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Student who suffered head injuries sues for negligence


For athletes in Newton -- both young and old -- there is an increasing vigilance on the possibility that a brain injury has occurred after a blow to the head. Whereas in the past, athletes were allowed to head back out onto the field with a rudimentary checkup and asking them if they were okay, any hit to the head is now supposed to be treated as if it is a potentially severe injury. Numerous protocols are in place to protect the players from brain trauma and the team administrators from allegations of negligence. That, however, does not always mean that players will be treated with the utmost care.

A woman who suffered a brain injury in 2011 as she played field hockey for her school is pursuing legal action against the coach. The defense had put forth a motion to dismiss the case, but the judge decided that the case can go forward. According to the filing, the then-high school student suffered a blow to the head with a field hockey ball. She was not checked for symptoms of a brain injury and was put in a game five days later. In that game, she was hit in the head again. The lawsuit alleged negligence on the part of the coach.

With any injury involving the brain, there is the possibility that the victim will suffer long-term damage. There can be numerous problems that make it necessary to have assistance with doing simple tasks or even the requirement that a person will need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This can lead to massive medical costs and a severe hardship on the injured person's family. While rules are in place in sporting events to prevent those who are participating from becoming more injured after they have already suffered brain trauma, that is sometimes ignored out of ignorance or for the simple and selfish goal of winning a game.

This is a significant case as the alleged incident occurred the year after a state law was passed saying that injured students must be taken off the field until they have been medically cleared to play again. Those who are facing similar issues may also have to take legal action if a head injury was caused by another person's negligence.

Source: Boston Herald, "Ex-player sues Thayer coach in concussion negligence case," Lindsay Kalter, June 12, 2015

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