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Teen Says Her TBI Was Preventable

An Orlando high school student’s family sued the Florida High School Athletics Association and several other defendants after their daughter allegedly suffered a head injury in a lacrosse game.

The incident took place in February 2015, during a game between the plaintiff’s East River High School and Timber Creek High School. According to court documents, a former Florida High School Player of the Year high-sticked the plaintiff during a scuffle for a loose ball; both that girl and the plaintiff’s school are also named defendants in the case, along with Orange County. Although the plaintiff, who was 14 years old at the time, said she “went back behind the bleachers and I vomited and then I just collapsed in the parking lot,” the East River coach put her back in the game. Allegedly, the trainer did not evaluate the girl until the game was over, and the extra activity exacerbated her head injury.

The FHSAA, which refused comment “because it is an ongoing legal matter,” has a concussion protocol for players who show signs of head injury; however, the plaintiff’s coach insists that the girl was asymptomatic when she went back in the game.

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

Each year, about 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, and about 80 percent of them are rushed to the emergency room immediately thereafter. Children under 15 and adults over 65 are the most at-risk age groups. Initially, victims suffer from either a partial or total loss of consciousness, along with other physical symptoms, like nausea and/or vomiting. After these initial symptoms pass, the victims suffer from headaches, have trouble sleeping, and are prone to mood swings. Without aggressive medical treatment and physical therapy, victims eventually suffer from dementia-like symptoms.

These effects are irreversible, at least to an extent, because dead brain cells do not regenerate. But after medical treatment to alleviate the symptoms and physical therapy that teaches uninjured parts of the brain to assume the lost functions, most victims can live normally.

Athletic events draw considerable attention in this area, and the legal aspects of these and other injuries are discussed below. Some other common TBI causes include:

  • Falls: Either a slip-and-fall at a grocery store or a fall from a height can cause a TBI, particularly among the elderly and children.
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Airbags, seatbelts, and other restraints were primarily designed to reduce trauma injuries and not lessen the risk of TBIs.
  • Sudden Loud Noises: Doctors believe that explosive blasts and other events create shock waves that disrupt brain functions.

Damages in a brain injury case normally include compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses.

Assumption of the Risk

People who place themselves in harm’s way may waive their rights to sue for damages in court, under certain circumstances. There are basically two assumption of the risk categories:

  • Express: Almost no written contracts are ironclad, and these pacts are no exception. Many waivers are void as take-it-or-leave-it contracts of adhesion or otherwise against public policy.
  • Implied: The plaintiff must fully understand the specific risk involved and still choose to participate in the dangerous activity.

As a general rule, minors cannot waive their right to sue unless the waiver is countersigned by a parent or guardian.

Contact Aggressive Attorneys

TBIs often bring life-altering physical and financial challenges. For a free consultation with a zealous personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.

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