You are on page 1of 18

Running head: SAY NO, STAY OUT


Say no, Stay out: Don’t Put Him in The Game Coach
D’ante Lambright
First Colonial High School
Legal Studies Academy

This legal paper’s main focus is towards the youth athlete’s safety concerning football and the

legal responsibility the coaches, athletic trainers, and any other personnel concerning the

athlete’s health. The author will go over statistics of concussions in youth sports, coach’s legal

responsibility/ Legal information, CTE and its Impact and lastly the management of athletic with


Say no, Stay out: Don’t Put Him in the Game Coach
The game of football is the most beloved sport in America. Millions of sons around our

country take part in the game which is known for its contact. However, many don’t know that

our beloved sport has a dark side, a side that is on a rise and is killing many of our athletes today.

Concussion, derived from the Latin word concutere or concussion, has come to surface making a

major impact on the game of football. It is caused by continuous blows to the head which later

leads to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE.) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a

degenerative disease of the brain. Suffering from severe hits to the head, experiencing blurred

vision, losing memory and not being able to walk straight at the moment is an alarming event

that much of our football athletes go through. Can you imagine a world without the game of

football? Would it be a beneficial factor to our youth? According to Lindsey Barton Straus,

“Youth football players sustain concussions at about the same rate in practice and overall as high

school and college athletes, but are injured at a rate 3 to 4 times higher than older players during

games, reports a 2013 study” (Straus, n.d.). Addressing this issue needs to be presented, within

the past years, researchers have found information on long term effects of concussions from

playing football. Former National Football League players have committed suicide due to a

progressive degenerative disease. Thesis- This is the future we are leading the younger

generation to, if we don’t resolve the issue. Writing this paper I will be able to help create

awareness about the player’s safety, while informing others. Concussions are real and it isn’t

going away; therefore, we must supply our youth with the proper care and equipment to ensure

their safety.

Statistics of Concussions in Youth Sport
Overtime, the amount of concussions throughout the United States has increased, and the

results are alarming. Researchers from University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University

undertook a study on group of 8-12 year olds who had participated in youth tackle football. The

test was to see how many kids would get concussed, and with this information, they would be

able to compare themselves to high level football. From the football league results collected, it

was concluded that 20 out of the 468 kids received a concussion. Most were during a game; only

two had occurred during practice. During the testing a shocking discovery was found. The

overall concussion rate in youth football is higher than in high school and college. “Helmet to

helmet contact was the major factor in the concussion rate 45 percent of concussions, five

percent was head to the ground, fiver percent was to the body, and lastly 45 percent was an

unknown injury meaning group tackling” (Straus, n.d.).
Concussions in NFL, college, and high school levels have been well documented over the

years, though the head exposure of head impact on the youth population hasn’t been well

documented. There are five million athletes participating in organized football, with youth

football being the highest populated with participants of 3.5 million, followed by high school

players with a total of 1.3 million. According to Ray W. Daniel and Steven Rowson, during

practices high magnitude impacts to the head occur greatly. With this being said, creating a new

technique for youth football practices and games will be an effective tool that would greatly

reduce expose to head impact in youth football (Daniel & Rowson, 2012). Coaches are putting

athletes at risk of gaining a concussion with tackling drills that will have little effect in the game.

Young athletes are being put in a situation that gives them a greater chance of getting a

concussion, this statement shows who should be held accountable for the player concussed

Coach’s Legal Responsibility/Legal Information
Coaches have an important legal responsibility and ethical obligation to their athletes.

Legal responsibilities are well defined and are often points of emphasis in coaching certification

programs. State athletic associations, departments of education, and other government

organizations determine the range of legal responsibilities for a coach. These responsibilities are

usually formulated to maintain the safety and well-being of the athletes, and to maintain the

educational focus of the athletic program (Engelhorn, n.d.).
This disease has taken the life of many athletes’ youth, high school, and the NFL.

