The Ohio Senate passed legislation on Tuesday designed to protect children who sustain a concussion during a sporting event. The legislation was proposed by Akron’s Childrens Hospital and other medical groups in response to increasing awareness about the potentially serious long-term effects of concussions and post-concussion syndrome. The legislation contains an eduction component aimed at increasing awareness among coaches and parents about the dangers of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It also includes a requirement that any child who suffers a concussion must be cleared by a trained professional before resuming play.
Currently under Ohio law, it is not possible to seek compensation for injuries caused in the course of sporting events or other recreational activities, except in rare situations. However, under many other circumstances, a negligence claim may exist when a child suffers a head injury. For example, when children are knocked unconscious in a car accident, Ohio law permits recovery even when the collision is the parent’s fault. After sports, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of brain injuries in children. Likewise, if a child sustains a head injury due to negligent supervision by a caregiver in the setting of an after-school program or daycare, a lawsuit may be warranted.
The Ohio legislation is meant to minimize the effects of TBI once it occurs. However, the best approach is prevention. Drivers who text or use the telephone while driving or drink and drive are particular hazards, as are big rig tractor trailers (semis). Texting while driving is commonplace, but occasionally I will see people reading a book or newspaper while driving!! There is no place on our roads for such irresponsibility.