When Sports Turn Deadly – What You Need to Know to Protect Your Children

By Greg Kohn

Most children participate in some type of organized sport or recreational activity during the lifetime. For some families, sports are a significant factor in their lives. Family time, meals, and vacations are planned around sporting activities. In some cases, parents choose schools based on the sports teams or activities offered by the school. For some parents, their child’s participation in sports is something that is never questioned.

However, thousands of children are seen in emergency rooms and trauma centers each week for sports-related injuries. Tragically, some of those injuries result in the death of the child. Our New Jersey wrongful death attorneys represent children and their parents when a child is injured or killed because of a sports-related injury. We diligently pursue each case to hold the negligent party responsible and liable for the actions that led to a child’s injury or death.

Determining Liability for a Sports Injury

If you suspect that your child’s sports injury is the result of negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, you need to consult our New Jersey personal injury attorney immediately. Our legal team investigates the incident to determine the cause of the injury and whether you or your child has a legal cause of action for damages.

Some of the reasons why you and your child may have a valid legal claim for a sports injury include:

  • Accidents and injuries caused by defective sports equipment
  • Injuries caused by hazardous or dangerous conditions on fields, gyms, trails, and other sports sites
  • Negligent supervision by coaches, supervisors, healthcare providers, and others associated with the sport, team, or facility
  • Defective playing surfaces
  • Lack of protective gear and failure to require children to use protective gear at all times
  • Intentional violence
  • Unlawful or illegal activities

If your child has been injured or passed away after a sports-related injury, contact our New Jersey personal injury attorney to discuss the potential for a personal injury claim or wrongful death action against the parties responsible for your child’s injuries.

Warning Signs Your Child’s Coach or Other Adults Are Not Acting in Your Child’s Best Interest

The best way you can protect your child from sustaining sports-related injuries is to be an active participant in monitoring your child’s participation in the sport. You should attend practices in addition to attending competitions and games. While you may not be able to prevent all injuries or accidents, you should watch for warning signs that your child may be at a higher risk for a sports-related injury because of negligence or recklessness.

Signs to be concerned about include:

  • Coaches encourage children to “brush it off” and return to the game after an injury, especially a head injury;
  • Medical attention is not provided immediately for an injury that causes swelling or pain;
  • Lack of safety equipment;
  • Failure to warm up before games;
  • Lack of water for hydration during games;
  • Failing to use eye protection and other protective gear;
  • Dangerous playing fields or conditions;
  • Encouraged to play while injured;
  • An attitude that winning is everything and you must win at all costs;
  • Lack of proper instruction;
  • Coaches do not have the proper certification or credentials;
  • Basing teams on age instead of size, especially for younger children; and,
  • Overtraining or training in extreme temperatures.

If you suspect something is wrong, investigate the matter immediately. Do not hesitate to pull your child from play if you believe your child is at risk.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment

It is better to err on the side of caution with a sports-related injury. You should have your child cleared by a physician before he or she returns to play. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause long-term conditions and increase the risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other adverse conditions. It is imperative that you seek medical attention after any sports injury, regardless of the severity of the injury.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney for More Information

Even though you signed a release, liability waiver, or permission slip that does not mean that your child is not entitled to compensation for a sports injury. Waivers and releases do not absolve parties from all liability related to accidents and injuries.

Contact the New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Nagel Rice, LLP today to discuss your child’s legal rights to recover compensation for his or her injuries, pain, and damages.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.