Philadelphia Sports League Injury Attorney
Ensuring the safety of student-athletes is a priority of sports leagues. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that an athlete will be safe from a serious injury. A sports league injury can result from various factors. For example, an athlete may not have access to adequate equipment, or they could have been cleared to play despite lingering effects from a prior injury. If you or a family member suffered a serious sports injury, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia organized sports injury attorney.
The attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm possess over three decades of experience handling intricate injury cases. We understand that a sports injury is a frightening event that can negatively impact your sports career, and we are here to fight for you. Our team of legal professionals will work tirelessly to discover who is responsible for your injuries and fight to hold that party financially accountable. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your sports injury case, call us at (215) 709-6940, or contact us online.
Sports Injury Statistics
In the United States, approximately 30 million children and teenagers participate in various forms of organized sports. Children and teens in sports leagues suffer 3.5 million injuries each year that sideline them for a period of time. According to USA Today, about 1.35 million youths suffer a serious sports injury
Of course, there are some sports which are more hazardous than others. Contact sports like football and ice hockey are bound to have more injuries than non-contact sports like golf and tennis. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) compiled estimated injury statistics from a study involving youths between the ages of 5 and 14 who participate in various sports:
- Football – Approximately 215,000 children were treated in an emergency room for a football-related injury.
- Basketball – Over 170,000 children ages required hospital emergency services for a basketball-related injury.
- Baseball/Softball – About 110,000 children needed emergency treatment for a baseball-related injury. Additionally, baseball had the highest fatality rate for children ages 5 to 14.
- Soccer – Around 88,000 children suffered soccer-related injuries that required emergency medical treatment.
- Ice Hockey – Over 20,000 children suffered ice hockey-related injuries that required emergency medical treatment.
The CPSC has also published recent statistics detailing the most common injuries in youth sports leagues. For example, strains or sprains injure approximately 451,000 children per year from the ages of 6 to 19. Fractures account for about 249,000 injuries a year in children.
The leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is a brain injury; these injuries tend to occur in sports like ice hockey. Fortunately, a fatal sports injury is a rare occurrence.
Injuries that Occur Often in Little Leagues in Philadelphia
Playing sports is healthy and fun. Sports provides a great opportunity for developing new skills and strength.; however, as with most sports, little league baseball has the potential for causing injuries. This is especially true for children who have been playing ball year in and year out. Some of the most common injuries among little leaguers include the following:
Little league baseball involves a lot of running and chasing. To field the ball or run the bases, players rely on explosive movements for proper execution. Ankle sprains often occur by tripping, falling, sliding at an awkward angle, or colliding with another player.
Concussions are a mild form of traumatic brain injury some little leaguers experience after a strong blow to the head. Most head trauma among little leaguers is due to collisions with other players or from incoming balls. Typically, being hit by a ball affects children playing the field since they lack the protective helmets batters use.
Many little leaguers suffer from an elbow injury known as “little league elbow.” This injury happens as a consequence of repetitive throwing motions. If left untreated, this type of injury can cause severe problems in the elbow. Besides decreasing movement and speed, little league elbow can cause acute pain.
Like little league elbow, repetitive throwing motions often cause problems in the shoulder area. Overuse of the throwing arm can cause injury to the humerus, the closest arm bone to the shoulder. Commonly, this type of injury can cause pain and discomfort to the player.
What Does Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act Require?
Passed in 2012, Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act was intended to improve the treatment received by children suspected of sustaining a TBI. The law assigns certain duties to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Education and sets forth penalties for noncompliance. The law applies to athletic activities including:
- Inter-school sporting events or matches
- Club or intramural sports
- Non-competitive cheerleading
- Practices and scrimmages
The Act encourages or requires a number of actions intended to reduce the likelihood and severity of TBIs in youth sports. To begin with, the statute requires government entities to develop and distribute educational materials regarding traumatic brain injury — including the risks of continuing play following a suspected TBI. Prior to being permitted to participate, a student athlete and his or her parents must acknowledge that they have reviewed this material. The law suggests, though it does not require, that an information meeting occur prior to the season as well.
Furthermore, the law requires a coach to remove a player from a game after a referee, school official, medical professional, or the player’s coach notes that the student is displaying signs or symptoms of a concussion or TBI. The student may not return to play until he or she is examined by an appropriate medical professional and cleared to return to play.
Coaches must adhere to these standards which includes a yearly concussion management training course. If coaches fail to remove a player suspected of sustaining a brain injury or place a player back into a game before the player receives clearance, penalties can apply. For a first offense, the coach is to be suspended for the remainder of the season. A second violation carries a ban for the current school year and the following one. Finally a third offense carries a lifetime ban from coaching.
Who is Liable After an Injury in a Children’s Sports League in Philadelphia?
