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Can protective gear be held liable for a brain injury?

Patricia M. Jarzobski

Many parents who have children involved in contact sports always worry about the worst-case scenario. There is always a fear that a child can suffer permanent damage to his or her limbs or a brain injury. Colorado parents take every precaution that they can and place the rest of their trust into the coaches and the protection that is given to their children to wear. The problem remains, if a child does get hurt, who or what is to blame?

A high school student was in a football blocking drill when he was hit by another player. The coaches did not realize until hours after the incident that he was in need of medical attention. Because of the accident, he received brain damage that paralyzed him on his left side. According to the boy's lawyer, he can function as close to normal as can be expected, but he will be very spontaneous in his actions because of the type of brain damage that he sustained.

The boy's family has claimed a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the helmet he was wearing, Riddell, along with school officials and the coaches. The "Revolution" style helmet manufactured by Riddell was advertised to lower the chances of a concussion when players wore it. According to the claim, the standards that were used to test the helmets were subpar, and there was research done demonstrating that no helmet could truly prevent head trauma. All of that information was kept confidential.

When the jury initially heard the case, the boy and his family won a substantial settlement for his brain injury with a portion of it coming from the manufacturer. Currently, Riddell is appealing the Colorado court's decision. Even with all of the negative press, Riddell still stands firmly behind its product. Those who have suffered injuries in similar situations may find it beneficial to research applicable laws to determine the best course of action regarding a possible personal injury claim against any negligent parties.

Source: 9news.com, Colorado lawsuit leads way on football helmet injuries, No author, Feb. 24, 2014

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