Minimizing The Risk of Concussion in Contact Sports - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Minimizing The Risk of Concussion in Contact Sports

#AskDanielDiamond

Canadian children are falling victim to sports-related head injuries at an alarming rate. Concussions were diagnosed in 39 percent of children between 10 and 18 years of age treated at hospital emergency departments for head injuries suffered during their participation in a sporting event. Another 24 percent of children in the same age group were diagnosed with possible concussions.

The Public Health Agency has been allotted $1.4 million to work with Ontario and other provinces on developing protocols and programs addressing the problem posed by sports-related concussions. The focus is on raising awareness of the problem and educating parents, coaches and others on recognizing, managing and preventing concussion injuries.

Concussions: Lingering effects of a hard to diagnose condition

Direct blows to the head or a sudden, powerful jolt to the body may cause injury to the brain as it hits against the interior of the skull. Diagnosis can be difficult because the victim might not immediately display symptoms frequently associated with concussions, including:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Light sensitivity
  • Memory loss
  • Depression and other personality changes
  • Loss of consciousness

A concussion does not show up on X-rays, MRIs or CT scans. Symptoms detectable immediately after the injury occurs might worsen hours or days later, so it is essential for coaches and trainers to prevent the injured person from returning to participate in the sports activity until after being fully evaluated by a physician or other qualified medical professional.

The decision about returning to a sports event should never be left to the person who was injured. Concussions can diminish the person’s ability to assess his or her own condition and level of impairment.

Recovery periods for people suffering concussion injuries can vary depending upon the severity of the injury. Headaches, dizziness and other symptoms could last for weeks or months following the initial injury. It is during this recovery period that a person must exercise caution to prevent another injury to the head. A brain injury while symptoms remain from a previous concussion can cause the brain to swell and result in additional and more physical and mental impairment.

Preventing or minimizing head injuries

Helmets designed to protect the head from trauma only work if they are worn. Whether designed to protect the wearer during sports activities, such as football, baseball and hockey, or manufactured for use at construction and other work sites, helmets help to prevent or lessen the severity of head injuries. One thing a helmet cannot do is prevent the wearer from suffering a concussion, so the victim of a head injury must still be evaluated by medical personnel to determine the presence of a concussion even if he or she was wearing a helmet.

In order to work effectively, helmets must be correctly fitted and sized to the individual. Chin straps must be buckled and adjusted to allow the wearer to insert a finger between the chinstrap and chin.

There are several organizations which set standards for the design and the protection provided by different types of helmets. Helmets meeting the minimum safety standards can frequently be recognized by a sticker attached to them by the manufacturer or by an independent testing company.

Compensation for individuals injured during contact sports

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond the risks associated with contact sports, but a participant suffering a concussion might be entitle to compensation if the injury was caused by the negligence of another person. Call our 24/7 personal injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to one of our team members. We have offices located throughout Ontario and offer free consultations and case evaluations.

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