It is still very early in the concussion issue – called an epidemic by the CDC – however this has not stopped people seeking damages against schools and institutions for perceived wrong doings. These suits are based on the proper protection of the individual injured, you can see the multiple former NFL players filing suit for examples. However, there are some that fly under the radar, well because they are not high paid athletes.
One such case in California was just settled and reading the article brings chills down my spine as an athletic trainer for adolescents;
His lawyers were prepared to argue at trial that minutes before the September 2007 game, Eveland went to the team’s athletic trainer and asked not to play because he had a worsening headache that was so bad he couldn’t focus his eyes.
The trainer, Scott Gommel, then went to coach Chris Hauser.
According to one witness, a student trainer at the time, Hauser was overheard telling Gommel, “You aren’t a (expletive) doctor,” and something to the effect of, “These are my players, and I’ll decide who plays and who doesn’t.”
Eveland started the game and collapsed about 30 minutes later. Two other young witnesses were expected to testify that in the days after Eveland collapsed, Gommel told them that he had gone to Hauser and told him of Eveland’s complaints but that the coach put him in the game anyway.
Under oath during two of the more than 300 depositions taken in the marathon legal case, Hauser and Gommel swore those conversations never occurred.
I don’t know why there is a conflicting story on the notification of the coach. If the AT did not notify the coach of the issue then there is a huge issue with him. If he did notify the coach that the player was injured and felt he should not play for any medical reason then the AT would be less of a target. What parents, kids and coaches need to know that the ultimate liability of playing and not playing falls on the coach, period.
If the coach wants to use the advice of the health care professional and not play them, fine, however if the coach wants to ignore documented problems and play the player then there is the problem.
This case is very hard to discern from this one article, however there is a moral here: document, document, document.