Families are suffering from the loss of their sons. Can this disease be prevented? Families

cannot hold this disease guilty under the law, so who is to blame for our son’s death? In the past

year Pop Warner, the nation’s largest youth football league, have been under investigation and

now being filed a lawsuit against numerous families. Pop Warner, a once trusted organization,

that families put their sons in to participate in football, is now on the verge of being sued, due to

neglect of the athlete’s safety. Claims have been made that the organization knowingly put

players in danger by ignoring the risks of head trauma. This filled suits, have set the precedent

for other lawsuits, under youth football programs over the battle of concussions. '(Belson, 2016)
Pop Warner v. Donnovan Hall
Donnovan Hill, a youth football athlete who played Pop Warner football, mom is suing

the organization for her son’s injury who was paralyzed during a game. On November 6, 2011,

athlete Donnovan Hill, a two way star for the Lakewood Lancers, participated in a game against

Saddleback Valleys Pop Warner team. Hill would go helmet to helmet contact which would be

the play that would change his life forever. (Belson, 2016)
Pop Warner v. Kimberly Archie and Jo Cornell
Kimberly Archie and Jo Cornell, a family in California, filed a lawsuit against Pop

Warner football. Their son was found with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Their son played

Pop Warner football when he was younger. Their reason for filing the cases was a result of Pop

Warner’s failure to monitor games, practices, rules, equipment, and medical care. There

negligence led to many young men, suffering the consequences. Also, Pop Warner’s failure to

accurately diagnose brain injuries and failing to issue the best equipment available, lead to an

increasing amount of concussions and player injury. This put players in danger by ignoring the

risks of head trauma. These suits point to a strong indicator that youth football programs are the

next front in the legal battle over concussions. In March Pop Warner settled a lawsuit with a

family, whose son played in the league and later committed suicide. The son was found to have a

degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head. (Belson, 2016)
Case Analysis
Udall Calls on Commission to Investigate Football Helmet Safety
High school and younger athlete’s concussion numbers have increased in the number of

years. Sports related concussion in youth sports have been on a growing rise within the last

decade. The growing rate of concussion protocols for the player safety, including campaigns to

educate the coaches, players, and parents have been at it high. Still an increasing number of

concussions in youth sports today still remain and which leads to the question, is it the lack of

appropriate equipment, the reason athletes are suffering from a concussion at a high? Tom Udall,

a U.S Senator, is reaching out to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate helmet

safety standards for high school and younger athletes. Tom Udall stated that “sports are the

second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for people who are 15 to 24-years-old, behind

only motor vehicle crashes.” That statement alone proves that the helmets that the young athletes

wear are not effective. The CPSC is responsible for protecting of the public. They must unfold

the neglect of companies, schools, and programs who are not equipping their athletes with the

updated appropriate helmet for ensuring safety to the head. Although football is a contact sport

that will always involve some risk, safety equipment can help reduce injuries. Helmets are

important for preventing concussions and other brain injuries. CTE is a later disease, which can

be prevented if we are equipped with better helmets to ensure safety. Football is a dangerous

sport but also a very popular and loved sport. This is why we can greatly benefit in improving the

safety for the players, which should be a top priority. (Padilla, 11/30/2010)
Case Analysis
“Sports- Related Concussion in Youth: Improving the science, changing the culture”
Sports related concussion in youth sports have been on a growing rise within the last

decade. The growing rate of concussion protocols for the player safety, including campaigns to

educate the coaches, players and parents have been at it high. Still an increasing number of

concussions in youth sports today, still remain.
Within the decade, organizations such as Heads Up football science department has

provided useful information concerning concussions, but studies have not shown the extent of

concussions in youth football. Although there have been a number of reported concussions in the

past decade, there is still a lack of data concerning the amount of sports related

concussion incidence in youth football. The main male sports that acquire concussions are

football, hockey, soccer, wrestling, and lacrosse, but still today with the growing number of

concussions in these sports, there have been no guidelines/laws for the player safety. Today,

diagnosis is based primarily on the symptoms reported by the individual. Short term effects of

repetitive head impacts and multiple concussions, have had mixed results; some studies show

that these injuries result in a decrease in cognitive function such as memory loss and changes in

brain physiology. Improving the safety of the younger generation of youth football is a major

concern and it needs to happen. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the National

Federation of State High School Associations, have undertaken programs and evaluations such as

the effectiveness of the age groups by using new techniques, and by introducing an improved

playing and game standards which will reduce sports related concussions (Graham, Rivara, Ford, 

& Spicer, eds., 2014)
State Laws/ Requirements
Indiana, Texas, and Virginia are three states, I intend on covering, concerning its growth

in rates of concussions, and what laws are being place for the player safety of youth football.

Choosing Virginia was the most obvious choice for me not because of its high rates of

concussions, but being that I’m an athlete of the game in the state of Virginia. Texas is well

known for its love of football in all levels. Watching football is dominant around the state of

Texas and it’s hard to avoid the game. Starting with Youth football, where it’s almost a most for

the sons to participate in this sport around the state. Friday Night Tykes, a football television

series, based off Pop Warner football airs in Texas. High school games on Friday nights, NCAA,

and other college games on Saturdays. Texas has 12 top level FBS football schools, and lastly

two major NFL football teams, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans which airs on Sunday.

