Articles Posted in Sports Accidents

Injuries in sports are common, especially in contact sports such as football, rugby or ice hockey. But when can a player sue another player for a personal injury sustained during the course of a game?hockey players sue other players

On Dec. 2, 2019, a three-judge panel of the Massachusetts Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision that Daniel Borella, who was 17 when he was checked by another player and cut on the wrist by the player’s hockey blades, cannot sue the player, coaches, referees or rink owners and managers for his injuries.

The majority explained that checking is “a fundamental aspect of the way the game is played” and does not rise to the level of “reckless” misconduct required to trigger liability. Continue reading

We usually think of personal injury lawsuits as coming to fruition based on accidents or behavior that the victim could not have predicted. However, there are times where violent or dangerous sports – where you know you will be injured – can create personal injury lawsuits. Usually, what you cannot sue for are injuries that you Massachusetts sports accident attorneyknew you were going to get. This means like head injuries in boxing, and so on.

When you participate in certain sports or activities that you know have some degree of risk, yet you engage in them anyway, you are said to be taking the “assumption of risk”.

Certain entities and organizations will go even further, to have you sign a waiver understanding this before you can engage in their activity. This means that if you are injured in that activity, they will have a defense which protects them from liability to you.

Injuries arising from sports-related activities are generally compensable only under certain circumstances. The reason is because sports are often inherently considered risky, and athletes and participants assume some level of that risk when they agree to engage.karate

Generally, if a sports-related injury involves some type of recklessness or intention to hurt someone, then it can be compensable. Youth sport injuries in particular are where most liability cases arise because they are unique with regard to the age and experience of the persons involved in the sports. Even then, if injuries occurred in the normal course of the sport, collecting damages is going to be tough. However, if injuries occur because the school or league allowed conduct that was outside the scope of the game rules (i.e., allowing use of excessive force, excessive exercise in the heat, etc.), then there could be liability. There could also be damages sought if the coaches or other staffers failed to appropriately respond to a medical emergency.

In a recent sports injury lawsuit out of Indiana, the state supreme court justices ruled that a woman seriously injured by a classmate with a jump-kick in a karate course won’t be allowed to continue with her claim for damages. The issue was she could not prove the defendant acted with recklessness or unreasonableness in the course of his participation such that would warrant a finding of negligence.  Continue reading

According to a recent article from CBS Boston, a hot air balloon crashed into power lines in Clinton, Massachusetts. Witnesses saw the hot air balloon flying extremely low over their neighborhood when it flew into power lines and caught fire. There were five or six passengers in the balloon who authorities said suffered burns ranging from minor to severe.

hot-air-balloon-serie-623175-m.jpgMany of the witnesses thought the passengers were all dead when the balloon crashed. Fortunately, the accident was not fatal. The cause of the accident is unknown, as is the reason the balloon was attempting to land in the town. Local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) are investigating the cause of this balloon crash.

The National Weather Service stated winds were fairly mild and there were no substantial weather events at the time of the crash. Around 600 people were left without power after the accident due to the power lines catching on fire. The power company was able to restore service within a few hours.

As your Boston personal injury lawyer understands, injuries resulting from recreational activities can often lead to complex litigation. It is likely the passengers were required to sign some type of waiver before boarding the balloon. However, Massachusetts courts are often willing to void liability waivers, depending on the language of the contract and the facts of the situation.
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In Donahue v. Ledgends, Inc., an appeal argued in the Supreme Court of Alaska, a woman broke her tibia during a class at a rock climbing gym. According to court records, she fell about four feet from a bouldering wall and broke her leg.

blind-climber-865934-m.jpgThe gym required her to read a warning and sign a waiver before taking the class. The waiver purported to release the gym from liability for any injuries suffered by participants in the climbing class. The defendant moved to dismiss the case on summary judgment, claiming the signed release barred them from any liability.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that many clients sign long and complex waivers without being given a real opportunity to read or fully understand what they were being asked to sign.

The trial court ruled the waiver signed by the plaintiff contained all of the statutorily required language and dismissed her claims against the defendant. The judge also ruled the Uniform Consumer Protection Action violation she had asserted did not apply to personal injury cases.
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Over the last two years, the media has widely covered litigation involving NFL injuries and wrongful death involving repeat head injuries over the course of a career. These players have suffered serious and permanent brain injury, resulting in loss of cognition, memory loss, loss of motor skills, and other defects. In some cases, the repeat head injuries have resulted in wrongful death. Now, players from the National Hockey League are following suit. According to Sports Illustrated, 10 former NHL players have entered into a class action lawsuit claiming that the National Hockey League failed in their duties to prevent concussions and long-term damage caused by brain injuries.


