Articles Posted in Sport Related Injuries

sports%20football%20against%20grey%20background%20sports%20related%20injuries.jpgFlorida summers are just plain hot. When a high school or club runs football practice in August, there are risks of heat exertion injuries and even death to young athletes. Football is well known in the State of Florida as a sport that traditionally involves rigorous practices and training to build stamina and champions. Yes, it is an uber competitive sport. Coaches, parents, school officials, other students, fans, and yes the players add to the fervor to play hard and win. Unfortunately, at times, this fervor to win and compete can lead to disasastous consequences in the form of heat exertion, heat stroke, hyperthermia, and, yes, death.

The focus on high school sports should be on safety first, sportsmanship, and then competition. Of course, there are many who will oppose such a statement or viewpoint. Certainly, some injuries and even deaths are unpredictable and unpreventable. However, every step and safety measure should be taken by schools and clubs to protect our children engaged in high school football training and conditioning. Building champions can and does at times cost the lives of children trying to prove their worth and value to a team.

Athletic trainers, therapists, and medical providers should be an integral part of every single high school practice and conditional program. Written policies and plans should be put in a place. Coaches should be in high alert for environment conditions and physiological symptoms that can put a student athlete also known as a “child” at risk for serious personal injury or death. One good starting point is a position statement / research paper published by the National Institute of Health titled National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Exertional Heat Illnesses

sports%20soccer%20ball%20on%20white%20background.jpgThroughout the State of Florida and the United States, children participate in youth sports. Literally millions of children on any given day participate in a practice, drill, or youth sports game. Whether it is football, basketball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, or other sport, children are out in the community getting exercise, interacting with friends, and hopefully getting some valuable life lessons.

When a child is injured while participating in a youth sports activity, there is often a question posed to me as a Florida Child Injury Lawyer as follows:

Can a coach or youth sporting organization be held liable for injuries sustained by a child while participating in the sport?

sports%20football%20against%20grey%20background%20sports%20related%20injuries.jpgOn many sports fields and park facilities, there is a safety device that can and does save lives and protect children participating in youth sport programs – the lightning detector. While lightning related injuries are not as common as other types of injuries at parks and schools, lighting related injuries and deaths do take place and, in some cases, are preventable with the use of a lightning detector and close monitoring of weather patterns and conditions. When a lightning detector goes off, all children, parents, and coaches should vacate the field and seek shelter. It should noted that some covered pavillons at parks and sports facilities are not necessarily safe shelters during lightning storms. Many safety advocates recommend that parents, coaches, and children seek shelter in an indoor facility or in a vehicle. The goal of any school, sports organization, club, and municipality should be the safety of children. Some sports teams (including competitive ones) may be tempted to run a practice or a game even when there is bad weather and the presence / threat of lightning. While in most instances, lightning will not necessarily strike at a particular location —– sports directors, coaches, and organizers should not run a practice / game by statistics. Instead, the focus should be on safety. Lightning detectors can help remove some of the decision making in canceling or delaying a practice. Furthermore, a park or club policy and procedure should be in place for the use, maintenance, and response to a lightning detector.

In Fort Myers, Florida, a tragic death was recently reported. The Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets reported that Jesse Watlington, age 11, died as a result of being struck by lightning. Jesse was struck by lightning while participating at a practice at the McGregor Baptist Church. For more information regarding this incident – see Boy Dies as a Result of Lightning Related Injuries in Fort Myers, Florida. The death of Jesse Watlington was a tremendous loss for the family, church, school, and community.

While lightning related personal injuries are not as common as other types of child injuries, these injuries continue to take place and are reported. The death of Jesse Watlington shows the dangers of lightning and the importance of other sports facilities and parks following safety protocols when dealing or monitoring stormy weather.


According to Reverend Roosevelt Simmons, Bishop of Church of the Living God, “time and chance are given to us all. It is your time. It is your chance as opportunities are presented to you. It is what you do with these opportunities when presented. You can either throw them away or you can invest with a great return now and into the future.” This sage advice can serve to motivate athletes of all ages and skill. Sports can provide both a child and, in later in life, an adult with a great outlet to exhibit skills, effort, and a passion for the game. Yes, it is certainly important at times in a competitive world to win. More importantly, according to Reverend Simmons, it is how a player prepares for competition, takes on the competition, and conducts himself or herself in life. There are great lessons to be learned both on and off the field when participating in sports.

sports%20football%20against%20grey%20background%20sports%20related%20injuries.jpgIn Florida and other states, young athletes play various sports including football, baseball, soccer. and lacrosse. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries are common in youth sports. Because of the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries, it is important for coaches, parents, referees, and league administrators should be educated and aware of the causes and effects of traumtatic brain injuries / concussions. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 248,000 athletes were evaluated in emergency rooms for concussions and related injuries in 2009. The sports most linked to these injuries were playground activities, basketball, soccer, football, and bicycling.

