Montgomery McCracken’s Catastrophic Sports Injury Defense Practice Group has a national reputation for its successful representations of colleges, universities, and health care professionals in high-exposure sports-injury cases. We have achieved favorable results time and again for our clients in such matters, including in landmark traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases and other high-profile sports-injury matters.

We have a long-standing national reputation for our successful representations of colleges, universities, high schools, athletic trainers, coaches, health care professionals, and sports associations in catastrophic sports-injury matters arising out of alleged premature return-to-play decisions and other negligence and product liability theories in the sports context. These include a number of nationally-publicized concussion, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and other TBI cases against Division I and other NCAA member colleges and universities, high schools, and school personnel. Many of these lawsuits involve catastrophically-injured football or soccer players, athletes who allegedly sustained prior concussions or who have Second Impact Syndrome, players diagnosed with CTE, or athletes who suffered other injuries, such as heat stroke. We have achieved dismissals and favorable settlements in many such matters.

An important component of Montgomery McCracken’s practice group is our counseling of school officials and attorneys, risk managers, athletic departments and their staff, and health care professionals on institutional liability issues concerning sport-related concussions, Second Impact Syndrome, and other sport-related injuries, as well as conducting concussion policy “audits.” We work closely with our clients to help ensure that they are meeting the standard of care in the ever-evolving field of concussion management and minimizing the risk of liability in areas that have become a hotbed for litigation.

Our Catastrophic Sports Injury Defense Practice Group regularly presents to national audiences on legal matters concerning the proper management of sport-related concussions and other sport-related injuries and we are regularly quoted by national media because of our vast experience in the concussion, CTE, and sports injury spaces.

Catastrophic Sports Injury Team

Steven Pachman

Steve, a partner in the Litigation Department, member of the firm’s Management Committee, and Chair of the Catastrophic Sports Injury Defense Practice Group, is a recognized national authority in the area of defending sports-injury cases and has achieved voluntary dismissals and favorable settlements on behalf of universities, high schools, athletics organizations, coaches, and health care professionals

Steve has presented on athletic program compliance issues and minimizing risk exposure at numerous Division I universities and colleges, such as University of Oklahoma, University of Michigan, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has presented on legal issues facing schools and athletic programs to the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, and the Ivy League.

Steve has participated in two recent Safety in College Football Summits sponsored by the NCAA Sport Science Institute in the NCAA’s efforts to create interassociation consensus recommendations in the areas of independent medical care for collegiate athletes and diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion. In addition to presenting before the NCAA Sport Science Institute at the first summit, Steve has presented at the following conferences, law schools, and colleges:

  • Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine Conference
  • Big Ten/Ivy League TBI Research Collaboration Summit
  • Big 12 Medical Aspects of Sport Conference
  • American Academy of Neurology Sports Conference
  • University of Michigan Injury Center Sport Concussion Summit
  • University of Oklahoma Sports Medicine Symposium
  • University of North Carolina Neurotrauma Symposium
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Annual Conference
  • University of Maryland Advances in Law & Science Conference
  • Sports Neuropsychology Concussion Symposium
  • Fiesta Bowl Spring Football Summit
  • University of Michigan NeuroSport Seminar
  • National Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Conference
  • Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society Concussion Symposium
  • College Athletic Trainers’ Society Annual Meeting
  • Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Conference
  • Virginia Tech
  • Villanova University School of Law
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Michigan Law School

Some of Steve’s publications that have received national attention include:

  • Legal Aspects of Concussion: The Ever-Evolving Standard of Care, Journal of Athletic Training, 2017;52(3):186–194
  • Second Impact Syndrome: Diagnosis vs. Myth, Concussion Litig. Rptr., September 2017; 6(3)
  • The Athletic Trainer’s Legal Liability for Football-Related Injuries: Minimizing Risk, NATA, September 2010:12-16
  • Management of Sport-Related Brain Injuries: Preventing Poor Outcomes and Minimizing the Risk for Legal Liabilities, Athletic Training & Sports Health Care, The Journal for the Practicing Clinician, Vol. 2 No. 6, November/December 2010

Richard Placey

Dick, a partner in the Litigation Department, has handled many sports-injury cases, including educational institution and product liability matters. He primarily represents defendants, or in the case of an investigation, institutions or their individual employees. Recent representations in this area include:

  • In 2018, Dick defended two institutions in a month-long jury trial involving a claimed catastrophic head injury, including conducting the direct examinations of the defense neurologist and the defense neuropsychologist, and conducting the cross-examinations of the plaintiffs’ neurologist and other medical experts.
  • In 2016, he favorably resolved litigation against a private school and its coaches involving a claimed catastrophic football injury, including preparing the school’s coaches for their depositions and defending those depositions.
  • In 2016, he successfully defended a national university in a case involving the death of a student athlete from claimed sport-related brain injuries.
  • Between 2015 and 2019, he undertook three internal investigations for different colleges, including investigations of whistleblower complaints, and made recommendations to each college’s administration or governing body as to the actions, if any, to be taken with regard to the matters investigated.
  • Dick also assisted in defending a national university in a case involving a claimed catastrophic head injury, in defending a school medical provider in an investigation involving the death of a student athlete, and in representing numerous medical and pharmaceutical product manufacturers in individual and class cases involving claims of injuries from the use of medical devices and drugs.

