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Maintaining Safe Schools


High school football players are nearly twice as likely to sustain a concussion as college players, according to a recent study by the Institute of Medicine and funded by the NFL. As such, it’s important for schools to have concussion protocols for student-athletes injured during play. A recent case, Mann v. Palmerton Area School District, 117 LRP 40825 (3d Cir. 09/21/17), highlights the importance of having school concussion management and prevention policies in place for student-athletes. After a football player in Pennsylvania demonstrated concussion-like symptoms following a hard hit during practice in November 2011, his coach took him out of practice. Returning to practice on the same day, after being hit hard again, the coach removed him, and he was eventually diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. Although the 3d Circuit found that the coach in this case was entitled to qualified immunity because the player lacked a clearly defined constitutional right to be protected from further harm when his injury occurred in 2011, it held that such a right does exist. Therefore, it observed, “a state actor violates this right when the injured student-athlete is required to be exposed to a risk of harm by continuing to practice or compete.”

This article suggests a range of policies that schools should address.

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Mann v. Palmerton Area School District, concussions, football, student-athletes, sports head injuries