In recent times sports have garnered more attention for its negative consequences, especially in the college and professional realms. Lawsuits have been filed alleging that teams are purposely ignoring the injuries sustained by players. In most cases, these injuries will cause lifelong physical problems. Of growing concern, however, is the risk of sudden death while playing sports. Many of these are contact sports, like football, hockey, and rugby. Additional pressure is being placed on sports programs to anticipate and prevent such drastic outcomes.
In most instances, sudden death is mainly caused by a pre-existing health condition. Undiagnosed health conditions in the heart, head and diseases can contribute to the body being unable to withstand the constant impact with these sports. Some of the more common health conditions that hasten sudden death include asthma, diabetes, and heart conditions. Parents and loved ones of the deceased want sports teams to conduct more thorough health evaluations of their athletes before placing them through so much stress on the practice field. In a recent wrongful death case, a college athlete died playing football. Apparently, the athlete had sickle cell anemia, which was known by his coaches. The suit alleges that they did not create workouts that catered to his unique situation. This case will no doubt raise awareness among teams to consider the health conditions of their athletes and to take care to recognize symptoms for those who have been found to have special health needs.
There are instances where sudden deaths have been caused by the coaching staff, and it is not always from the repeated contact while practicing or playing. In one instance, a high school player died due to drinking too much water and sports drink. There are also issues with too much exertion during a game or practice. Finally, improper coaching techniques can cause sudden death if athletes are not coached on the proper body placement during the activity.
It is imperative for sports programs to have a plan for dealing with the known health issues of its athletes. Studies suggest teams should have an emergency plan to deal with these risks and to prevent other exercise-related problems for players to return to the field in a safe manner.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.