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Helping Tennessee Victims of Sports-Related Brain Injuries

Protecting clients when they need us most, from offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville

Sports and other activities can play a significant role in a child’s growth and development. Playing sports gives a child the chance to learn how to work together with others as a team, the chance to excel in a fun activity, and the ability to lose with dignity while learning valuable life lessons. Sports are also a lot of fun and a great way for kids and adults to get exercise, whether they play outdoors or indoors.

However, sports also go hand-in-hand with the potential for serious injuries. Contact sports especially pose a risk for head and brain injuries. When that happens, you want an experienced Nashville traumatic brain injury attorney by your side. At Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we’re dedicated to fighting on behalf of our injured clients. We hold those responsible for your or your child’s injuries accountable, and we work to secure compensation for your losses.

With offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville, our “Gladiators in Suits” are always right here when you need us most.

Rocky McElhaney

Answers to Your Questions

  • What you should know about sports injuries and the brain
  • Signs your child has a brain injury
  • Tennessee Return to Play guidelines
  • Are liability waivers enforceable if my child is injured?
  • What damages are available when my child suffers a sports-related brain injury?

"When I was a teenager, Dad got hurt. Insurance company wouldn't pay. We lost our house. But, Dad got a lawyer and we got justice. That's the moment I decided to become an attorney. As a lawyer, I have dedicated my life to helping injury victims."

~ Rocky

What you should know about sports injuries and the brain

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, in 2020, there were over 64,000 brain injury-related deaths – or 176 every day. Although the majority of traumatic brain injuries (or TBIs) occur from things like falls or motor vehicle accidents, many children and teens also experience TBIs from playing sports.

In fact, a 2019 study found that “sports and recreation” was the leading cause of non-fatal traumatic brain injuries in adolescents aged five to 19 years old. And, recent research shows a correlation between activities like football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a form of brain damage that has been linked to changes in behavior, suicidal thoughts, and tendencies and dementia.

While most people think of football in relation to sports-related brain injuries, other sports put your child at risk of a serious brain injury as well. Some of the more dangerous sports include:

  • Boxing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Cheerleading
  • Horseback riding
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Wrestling
  • Baseball

Any sport that increase your child’s chances of being hit, punched, or kicked in the head increase your child’s chance of being seriously, permanently hurt.

Signs your child has a brain injury

It’s important to remember that a concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury and must be treated as such. If your child shows any of the following signs or symptoms after a blow or jolt to the head, ensure they receive medical treatment as soon as possible:

  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Severe headache or headache that gets worse
  • Trouble with balance
  • Difficulty speaking or slurring words
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble waking up or unresponsive

Children and teens have still-developing brains, and when injuries go unaddressed they can cause permanent damage. Per Verywell Health:

According to research, it’s dangerous if the head trauma and concussion happen at the same time that essential learning and thinking skills are developing. If the child’s brain is learning problem-solving or critical thinking and this process is interrupted, then these skills may not progress the way they should. The head trauma interferes with the normal learning process.

It is particularly damaging if brain injury happens over and over again. Each time the brain is traumatized it has to recover, and if it hasn’t had time to fully heal since the last concussion, this slows or even stops the process.

When your child is playing sports at school or in an after-school program, how do you as a parent know if he or she is getting proper care in the event of an accident?

Tennessee Return to Play guidelines

In 2013, Tennessee passed a sports concussion law designed to reduce youth concussions and to ensure schools, in partnership with parents, doctors, and school staff, implement an action plan to support a safe return to academics and play.

The legislation has three key components:

  • To inform and educate coaches, youth athletes, and their parents and require them to sign a concussion information form before competing.
  • To require removal of a youth athlete who appears to have suffered a concussion from play or practice at the time of the suspected concussion.
  • To require a youth athlete to be cleared by a licensed health care professional before returning to play or practice.

Are liability waivers enforceable if my child is injured?

Most parents and sports participants are familiar with liability waivers. These are the documents a parent must sign before their child will be permitted to participate in a sporting activity. In general terms, when a parent signs the document, they are agreeing to release the organization from liability for injuries that the child could suffer as a result of participating in the activity. If a parent has signed a waiver of liability, can they still file a negligence lawsuit if their child is injured?

Not every liability waiver will be upheld in court. The enforceability of the waiver depends largely on the language included in the waiver. Many sports teams or organizations may re-use “boilerplate” waiver forms without consulting with an attorney to make sure the language in the form comports with local laws. In certain cases, under Tennessee law, waivers may be challenged in court.

This points out the vital importance of working with one of the experienced Nashville traumatic brain injury lawyers at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm. We know the laws which govern Tennessee, and we know when a waiver has no standing. We also know how to fight it out with your insurance company when they don’t want to pay your claim. If your child is suffering a traumatic brain injury because of a sports-related incident, we want to help you get what you need quickly, so your child can begin to heal.

What damages are available when my child suffers a sports-related brain injury?

If your child or teen experiences a traumatic brain injury while in the care of their school or athletic organization, they may be entitled to financial compensation. Our Nashville personal injury attorneys work to hold the right people accountable for their negligence. We help you secure the compensation your child needs to recover from his or her injuries. This can include:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages, if the injury limits their ability to work now and in the future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

Our legal team can explain any special circumstances regarding filing a claim for a minor, as well as filing a claim against a school district, in a personal consultation.

Contact our knowledgeable Nashville sports injury attorneys to discuss your case today

If you or your child has suffered a sports-related injury, we are ready to consult with you and offer legal guidance about your situation. Don’t let the insurance company attempt to intimidate you and your family and devalue your claim. Call Rocky McElhaney Law Firm today at 615-425-2500 or fill out our contact form to make a no-obligation appointment at one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Clarksville. We fight for you.