2020 has been a tough year for many reasons, not the least of which is COVID-19. Unfortunately, for several athletes, it’s getting worse. With many practices, regular seasons, and championships cancelled or rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, many sports are seeing an increase in injuries.
Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, a wide receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs, was filling in for his teammate in the Georgia-Florida game when he ran to score the first touchdown of his career, but the joy was dampened when a Florida player fell hard on Marcus’s ankle, causing severe pain.
His injury appears to be serious enough that he’s been sidelined for the rest of the season.
One possible reason for the injury is that Marcus wasn’t able to attend practices due to the pandemic, which has not only hurt himself and his teammates but other teams. The good news is he’s expected to make a full recovery and return next year.
But not all athletes are so lucky.
Some injuries are so severe that athletes can’t return to play football and suffer as they get older.
Common football injuries
American football is a favorite among sports fans in the United States. What many fans may not realize, however, is that injuries among college athletes who play at this level are quite common. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken leg or ankle
- Spinal cord injuries
- Torn ACL
- Muscle sprains
Serious injuries are more common among college and professional athletes compared to little leaguers, Pop Warner footballers and grade schoolers, but the risk of injury is the same across all ages.
But who’s responsible?
In order to determine who’s liable for a sport-injury, it may be in your best interest to contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.
Liability among colleges and universities
The National Collegiate Athletic Association requires 2 things from all schools in each division:
- “They must affirm the unchallengeable autonomous authority of the primary athletics health care providers (team physicians and athletic trainers) to determine medical management as well as if it is safe and appropriate for a student-athlete to return to play.”
- “They must designate one campus representative to oversee the athletics department’s health care administration and delivery.”
The school can be held liable for allowing students to play sports without insurance or failure to have an overseer for said insurance. If a student lies about having insurance and is injured while playing, then they can be held liable.
If the school fails to provide the proper safety equipment for their athletes, both the school and manufacturer may be held liable. Giving students broken or defective equipment to wear during games or practice can lead to new or worse injuries because the protective gear can’t do its job.
Grade school and little league liability
There are many benefits to playing a sport in high school or with a league, such as physical fitness, stress relief, hand-eye coordination, and team-building skills. According to data collected by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, nearly 3 out 4 children (under the age of 18) played a sport in 2018.
But along with the benefits comes the risk for personal injuries among teens and youth.
The most common causes for these injuries include defective equipment and negligence. Like college sports, if the protective gear is faulty, then it’s much more likely a child can be injured. Unlike college, negligence is often the first place a personal injury lawyer will look to determine liability.
Negligence is defined as “the failure to take personal care in situations where one would typically expect one’s property to come into contact with other properties or persons.” For children or college students playing sports, this definition looks a little bit different.
It is up to the plaintiff to prove that the defendant (the school) owed them a duty of care, breached the applicable duty of care, or they were injured as a direct result of the breach.
In most cases, schools and universities have a duty to keep students safe while they’re on campus or playing a school-sponsored sport. Failure to do this duty is a reasonable cause for suing the school if the plaintiff can prove that was the reason for the injury.
Common defenses for sports-related accidents
There are 3 arguments that most leagues, schools and colleges make when facing a personal injury claim:
- Assumption of risk. The student athlete voluntarily participated in the sport knowing the full risk of injury.
- Waiver of liability. Schools and organizations often have parents or athletes sign waivers before participating in a sport that states they agree to release the school from certain liabilities.
- Statute of limitations. The Georgia statute of limitations states the plaintiff has 2 years from the date of the injury to file a claim. If this isn’t done within that time frame, the school will most likely not be held liable.
Finding the right personal injury lawyer can make all the difference
If you’re like many of our clients after they’ve suffered a personal sports injury, you’re scared and uncertain about what you can do and how you’ll pay for the medical costs. In certain situations, filing a personal injury claim can help.
Hiring a Georgia personal injury lawyer who can make sure you get the best outcome possible is the next best decision you can make. The lawyers at the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley, & Hinson will sit down with you and listen to your concerns during a free initial consultation.
As one of the oldest and most distinguished law firms in Georgia, with offices in Macon, Albany, and Warner Robins, we’re proud to have served across the southeast for over 50 years and will use that experience to help make sure you don’t settle for less.