While Baseball is considered the American pastime, football has taken the dominant role in American sports. During each play, the offense marches its way down the field to score, while the defense throws up blocks to stop them, and all the while players grapple with each other on the modern gladiatorial field. Players wear padding and helmets for protection from Pee Wee football to the pros, but there are still injuries.
Individuals wrestling with each other and jumping over obstacles can easily lead to injuries. In professional football, there is a weekly list of injured players, what their injuries are, and whether they will play in their team’s scheduled weekend game. Just about any part of the body can be injured. Common injuries include:
Concussions – Concussions are brain injuries where a player is forcefully hit and his brain tissue strikes the skull causing headaches, difficulty thinking straight, increased irritability, slower reaction times, and possible sleep disturbances.
Stingers – Stingers are over-stretched neck muscles that can cause “a temporary numbness, sharp stinging pains, and sometimes weakness in the arm.”
Shoulders – Players can dislocate a shoulder where “the humerus separates from the scapula (shoulder blade) at the glenohumeral joint.” A more severe injury is a separated shoulder. Here the AC joint on the clavicle (collarbone) gets separated from the scapula.
Back injuries – Football players can suffer sprains, but more severe problems are herniated discs or fractured vertebrae.
Broken bones – Just about any bone in the body can be broken in football.
Hip pointers – These are bruises to the hip area called the iliac crest.
Quadriceps contusions – The quadriceps are the group of muscles in the front thigh. When a player is hit by with a shoulder or helmet in the quadriceps, this can lead to not only bruising, but also a large pool of blood (hematoma) that can ossify into bone.
Hamstring strains – The hamstring is “a group of three muscles that run along back of the thigh. When one or more of these muscles gets stretched too far”, a person will suffer from a hamstring strain.
Knees – Players can suffer tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), or the meniscus, the “shock-absorbing cartilage in the middle of the knee.”
Ankles – Twisting and pivoting out of a defenders reach or to grab a ball carrier can result in an ankle sprain. Sprains range in severity and can require icing, ace bandages and elevation for a few days to being in a cast for a few weeks.
From Football Field to Courtroom
When a player steps on the field, he knows there is the possibility of injury. But some injuries can be prevented or avoided. And where prevention is possible, that opens the doors to liability.
Florida is not called the Sunshine State for nothing. And with sunshine comes heat. If coaches push players too hard in the Florida heat and do not allow for adequate rehydration that can lead to heat stroke, as well as heart problems. A University of Central Florida football player died in 2008 due to overheating from conditioning drills. The player’s family sued and won a trial.
If a player gets injured and is not properly checked by a team physician before going back out on the field, that can lead to not only further injury, but make the original injury more severe. If a coach pushes players to “play through the pain,” that can lead to permanent disabling conditions affecting a player in the years to come. A former player for Orangewood Christian School in Maitland, Florida is suing the school for physical and mental injuries to his head and brain.
Now there is the recent settlement between the National Football League (NFL) and former players over brain injuries suffered during their football years. Under the settlement, the NFL has agreed to compensate former players for their injuries, pay for medical exams and underwrite research on concussion-linked brain problems.
While being proactive and taking preventative measures can protect young players from injury, there are instances where not enough precautions are taken and the cause lifetime problems. If you or your child has been injured playing sports where protective measures were not taken or proper supervision was not lacking, contact our attorneys to assess your situation.
The attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, PA., Attorneys & Counselors at Law will provide a free, no obligation consultation at our South Florida offices located in Dade, Broward and Monroe County. If you are unable to travel, we can see you at your home, hospital, or other location which is convenient for you. Call (305) 653-5555 to schedule your free consultation today.