The National Collegiate Athletic Association recently changed its concussion procedures to make the doctors more independent.
Under the new rules, coaches do not have any power to hire, fire, or discipline the head injury doctors. They are also independent from team trainers. The Big 12 introduced the rule at the NCAA convention, and it was heartily endorsed by the other schools. University of Texas women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky said most schools already had similar policies in place, but it was necessary to make the procedure official and binding. The new rule also has player safeguards: if the player seeks a second opinion about a concussion, the school’s medical officers still have the final say.
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey said his conference passed a similar rule in 2014.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Despite the fact that sports-related concussions receive so much media attention, they account for only a minority of the 1.7 million annual victims. Nearly 80 percent of these people are rushed to the emergency room; some 52,000 of them die shortly thereafter. The science behind these injuries is still emerging, which is why many organizations are still struggling to introduce appropriate rules in this area.
Concussions are extremely difficult to diagnose, an item that will be discussed in detail below. What is known is that some of the major causes of traumatic brain injuries are:
- Motor Vehicle Crashes: Especially in a medium or high-speed collision, unsecured interior objects turn into deadly projectiles, so there is a substantial risk for injury even if the occupants are buckled up and the airbags work properly.
- Slip and Fall: A momentary loss of balance, whether it be from a wet spot on the floor or a loose step on the ladder, often causes a serious head injury.
- Shock Wave/Loud Noises: A significant percentage of the patients at military hospitals are diagnosed with a head injury from an explosive blast, and scientists are not exactly sure why or how.
Victims in these cases are often titled to significant compensation, because of the enormous costs involved. Since dead brain cells never regenerate, the victim is often facing months or years of physical therapy to teach surviving areas of the brain to assume the lost functions. Even then, there is often a permanent injury that involves physical adjustments to the house and other expenses.
A TBI is often not diagnosed for days, weeks, or even months after the incident. It is only when personality changes and mood swings appear to be permanent that the victims seek attention for these injuries.
In cases like these, the discovery rule applies and might give injured victims additional time to file a lawsuit. Plaintiffs are not obliged to file lawsuits until they know, or should know, about their injuries.
It is important to note that the discovery rule does not apply in all cases, and whether it applies or not, delay nearly always means less compensation.
A traumatic brain injury creates complicated legal, medical, and financial issues. For a free consultation with an attorney who can help you sort things out, contact an aggressive Memphis personal injury attorney today. An attorney can arrange for victims to receive ongoing medical care, even if they have no insurance and no money.