New Football Helmet Warning Labels Beg the Question – Do you really want to get your head in the game?

by The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP
Contact

Football helmet companies make attempts to avoid future athletes’ injuries and lawsuits:

The topic of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in sports has recently become a very pressing issue.  Most notably, the occurrence of concussions in the sport of football has been surfacing and played out more and more in our nation’s courtrooms.  In light of the growing liability issues associated with football head injuries and the NFL’s recent $765 million settlement for former NFL players, an article in the NY Times addressed the warning label language that football helmet makers include on their products.

Schutt Sports and Rawlings, two helmet manufacturers, contain warning labels on all of their football helmets that state: “No helmet system can protect you from serious brain and/or neck injuries including paralysis or death.  To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football.”

Riddell, the company that makes football helmets for the National Football League (NFL) – which also happens to be the largest maker of helmets in the United States, does not include the language suggesting players should opt out of the sport. In fact, both the NFL and Riddell were named as defendants in a recent lawsuit filed by 4 former NFL players for personal injuries due to traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, as reported by The Washington Times, the family of Derek Sheely, a Frostburg State University football player in Maryland, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA, his coaches and the helmet maker – Schutt Sports.  Derek Sheely collapsed and died in 2011 after taking part in alleged prolonged and intense ‘helmet-to-helmet’ drills.

Purpose of the warnings:

Both the NFL and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have increasingly been at the center of head injury lawsuits.  Therefore, some football helmet makers have taken it upon themselves to increase awareness of the dangers of playing football.

Do these football helmet makers really want players to stop playing football?  Probably not.  However, these manufactures recognize that although there is a risk of harm in anything one may participate in – when it comes to football, the risk factor is inherently more dangerous due to the nature of the game.

The purpose of these warnings is to make consumers aware of the risks involved.  Reducing the risk of injuries in football is a more realistic goal than total injury prevention.  By warning players, coaches, and parents of the dangers involved in the sport and also increasing awareness about concussions and what steps to take in the event of such an injury – the risk may be reduced.

What is a concussion?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a concussion as a kind of TBI that is, “…caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.”

The Mayo Clinic describes the brain’s make-up as a gelatin-like substance.  Inside the skull, the brain ‘floats’ in the cerebrospinal fluid.  This fluid protects the brain from typical daily bumps that an individual may experience.  However, a violent blow to the head or upper body may cause the brain to ‘hit’ the inner wall of the skull - resulting in a concussion.

Often, concussions occur while individuals play sports.  Concussions can occur while playing any sport.  The CDC summarizes the details of concussions as follows:

·      Concussions are brain injuries – all of which are serious.

·      Loss of consciousness is not the norm with concussions.

·      Proper response is crucial – the ability to recognize a concussion and respond accordingly to concussions at their onset can prevent additional injury and even prevent fatalities.

The ‘bump’ or contact to the head does not have to be a hard hit to cause serious injury.  A serious TBI can even happen without direct contact to the head.  For instance, if a person’s body is struck and the blow to the person’s body causes his or her head to quickly jerk backwards and forwards – a concussion may ensue.

Recognizing and responding to concussions:

The CDC lists concussion-warning signs for coaches, parents and others on the sidelines to look for in athletes so that additional injuries may be avoided.  Two factors that raise a red flag that an athlete has a potential concussion include:

1.     The athlete experiences a blow to the head or body wherein the head moves back and forth               in a rapid fashion; and

2.     The athlete’s demeanor – mental or physical – changes.

Should an athlete experience any of the warning signs – it is imperative that he or she discontinues play and be seen by a qualified medical professional who will be able to determine when and if, the individual can return to athletic activities.

Legal recourse for head injuries:

The risk of suffering a TBI exists when playing football regardless of the warning label on any football helmet.  If you or a loved one suffered from a TBI and want to explore legal options, it is important to contact an attorney who specializes in traumatic brain injury.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP
Contact
more
less

The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.