He represents parties in a wide variety of other complex disputes, including liability and licensing claims involving professionals, financial transactions and reporting disputes, internal investigations, officer/director/shareholder disputes, claims involving breaches of contract/representations/warranties, bankruptcy and insolvency matters, and franchise disputes.

In connection with such representations, Dick has repeatedly handled the identification, preservation, collection and analysis of electronically stored information (ESI), and used such analysis to develop key evidence for the defense of sports-injury claims, including identifying practice and game data/films that challenged the claimed long-term injury and its mechanics.

Dylan Henry

Dylan, an associate in the Litigation Department, has substantial litigation and trial experience defending negligence claims. He focuses on helping clients mitigate risk in the sports-injury field by counseling individuals, schools, and athletic organizations on catastrophic sports-injury matters, the proper management of sport-related concussions and other sport-related injuries (such as heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis), and TBI and latent brain disease matters. Dylan frequently presents across the nation to individuals and institutions on how they can minimize their risk of legal liability for sport-related injuries and defend against lawsuits arising out of sport-related events. Some of his recent speaking engagements include presenting at the American Academy of Neurology 2019 Sports Concussion Conference in Indianapolis, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s 2019 Intercollegiate Council for Sports Medicine Conference in Las Vegas, and the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center’s 2019 Sport Concussion Summit in Ann Arbor.

Dylan has published articles on these issues and is a co-editor, with Kim Sachs (below), of the Sports Medicine and the Law quarterly publication. Some of his recent publications include Takeaways from the Onyshko Verdict: Win for NCAA, Loss for Plaintiffs, Draw for Others in Future Head Injury Cases, (August 2, 2019), which discussed the landmark jury verdict in the Onyshko v. NCAA lawsuit, in which the jury found the NCAA was not liable to the Plaintiff-football player for developing ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and Pushing Players Too Far to ‘Do Something’ Will Not ‘Win the Day’ in Court – Takeaways from two UO Suits (May 1, 2019), which discussed two lawsuits against the University of Oregon football coach, program, and staff for essentially using exercise as punishment.

Kimberly Sachs

Kim, an associate in the Litigation Department, has substantial trial experience defending catastrophic injury lawsuits. She has helped defend a school in a month-long, traumatic brain injury trial where she was responsible for working and coordinating with two internationally-renowned medical experts in their preparation for trial. Kim serves as a co-editor, with Dylan Henry (above), of Sports Medicine and the Law, a quarterly newsletter that is a complete source for news, case summaries, articles, and strategies concerning sports medicine and the law, for issues arising at the professional, collegiate, high school, and amateur levels. As co-editor, Kim authored Behind the Lines: Recent Changes to D1 Athletics’ Programs Reporting Structures. The article details the recent changes in reporting structures at colleges throughout the country, and addresses the issue of coaches pressuring sports medicine employees into making decisions that are adverse to the health of student-athletes.

Kacie Kergides

Kacie, an associate in the Litigation Department, is the newest member of Montgomery McCracken’s practice group. As a former member of the Women’s Varsity Soccer team at Princeton University, she is an ideal fit for the group. Kacie assists on catastrophic sports-injury cases and counsels athletes and clients on sport-related injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury. Drawing upon her experience as a Division I athlete, she has presented on minimizing risk exposure and compliance-related issues at various law schools and undergraduate universities, such as Villanova School of Law and University of Michigan, and before sports organizations, such as the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association.

During law school, Kacie worked as an extern in the compliance office at the University of Pennsylvania Athletics Department and for the NBA Coaches Association. Kacie also was a legal fellow to Andrew Brandt in the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law.

Sports Medicine and the Law

Sports Medicine and the Law is a quarterly newsletter produced by Montgomery McCracken and Hackney Publications.

Sports Medicine and the Law (Subscribe now!)

The publication is a complete source for news, case summaries, articles, and strategies concerning sports medicine and the law, whether they arise at the professional, collegiate, high school, and amateur levels. Members of Montgomery McCracken’s Sports Injury Practice, including partner Steven Pachman and associates Dylan Henry and Kim Sachs, serve as editors. Sports Medicine and Law is provided free to members of the sports industry, and readers can subscribe here.

Browse past newsletters below:

Fall/Winter 2021

Summer 2021

Spring 2021

Fall 2020

Summer 2020

Spring 2020

Winter 2020

Fall 2019

Summer 2019

Spring 2019

Winter 2019