In the last decade, emergency room visits for sport- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries among children and adolescents increased by almost 60%, and most of these potentially life-altering injuries could have been prevented.
Sports Facilities’ Role in Concussion Prevention
The 2009 Zachary Lystadt Law was enacted to establish guidelines for prevention and management of concussion injuries.
The key provisions of the Zachary Lystadt Law include:
- Concussion educational programs
- Mandatory consent signed by parents and athletes to participate in sports
- Immediate removal if concussion is suspected
- Written clearance before return to play
Sports Facilities Avoid Blame with Baseline Testing
In addition to preventing and managing concussion injuries, the Zachary Lystadt Law creates immunity from liability for injury and death for sports facilities that follow the law’s provisions. The CDC also recommends baseline testing in the form of a pre-season exam conducted by a trained health care professional.
Although the CDC’s motive is to prevent permanent injury, noting prior concussion history and other medical conditions with baseline testing limits liability for school districts and sports facilities when injuries occur. In this way, noting pre-existing conditions can be seen as giving sports facilities a way of avoiding blame.