Indiana was chosen due to its overall high rates in youth concussion, which has resulted in

Indiana, proposing bills, in order to reduce the amount of concussions in youth football.
In the recent years Indiana has proposed a bill to make sports safer for student athletes,

this would bring upon a more protocol steps to ensure the safety for our athletes. The Bill would

expand Indiana’s concussion law. This Bill would introduce stronger protocol for all athletes and

coaches. The target audience that would be effective will be those starting in the fifth grade, and

not just for football. (Mar, 2016).
Indiana Law on health and concussions claims the following.
A player suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game, shall be

removed from play at the time of injury and may not return to play until the student athlete has

been evaluated by a licensed health care provider that is trained in the evaluation and

management of concussions and head injuries. The athlete must receive written clearance to

return to play from the health care doctor. As of July 1, 2017, for the coach to meet the

requirements of SEA 234, the course must be approved by the Indiana Department of Education,

the coach must take a test, and the coach must receive a certificate that can be presented to the

coach’s school. (& Marc, n.d.)
Virginia, my home state, is where I was introduced into football. As I stated before I am

an athlete of the game of football whose witnessed players suffer concussions. Head to head

contact as if we are battling rams. Laws and Bills that are being in place for the safety of our

athletes and I myself need to be more in effect. I have witnessed more than 10 concussions from

athletes during practices and games. Friends who have believed to be concussed but lied to the

trainers in order to play, that itself is alarming. Trainers and coaches should be well educated and

equipped to care and notice an athlete concussed symptom.
Virginia Law code on concussions claims the following. In order to participate in any

extracurricular athletic activity, each student-athlete and the student-athlete's parent or guardian

shall review, on an annual basis (every 12 months), information on concussions provided by the

school division. A student-athlete suspected by the coach, athletic trainer, or team physician of

sustaining a concussion or brain injury in a practice or game shall be removed from the activity

at that time. A student-athlete who has been removed from play, evaluated, and suspected to have

a concussion or brain injury shall not return to play that same day nor until (i) “evaluated by an

appropriate licensed health care provider as defined by the Board of Education and (ii) in receipt

of written clearance to return to play from such licensed health care provider. The licensed health

care provider evaluating student-athletes suspected of having concussions or brain injuries may

be a volunteer.”
("Virginia Board of Education Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes,"

January 22, 2015).

Texas has created a progressive physical activity program that athletes must undergo

before they are fully cleared to participate in their organized sport. The progressive activity

program includes a five step process, step one includes a light aerobic exercise, step two

becomes a more moderate aerobic exercise which includes running in the gym or on the field,

step 3 non-contact training drills in full uniform, athletes soon can start weight lifting, step four

athlete can began to practice or training and step five athlete can participate in the games.
("Concussions and Concussion Management Protocol Requirements and Information,"

Texas law code claims the following.
“No athlete should return to play or practice on the same day of a concussion. 2. Any athlete

suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional

that day. 3. Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health-

care professional prior to resuming participation in any practice or competition. 4. After medical

clearance, RTP should follow a step-wise protocol with provisions for delayed RTP based upon

return of any signs or symptoms.”
("Concussions and Concussion Management Protocol Requirements and Information," 2013).
CTE and its impact
This disease CTE has been on a killing spree since 2003, where it was first diagnosed in a

former professional football player Mike Webster who had killed himself. Since 2003, 90 of 94

brains of former NFL players have been tested positive for CTE. A protein known as a tau which

forms around the blood vessels. The first action that takes is the killing of the nerve cells, step

two impulsivity and depression, stage three confusion and memory loss, and stage four advance

dementia. (Mooney, 2013). Once this process reaches its final step our sons are lost and there’s

no going back, this is the future that we set for our young men if we continue to play football

without making huge steps to secure the safety of all boys and men. Tristan Stevenson, my seven

year old nephew has been playing football, since he could walk. This past season, was his final

season in playing flag football. He will be playing tackle football which marks a new beginning

in his life. As an athlete of the game and fan, I am excited but, equally concerned because I now

know of the dangers and the major impacts, it could have on him.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy was found at the earliest age where the patient was

only 18 years of age. He was a multi-sport athlete, though football was his main sport. He

suffered multiple concussions during his time in high school. Boston College did this report

using the patient name as John Doe for privacy reasons. Mr. Doe today as of December 22, 2016,

is now dead at the age of 18. Alarming to hear, shocking to realize that CTE is not just occurring

during our later years but now during our early years. ("18 Year Old High School Football

