Sport-Related Concussion in Children


There is no escaping the media coverage of concussions in professional athletes. The focus on concussion has expanded to include the risk, occurrence, and treatment of concussion in much younger athletes. A growing issue is when an athlete with signs of a concussion should be permitted to return to play. Concussions are no longer dismissed as getting your “bell rung.” To date, all 50 states have return-to-play guidelines in order to protect athletes who experience head trauma. Many states have programs that teach coaches, trainers, and referees the signs and symptoms of concussion. Unfortunately, laws and training are only helpful if followed by coaches and schools. 

A growing area for personal injury litigation concerns whether a player should have been cleared to return to play. A recent Iowa case resulted in an $850,000 verdict against a school that allowed a student to return to play after he sustained a concussion. The jury also found the school negligent for failing to notify coaches of the athlete’s potential concussion and for failing to follow up with the athlete’s guardian. As this new area for torts picks up steam, we are likely to see more and more lawsuits alleging improper training in assessing concussion and insufficient return-to-play guidelines. 

It is essential that schools and their staff members be adequately trained on the signs of concussion, as well as on applicable individual state requirements, to inform decisions about whether a player can return to play.

To read more about the Iowa case, click here

At Montgomery, Rennie and Jonson, we have a team of attorneys devoted full-time to traumatic brain injury/concussion claims. Our brain injury attorneys are always available to discuss potential concussion claims.