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‘Standard of Care’ Laws May Not Dissuade Sport Concussion Lawsuits

September 19, 2019

Neurology Today
By Kurt Samson

Although considerable progress has been made in the past decade toward reducing the risk of neurocognitive injury from sports-related concussive and subconcussive head impacts, concussion management plans alone may not fully protect physicians and other health care personnel from the legal risks associated with such sports-related head injuries, an attorney told attendees at the AAN 2019 Sports Concussion Conference in late July.

While all 50 states mandate some degree of sideline medical evaluation and subsequent management before an injured player can return to play or practice, the legal exposure of those providing such care and making such decisions remains less certain due to the ever-evolving standard of care, said Dylan Henry, an attorney with the law firm of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, in Philadelphia.

He and his partner, Steven Pachman, have represented individuals and school systems in lawsuits filed against coaches, athletic trainers, and health professionals stemming from alleged premature return-to-play decisions and other negligence theories at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels, and they have also counselled those individuals and institutions on how to mitigate their legal risks before such lawsuits are filed.

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