Though lawsuits involving sports injuries can be complicated, plaintiffs who can demonstrate that an individual or entity failed in their duties of care or acted negligently, they may be entitled to significant compensation for their losses. Our Boston brain injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims. We also are committed to raising awareness about the dangers of brain injury and repetitive brain trauma.
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During the 2010-2011 school year, almost 3,000 middle and high school students in Massachusetts suffered a head injury, such as a concussion, while playing sports. That was according to a first-of-its-kind survey released late last year.heisman.jpg

Now, our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that a man who used to be one of those children, an ex-Harvard quarterback who first began suffering football-related concussions in the seventh grade, has created a revolutionary football helmet aimed to reduce head injuries on the field.

A Boston native and Harvard medical school graduate, the founder of Xenith LLC set out to make football helmets that would significantly reduce concussions. The idea hit him after watching footage of a hockey star whose career was cut short after numerous head injuries.

Already, several dozen players with the National Football League are using the device – and they rave about it. One player from the New England Patriots said he hasn’t even had a headache since he began using the helmet.

In addition to pro-footballers, the Xenith helmet company is targeting the market of college football and high school football players across the country. Players at the Ohio State University and Notre Dame are using it, as are thousands of high school players. One private high school football coach in Cambridge was quoted as saying that the number of concussions has reduced dramatically since his team began using the helmet.

Right now, the helmets retail for $200 each. That may be cost-prohibitive for many schools at the moment, but the investment in terms of minimizing the lifelong damage could be priceless.

The helmet has 18 shock absorbers installed at pinpointed locations after literally thousands of laboratory tests were conducted to figure out which spots were most likely to take a direct hit, carefully considering each and every angle.

Where most helmets rely solely on some type of foam padding, this technology uses annular, air-filled pads that actually work to absorb the impact. When the helmet (i.e., head) takes a hit, the absorbers will actually compress, release air and then reinflate again quickly. The idea is that the the head isn’t the object doing the deflecting – the helmet is.

The company’s founder says these shock absorbers work similar to what we would see in a vehicle.

Sports players in general but footballers in particular are at risk for serious and lifelong head trauma as a direct result of the sport. It’s made numerous headlines in recent years. Just last year, when an NFL all-pro player committed suicide, an autopsy showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a brain disease directly resulting from head trauma.

The NFL is actually being sued by thousands of former players for downplaying the long-term effects of these hits.

Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 175,000 youths are rushed to the hospital each year for head injuries they incur from sports.
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Recently, our sport’s injury attorneys published an article: “Boston youth sport rules aimed to prevent sporting injuries in kids.”

These rules are being put into place because of the known dangers of sports injuries, especially concussions.

Unfortunately, as more and more evidence comes to light about how dangerous sports injuries are, it has become more apparent than ever before that both kids and adults are at serious risk if they suffer repeated head injuries. 1136141_rugby_action.jpg

More Evidence Links Head Injuries to Brain Damage
It is well established that head injuries can cause a number of serious health issues and can have long-lasting consequences. A recent study conducted by Boston University, however, has added to the growing concern about head injury risks.

According to a December Boston Globe article, the Boston University Study was conducted by obtaining information about the brains of 85 brain donors, most of whom were professional athletes. The athletes included in the study included boxers, football players, wrestlers and hockey players, all of whom were involved in contact sports and who had experienced repeated blows to the brain.

According to the researchers, 68 of the 85 individuals who were examined all had suffered repeated head trauma and all showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Encephalopathy occurs when brain tissue becomes clogged by a protein called tau that causes the destruction of brain cells. It can occur as a result of repeated blows to the head or concussions and symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s.

A Boston University neurosurgeon and study co-author indicated that he believed the size of the study should retire doubts about whether repeated brain trauma can cause permanent damage. Other neurologists, however, indicated that while the existence of the condition Encephalopathy has been established, it has not yet been definitely demonstrated that the problem is caused by multiple concussions.

Those who conducted the study also acknowledged that the study was not intended to establish how frequent brain injury was in athletes. Still, the control group of 18 subjects who had experienced no concussions or brain injuries had no sign of the damage present in the brains of the athletes studied.

Proving the Link Between Head Injuries and Brain Damage
While further studies need to be performed to get conclusive answers, the new findings by the Boston University study are one step closer to establishing a conclusive link between head injuries and brain damage. Establishing this link is important for athletes who want to take legal action based on head injuries sustained in sports. Many NFL players, for example, are suing the football league because of the unexpected risk of permanent brain damage due to repeated blows to the head. The Boston University study and other similar research could help with the NFL players’ case.