Player » CTE Center | Boston University," n.d.) Playing football the most beloved sport in

America, the ideal sport when we are only digging our own coffins. Six, Seven, Eight, and more

who have begun playing football have not only started a new chapter in their life but are

potentially starting a life threating chapter that can lead to serious effects to the bodies.
Management of Athlete with Concussions
The approach to manage concussions in youth athletes will be a challenging task. With

new legislation being enforced though it will bring upon a change in our player safety. The

Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act, designed to youth football helmets recondition

helmets along with helmet concussion resistance ("Countable," 2011). The bill enforces 

organizations to put football helmet warning labels, and date of manufacture or reconditioning

labels for new or reconditioned football helmets. This will allow coaches to see what helmets are

up to date for our player safety concerning head injuries. Overall main purpose of this bill to

encourage and ensure the use of safe football helmets for our younger athletes.
Bill two is Preventing and Treating Student Athlete Concussions. This bill will become

the first mandate to set a minimum safety standards for concussion management in public

schools ("Countable," 2015). Within the bill, guidelines have been planned out which public

schools must obey by. First educating the student-athlete, parent and school personnel on how

concussions happen, second applying care to the athlete who is recovering from concussion,

“third create best practices for making uniform safety standards, treatment, and management.

Making concussion information publicly available on campuses and on public school websites.”

("Countable," 2015).  
Bill Three, is the Concussion Awareness and Education Act of 2015. This bill was

establish to oversee Organizations across the United States to accurately determine the incidence

of sports-related concussions among youth. Data will began to be collected involving

concussions ages 5 to 21 ("H.R. 1271: Concussion Awareness and Education Act of 2015,"

2015). The creation of this bill is to inform the guidelines created for the management of short

and long term consequences of multiple concussion in youths ("H.R. 1271: Concussion

Awareness and Education Act of 2015," 2015).
These three bills are just many either being enforced or already established to help protect

younger athletes from concussions and later on CTE. With these three bills being in placed it

gives hopes that our younger generation of football athletes will be well protected under these

Cape Gannets, Red-Head Woodpeckers, and Big Horn sheep all have something that our

human bodies don’t carry: Shock absorbers that protect these animals from brain damage,

i.e . . . . Concussions, it acts as if it’s a safety belt for the brain. Not a single piece of our anatomy

protects us from these head to head conclusion. A human will get will get concussed at 60g’ an

athlete on the football field with a common head to head impact 100gs. Dr. Bennet Omalu stated

that God did not intend for us human beings to play football. Playing football the most beloved

sport in America, the sport I grew up watching and playing, is known to be one of the most

dangerous sports in America. As I stated before, I am an athlete of the game of football

witnessing players suffer concussions is a horrific sight. In my 19 years of life I have been

blessed not to be diagnosed with a concussion, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t suffered from

serve blows to the head. During my four year tender playing First Colonial I have encountered

numerous players who have been impacted by serve blows to the head. A teammate of mine has

suffered from seven concussions. He is 18 years of age, within this paper you now know the

serious damage his brain has suffered and what his future could lead to if he continues on to

playing the game of football. Should the coaches and athletic trainers be held responsible for his

later years if something was to happen to him? In my coaches’ responsibility and legal

information, it provided why they should be held accountable. It it’s the coach’s legal

responsibility and ethical obligation to take care and provide the athlete with guidance and safety

during their time of football with the coaches. This is the future we are leading the younger

generation to, if we don’t resolve the issue. Writing this paper should have been, able to help

create awareness about the player’s safety, while informing others. Concussions are real and it

isn’t going away, therefore we must supply our youth with the proper care and equipment to

ensure their safety. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is on a killing spree it has taken the life

of all ages, but we can put a stop to this if we continue to develop bills to protect our youth,

create programs to inform students of the game, parents, and coaches on how to handle

concussions and necessary steps to ensure the safety of the athletes. Tristan Stevenson, A seven

year old, will began his tacking career of football this coming fall although I am excited I fear for

the safety of my nephew. It is my duty to prepare my nephew from head to head contact though I

can’t save him from every head to head impact I can inform him while teaching him the proper

techniques to avoid these collisions. Society is evolving, football is evolving and it is all of the

older generation including myself to inform our younger generation the seriousness of

concussions. Those who are put into charged to oversee our sons of America who take part in the

game of football should be held responsible for all the players’ issues under his supervision.

