Will your young athlete suffer a serious injury this season?

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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With California schools back in session, you may be looking forward to those evenings watching your child participate in one of the many athletic offerings at school. Some team sports are already underway, and you may already have spent time bandaging wounds or waiting for X-ray results.

While you certainly don’t want to let the fear of injury keep your child from playing a sport, you would be wise to understand how frequently sports injuries occur. Many of these are life-changing; however, they are also preventable in many cases.

Protecting kids on the field or court

While doctors see sprains and fractures most often, concussions and other head injuries make up about 12% of the most common youth athletic injuries. Additionally, about one quarter of emergency room visits by young athletes are related to dehydration, which can lead to heatstroke, organ failure and other consequences.

While any sport can result in injuries, some leave your child vulnerable to the most catastrophic injuries, including brain trauma and spinal cord damage. It may not surprise you that football is the sport that results in the most emergency room visits per year. If your child ends up in the emergency room, you may want to know how this happened. After all, you would expect those who coach and supervise to follow these common sense practices:

  • Provide appropriate protective gear and insist young athletes wear it
  • Make time to instruct and train athletes, so they are performing the activity safely
  • Match opponents appropriately, so one player is not at risk of injury by a larger player
  • Supervise your child at all times during practices and games and remain alert for signs of injury
  • Provide immediate care following a potentially dangerous incident, which includes benching your child if there is any suspicion of injury
  • Resist the impulse to allow unnecessary high-risk or overly aggressive activities even if they improve the team’s chances of victory

Your child’s school can take steps to protect its young athletes, too, such as hiring coaches who can train athletes without placing them at risk and ensuring teams have supervisors who have basic first aid training.

Who is responsible for your child’s safety?

Your child certainly wants to be part of the team and to be instrumental in bringing the team to victory. For this reason, your child may refuse to reveal an injury if it means the coach might remove him or her from the game.

Even if this happens, the adults involved may carry some liability for your child’s injury. For assistance in seeking justice for your child, you would be wise to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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