Any athletes, from student athletes to professional players, should be warned about the potential risk of permanent brain injury or damage. If there was a coach, school or third party that contributed to the risk of brain injury or that failed to disclose the head injury dangers, then the injured victim or his surviving family members could potentially take legal action.
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Massachusetts has some new concussion guidelines. The laws are just now taking effect although they were passed back in 2010. The new guidelines were developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and work to help parents, guardians, coaches and all others who are involved in child athletics to recognize, manage and treat a concussion, according to Common Health.
Each and every day we’re hearing more and more alarming news about concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI). According to a recent study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, children who suffer from a TBI report an increase in both somatic and cognitive symptoms for as long as a year after the injury was sustained. To add fuel to the fire, a recent article in the New York Times reported on the risks of long-term effect of concussions among recreational athletes and concluded that they are higher in comparison to professional athletes.

Our Boston sporting injury lawyers understand that the new guidelines say that an athlete who suffers a concussion have to be taken out of the game or out of practice immediately. You’d think that would be common sense, but the problem is that many athletes may not even be able to recognize their own concussion. You can’t see a concussion like you can a bruise or a cut. Most times, athletes will get a concussion without ever losing their consciousness. So how do you recognize when an athlete has a concussion.

Symptoms of a Concussion:

-Suffering from a headache.

-Feeling of nausea.

-Having a tough time balancing.

-Blurry vision.

-Sensitivity to bright light.

-Sensitivity to noise.

-Feeling unlike yourself.

-Having a tough time concentrating.

-Having a fuzzy memory.

-Becoming confused easily.


-Feeling sad.

-Becoming irritable.

-Feeling anxious.

If you’re watching your child play their sport and you feel that they’re suffering from too many of these symptoms and believe that may have sustained a concussion, let their coach know and take them to be evaluated by a doctor.

Under the new law, everyone involved in children’s sport are to be trained in recognizing, managing and preventing these types of injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts have information available on their web sites and downloadable training courses to help.

Once it’s determined that a child has a concussion, they’re to sit out for the rest of practice or the rest of the game and have to be cleared by a doctor before they can come back and play.

There are also guidelines to follow after the injury. Children are also instructed to sit out on cognitive activities, including school tests, as some of the symptoms can get worse under these circumstances. School officials are to allow reduced school hours and workloads during this time. Students are not recommended to take standardized tests during recovery. They’re also to be allowed with extra time to complete school work.
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Boston sports injuries can have serious implications for pro athletes and even children who are just beginning to learn the game.

It’s worse than just stitches and casts, which athletes sometimes wear as a badge of honor.

It’s an issue our Boston sports injuries attorneys take very seriously.

Boston Personal Injury Attorney Jeffrey Glassman’s sister suffered a debilitating back injury several years ago that shattered hopes of a promising tennis career. footballus.jpg

So our sports injury lawyers are closely watching the developments of a lawsuit that has been filed by some 1,500 National Football League players, who say that the organization deliberately hid from them the serious health risks associated with concussions, which many suffered on an almost daily basis. Another 100 recently added their names to that list, which continues to grow.

In other sports injury news, a study recently found teenage girls involved in soccer may be particularly prone to head injuries.

The lawsuit, which has been filed in a federal court in Atlanta, alleges that time and time again, the league did not do enough to protect its players – i.e., its employees – from serious and life-altering head injuries. In fact, they even went so far as to misrepresent how head injuries would affect players, leading them to believe there would be no long-term consequences.

The NFL of course denies these claims, but this suit is the second consolidated suit to be filed against the league. The other, in Pennsylvania, has not yet been given a trial date.

At the core of the lawsuits are recent scientific studies that show that concussions can be directly linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a degenerative brain disease that is symptomatically similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Those who suffer from it often have severe mood swings, extensive memory loss and deep depression.

The only thing that causes this disease is repeated blows to the brain. Like Alzheimer’s, it can only be definitively diagnosed after someone has died.

The players contend that at least 12 cases have been identified in the brains of players who have since deceased. The actual number is likely much higher.

Players say they were never told of the dangers of the game.

It’s interesting to note also the recently sad news regarding the suicide of NFL player Junior Seau. Doctors say he appeared to have been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy for at least a year prior to his death. What’s more, he is the second football player in recent years to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest. Both men reportedly did so in order that their brains could be preserved to confirm the existence of the disease, as well as so that their brains could be used to study. Many have speculated that both wanted their brains used for research, likely so that future generations of footballers might benefit from the intense pain and confusion they felt in the years prior to his death.

While of course this affects a relatively small number of the population, there are countless youth sports leagues in which parents and coaches need to take note of this very serious issue.
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