Protecting West Virginia Kids from Sporting Injuries

Sep 2014

Participation in youth athletes is often encouraged or even required for children in West Virginia. There is no question that sports can help kids develop commitment, learn how to work as team players, boost kids’ self esteem and help them remain physically fit. However, despite the myriad benefits that are associated with kids playing sports, there is also no question that there are some very significant risks.

A personal injury lawyer knows a school has certain responsibilities in terms of protecting child athletes from getting hurt while participating in school sports. Unfortunately, once certain injuries happen, the damage is done and could have a long-term effect on a child’s development.

Prevention of School Sports Injuries

Preventing head injuries needs to be the primary goal of school athletic programs. As WCYB reports, a head injury can have very long-lasting consequences for a young athlete. Injury to the brain can lead to an increased risk of depression or suicide. A person who has sustained a brain injury is also more likely to develop dementia.

Schools need to recognize signs of concussion, which can include dizziness, disorientation and sensitivity to light. If a student has suffered any blow to the head or is exhibiting signs of a concussion, he or she should undergo a prompt medical examination and should not be cleared to return to play unless and until a doctor has issued clearance.

Damage to the brain from blows to the head is cumulative, so the more a child is hit in the head the greater the chances are of lasting problems. Parents should be aware that while football is the sports activity most associated with head injuries, other sports such as soccer, basketball and cheerleading can also present a significant risk of concussions and traumatic brain injury.

While brain injury is a primary concern because of the lasting effects, kids who play school sports could also sustain other injuries as well. Action News 19 has some tips for keeping kids safe, including:

  • Making sure young athletes are ready to participate before the season. Exercise programs should start between four and six weeks before the sport starts so kids are physically fit and ready to go.
  • Slowly acclimatizing kids to outdoor sports activities. For the first 10 to 14 days of practice, kids should be slowly given more time playing outdoors so they can get used to exercising in the heat.
  • Giving kids plenty of breaks while they are playing sports. It is a good idea to allow for a break every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Ensuring that kids drink plenty of fluids while they are participating in athletic events.
  • Providing appropriate protective gear that is in good condition and that is appropriate for the particular sport.

If school athletic departments fail to take care of their student athletes, parents and kids can take legal action after an injury.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

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