Traumatic Brain Injuries among Youth

A new Canadian medical study is helping bring attention to the relationship between sports and brain injuries among youth. Among other findings, the study revealed that sports now constitute the single largest contributing factor to Traumatic Brain Injuries among those 5 to 19 years of age.*

While some risk of harm is inherent to most sports, the researchers stressed that a significant portion of the injuries studied were preventable. As one example, 10% of the injuries sustained in hockey – the leading contributor to Traumatic Brain Injuries among youth – were caused by hits from behind, which are banned.

This leads into an important point regarding the intersection between sports injuries and legal claims. Where an injury is sustained in sports as a direct result of another’s actions – be it through unreasonable instances of violence or playing conditions and equipment which fall below general safety standards – the injured party may then have a legal claim for financial compensation against those responsible.

While the law does take into account the voluntary nature of sports, it also seeks to prevent the sorts of injury causing behaviour that may occur in sports – assault, negligent supervision and care – that are not socially beneficial.

Personal injury lawyers help those harmed by sports injuries to assess the conditions relating to their injury and to decide whether a legal claim for compensation is possible in the circumstances. As legislation explicitly limits the duration after which a legal claim may be pursued after an injury – and because certain sports injuries may develop and worsen over time – those injured are advised to arrange a legal consultation immediately following their injury.

The youth brain trauma study’s researchers point to increasing instances of parents pulling their children out of physical sports to avoid injury. In light of this reaction, it is beneficial to consider that where there is an increased awareness of the harms inherent to sports, together with a general knowledge of potential legal liabilities, there are stronger incentives for everyone involved to create safer sporting conditions, especially where youth are concerned.