Practices need to be reinforced to wear it’s not harming the youth but to train and condition them

to use proper technique to avoid head to head collision. A youth brain is still at a developing

stage, damaging a key organ in the body could lead to serious complications over time. Tristan

Stevenson again a seven year old who will being taking part in tackling football life is in the

hands of those who coach him.


5., & A. (2015, January 22). Virginia Board of Education Guidelines for Policies on Concussions

in Student-Athletes [Concussion Guidelines for athletes,coaches, and trainers]. Virginia.

B. (n.d.). 18 year old high school football player » CTE Center | Boston University. Retrieved

December 22, 2016, from

Belson, K. (2016, September 1). Pop Warner Is Facing a Class-Action Lawsuit Over

Concussions. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from


Broglio, S. P., & Cantu, R. C. (2014, April). National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position

Statement: Management of Sport Concussion [Trainers guide on concussions].

C. (2015). H.R. 1271: Concussion Awareness and Education Act of 2015. Retrieved December

22, 2016, from

Coker, M. (2016, May 27). Donnovan Hill Lawsuit Against Pop Warner Football Refiled; More

Defendants Blamed. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from


Concussion awareness. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2016, from

Concussion: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Daniel, R. W., & Rowson, S. (2012, February 15). Head Impact Exposure in Youth Football.

Retrieved December 13, 2016, from


Engelhorn, R. (n.d.). Legal and Ethical Responsibilities of a Coach. Retrieved December 13,

2016, from

Graham, R., Rivara, F. P., Ford, M. A., & Spicer, C. M. (Eds.). (2014). Sports-related

concussions in youth: Improving the science, changing the culture. Washington, D.C.:

National Academies Press.

H. (2011, March 15). Countable. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from


H. (2015, April 27). Countable. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from


H. (2015, November 4). Countable. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from

Hohler, B. (2009, January 28). Research sends a warning on youth football head trauma.

Retrieved December 22, 2016, from


Klemko, R. (2016, November 3). High School athletes with concussions. Retrieved December

22, 2016, from


Mar, C. D. (2016, March 10). Charlie De Mar. Retrieved December 21, 2016, from

Mooney, B. L. (2013, January). New CTE Study Categorizes Stages of Degenerative Brain

Disease in Veterans, Athletes. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from


O., & Marc, (. (n.d.). SEA 234 – Student Athlete Concussions. Retrieved December 22, 2016,


Padilla, M. (11/30/2010). Udall calls on commission to investigate football helmet safety (United

States, U.S. Senate, 202.224.6621).

Players safety and concussion talk [Interview with Ms. Kate Elkins]. (2016, November). First

Colonial High School, Virginia Beach.

S. (n.d.). Sports injury statistics. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from

Sohn, B. R. (2016, November 22). NFL Concussion Litigation. Retrieved December 22, 2016,


Straus, J. L. (n.d.). Youth football concussion study criticizing limits on contact practices as

'shortsighted' generates controversy. Retrieved December 13, 2016, from


Straus, J. L. (n.d.). Youth Football Concussion Study Criticizing Limits On Contact Practices As

'Shortsighted' Generates Controversy. Retrieved December 20, 2016, from


Su, J. K., & Ramirez, J. F. (2012, April). Management of the Athlete with Concussion. Retrieved

December 22, 2016, from

U. (2013, October). Concussions and Concussion Management Protocol Requirements and

Information. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from

Grading Rubric for “Almost Final” Graded Draft

Criterion 4 -- Advanced 3 – Above Average 2 – Proficient 1 -- Emerging

Mechanics, Zero to very few A few errors Several errors Many errors inhibit

Grammar, Spelling, errors the reading of the

Sentence text

Structure, etc.

Academic Voice Academic language Academic language Academic language Paper lacks

used throughout used through most used for some of academic language –

paper of paper – try to paper informal throughout

delete anything in –

1st person

Law – Law is a major Law is present Lacking law No law


Title, Abstract, All present and All present – needs All present – need to Missing pieces

Body, Reference correct to fix a few errors fix several errors – or

somewhat incomplete

Uniform LSA Scoring convention

16 = 100 12 = 88 8 = 76 4 = 64
15 = 97 11 = 85 7 = 73 No submission = no score
14 = 94 10 = 82 6 = 70
13 = 91 9 = 79