There are various signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include the following:

loss of consciousness (even if it is only briefly);


In Jacksonville, Florida, the Florida Times Union reported that a Lake Shore Middle School Teacher (Robert Bryan Luke) was arrested for allegations of sex abuse involving a child. The story did not report the identity of the child or the particular allegations but one of the specific Florida criminal charges was sexual battery of a child younger than 12 years old. A parent of the child reported to the police that a crime was committed and that the child had been sexually abused. It was reported that Mr. Luke is a local youth soccer coach and swim coach. See Florida Times Union – Law & Disorder: Jacksonville Teacher/Coach Charged with Sex Offenses Against Child.

In schools and community sports organizations, a background check is completed; however, if the applicant coach had not been arrested or convicted of a crime in the past – there will be no public record to indicate that the applicant coach is a danger to children. Beyond public record background checks, prior employers and leagues can be contacted but the work involved in such endeavors may be too tedious for some schools and / or sports organizations.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the State Attorney were involved the investigation and will continue to work the case now that an arrest is made. Of course, Mr. Luke will be entitled to the services of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney or legal representation through the Public Defender’s office. The criminal prosecution will hinge on the evidence obtained which can include statements, photographs, videotapes, text messages, e mails, and other forms of evidence. The news story in the Florida Times Union did not detail the amount or type of evidence that law enforcement had obtained or believe it can obtain regarding these Florida criminal allegations.


Poor sportsmanship can cost you . . . it also sets a bad example for children who look up to professional athletes and coaches as role models. When a person gets paid to play or paid to coach, there is not only an expectation to perform but there is also a responsibility (at least a moral one) to serve a good role model or ambassador of the sports for children. The New York Jets Strength Coach – Sal Alosi – was recently fined $25,000 and suspended from his team for the well publicized move of tripping Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll. Coach Alosi stated that he “wasn’t thinking” when he tripped Nolan Carroll. That’s an understatement. Anyway, youth coaches should use this film and incident as a teaching lesson for children. The object of the game should not be to trip and harm the other players and team. See NFL Suspends Coach Sal Alosi for Rest of the Season.

concussion.jpgDue to the nonchalant attitude towards concussions, researchers are conducting more studies into the injury to determine its severity and extent. Specifically, researchers are trying to study what happens and how damaging it is when the injury is ignored. Concussions can be ignored in several ways: the student athlete does not tell his or her coach or personal trainer about the injury or the student athlete is placed back into play before the injury has had sufficient time to heal. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, an estimated 135,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for serious brain or head injuries such as concussions. Those student athletes who are placed back into play too soon risk sustaining a second injury and possibly incurring permanent brain damage.

Because concussions are hard to diagnose, doctors say it is better to be safe than sorry. If a child has sustained a hit his or her head that has left the child feeling dizzy or otherwise off balance, he or she should be taken out of play and seek medical attention immediately. If you would like to read more on this topic please see Concussions taken more seriously after Northeast Florida study.

Below is a list of the common symptoms of a concussion:


In Florida, we have the benefit of great weather that allows for outdoor sports year round. This is a definite advantage of living in Florida. The weather and access to fields and outdoor play can also be a danger to children participating in sports. Many children suffer sports related injuries due to overuse injuries and the lack of needed periods of rest and relaxation both for the mind and the body. Because of the year round ability and access to participate in sports, parents and coaches alike need to keep in mind that a child athlete’s body has limits and a child athlete is at risk for injury while participating in sports and training.

A good article was posted titled 7 Tested Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries in Kids. This is a good article for parents, coaches, and league officials to read. Having a safe and healthy child at the end of the season should be the primary focus of a sports program. Winning is great but not if it is at the expense of the health or safety of a child athlete.


Some coaches of youth sports may be inexperienced and under-educated when it comes to treating personal injuries sustained by their youth players. Typically, to become a youth sports coach all one need to do is complete coaching courses, which usually do not run longer than 5 days and barely cover injury management. Even the American Red Cross first-aid course barely touches on the types of injuries seen in youth sports. Although coaches are not expected to be doctors, coaches are left with the difficult decision to play a youth after the youth has suffered a personal injury.

To help with this problem, orthopedic surgeon, Dev Mishra, has created an online site called – “The Coach’s Guide to Youth Sports Injury Management.” In his long line of experience, Dr. Mishra has witnessed a numerous amount youth players with significant injuries that started out as minor injuries. Dr. Mishra estimates, based on his experience, the number of secondary injuries suffered by youth athletes nationally is 1 to 2 million per year. Secondary injuries are defined as those personal injuries that became worse because a youth athlete was returned to play before his or her injury had recovered. On, coaches and parents can find reader-friendly documents that covers the most common injuries. If you would like to read more on this topic please see Simple guide on injury management for youth athletes, made for coaches and parents.

Many serious personal injuries sustained by youth athletes are secondary injuries, thus these personal injuries are preventable at an earlier stage. The more coaches and parents understand and educate themselves on the issue of personal injuries sustained by youth athletes the less likely youth athletes will sustain severe personal injuries.

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