coaches, teachers, and trainers. These rules mandate immediate removal of a young athlete whenever there is reason to believe they suffered a concussion. It also requires that removed athletes are kept off the field for both practice and games until they have had an evaluation from a medical professional and receive a written notice to return.
- “When in doubt, take them out!” has become the core message of the Act, and it is critical to reducing risks of young athletes suffering additional injuries and adverse effects of chronic trauma.
- The Act introduced an educational training program to help local residents involved in youth sports in their efforts to recognize the signs of a head injury and the risks associated with injuries and repetitive trauma. The program also instructs participants on how to properly report head injuries and the steps to be taken when removing or returning players. Certification through the program is mandatory for coaches, teachers, and others in youth athletics, required by schools and organizations for participation, and must be renewed every 2 years.
- Under the Act, parents and children involved in sports also have access to educational resources regarding concussions and brain injuries.
At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our attorneys have extensive experience working with athletes of all ages who have suffered concussions. We believe it is important for parents, coaches, and all others involved in youth sports to be aware of the protocol highlighted in the DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act – not only to ensure they are complying with the law, but more importantly to protect youth athletes from brain injuries and the life-altering impact they can have on victims and their loved ones.
Our firm congratulates Partner Cammarata on drafting legislation that makes youth sports safer throughout our community, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to support brain injury awareness. If you have questions regarding brain injuries or sports injuries, our attorneys are readily available to help you learn more about your legal rights during a free consultation.