Like most sports, playing at little league baseball has the potential of causing injuries. Coaches, associations, and leagues are aware the game has certain risks attached to it. This is why in most instances, associations and coaches often require parents to sign a waiver of liability in the event of an injury. However, does this mean a parent can’t file a lawsuit against a coach or the league after their son or daughter suffered an injury?
While a waiver of liability can make it difficult for a parent to file a lawsuit, it is not impossible. A waiver of liability primarily covers certain risks and accidents that are associated with the sport. However, if a league, organization, or coach acts recklessly, endangers the safety of a player, or commits any illegal acts, they could be liable for them.
For instance, coaches are like “father figures” for most kids playing the sport. They owe every player on his or her team a duty of care. If a player gets hurt during a game, the coach must work to ensure the player’s safety. If the coach fails to address the situation and does pull the injured player out of the came, they could be liable for any further consequences.
If your son or daughter gets injured due to the negligent acts or lack of supervision from a league or coach, you may be able to file a lawsuit on his or her behalf. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain compensation for the medical expenses, pain, and suffering your son or daughter faced. In many cases, the league will try to raise the waiver as a defense to escape a lawsuit. However, don’t be misled into believing a waiver of liability makes them untouchable.
Can You Sue for an Organized Sports Injury in Philadelphia?
There are some instances where an injured athlete can file suit for their sports league injury. An injured athlete may be successful in a lawsuit when the cause of their injury involved faulty equipment, an intentional fight, or poor supervision from coaches and other authorities. When a child is seriously injured while participating in a school-sponsored sport or athletic organization, the parties held liable for their injuries are typically the adults in charge.
Defective sports gear can be the cause of serious injuries to child and teen athletes. When athletes put on protective gear like helmets, pads, masks, or braces, they are not expecting that equipment to malfunction. Unfortunately, sports equipment does not always protect young athletes. While it is reasonable to believe that equipment like football pads will not absorb the entire impact from a tackle, they should at least function well enough to keep your child from the very injuries the equipment is designed to protect against. When equipment does not operate as intended, and a child suffers a serious injury, there is a possibility that you could hold a manufacturer liable under product liability laws. Coaches and other training staff may also be held liable for failing to inspect equipment before distributing it to athletes.
When sports games become intense, there is always a small possibility of a fight breaking out. It is the job of coaches, referees and other officials present to break up these fights and keep athletes safe. Some players may even want to intentionally injure other players. When the adults in charge allow behavior like this to go unchecked, they may be held liable for the role they played in your child being injured. Additionally, an athlete who sets out to intentionally injure another athlete may be held personally responsible for attacking your child.
Some organizations give athletes waivers to sign prior to joining a sports league. These waivers may limit your right to sue or limit who you can sue in the event of an injury. However, these agreements do not always eliminate your right to sue; you should speak with an injury lawyer to discuss your rights in a sports injury case.
An Example – A Brain Injury Suffered in a Downingtown Youth Soccer Game
Downingtown located in Chester County, Pennsylvania is a youth soccer hotspot where coaches are often extremely demanding of their players and those who try out for the varsity, club and travel teams. Roster spots in the high school soccer program are especially coveted by parents and athletes as the girls team has been league champions for 5 of the last 10 years and won the district championship in 2009. The girl, now 16-years-old, brought the suit due to an incident that occurred at a youth soccer scrimmage when she was 14.
According to the account given by the girl and her family, she was an incoming freshman who was attempting to make the Downingtown High School East team. The girl, who is identified in the lawsuit as M.U., went up for a header but instead of striking the ball with her head she collided with another player. M.U. reportedly fell to the ground in tears and was taken out of the game. But she was then allegedly placed back into the game by her coach, Craig Reed. After returning to the game M.U. allegedly struck the ball with her head several times and continued to collide with other players.
On the bus ride home, M.U. claims she began to experience a headache. By the next day she claims that she suffered from vision problems and dizziness. These problems apparently led her to miss 80 days of school her freshman year. M.U. also claims that these problems and impairments have now narrowed her choice of colleges and may limit “the kind of future she will be able to enjoy”.
The federal lawsuit names the school district, the coach, and Total Soccer as defendants. Reed did not return calls for comment. The school district stated that they would not discuss ongoing litigation. Total Soccer, Reed’s former employer, spoke positively about Reed and his coaching performance.
Philadelphia Organized Sports Injury Lawyers Can Help You Recover Compensation for Your Child’s Injuries
If your child was injured in a sports league and you are considering filing a lawsuit, contact a Philadelphia sports league injury lawyer. The skilled lawyers The Reiff Law Firm are here to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve for your child’s injuries.
The league and everyone involved in your son’s or daughter’s little league experience will try to claim they are not liable because of a signed waiver of liability. However, they don’t have the final say. The circumstances surrounding your kid’s injury may dictate whether you have a claim against the at-fault party. To learn more about your child’s potential little league injury case in a free consultation, call the Philadelphia little league baseball injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.