Concussion Lawsuit in Soccer

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Concussion in soccer can happen at all levels of "The Beautiful Game" and need to be closely monitored
Concussions in soccer can happen at all levels of “The Beautiful Game” and need to be closely monitored. A change allowing for quick substitution in the face of potential TBI.

At the end of the summer, a group of soccer parents and players filed a class action lawsuit against Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) — the international governing body for the sport of soccer.  The suit, which also names American soccer organizations U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization, charges the groups with negligence in monitoring and treating head injuries.

The timing is likely not coincidental.  It comes on the heels not only of last summer’s World Cup which brought renewed worldwide publicity to the sport of soccer, but also at the same time concussion litigation is being faced by the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).

Soccer Players Vulnerable to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Soccer players are no exception to the list of athletes whose sport makes them particularly susceptible to head injury and TBI.

The plaintiffs in the soccer lawsuit do not seek financial damages.  Rather, they are asking for changes to the sport’s rules, starting with its youngest players and going all the way up.

For example, children under age 17 would have a limit as to how many times in a game they could “head” a ball.  Professional and other advanced leagues would be allowed to make temporary substitutions (in addition to the currently allowed three substitutions in a game) to allow a player to be examined for head injury.  Like in the suits in other sports, medical testing would be available for soccer players who are dealing with effects of concussion from as far back as 2002.

As we wait for FIFA and other defendants to to respond to the complaint, athletes lawyer Doug Landau recalls his years coaching youth soccer.

“Luckily none of my players had TBI while I was coaching.  But I have seen plenty of kids and teens sustain head injuries from the stands, especially in my daughters’ varsity high school matches,” notes Landau.  “TBI is not pretty and can be life-changing.  If we can prevent even one athlete from TBI by enacting stricter rules and guidelines for the sport of soccer, then it is worth it in my book!”

If you or someone you know has taken a blow to the head, sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555).

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