According to a recent report by the Clarion Ledger, State Senator Michael Watson is using the story of a local high school football player as inspiration for his newest piece of legislation. Wesley Ward went to football practice one day, thinking that it was going to be a day like any other day. However, on April 30, 2008, Ward’s life changed forever. While participating in a contact drill in practice, Ward hit the team’s fullback and then collapsed. He was rushed to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS, and underwent emergency brain surgery.
The new bill will increase the awareness of the coaches, players, and parents regarding the dangers of concussions. It will also make it illegal for a player who is showing signs of a concussion to be returned to the game. If it is later confirmed the player has in fact suffered a concussion, the player cannot play again until he has been cleared to play by a medical professional.
Watson’s proposed legislation is part of a national movement to raise awareness about the dangers of concussions suffered on the football field. The National Football League began this movement by deciding to punish players who try to intentionally cause concussions by levying large fines against those players. If an NFL player is caught inflicting an illegal hit to the head of an opposing player, that player will be fined and, if severe enough, may even be suspended.
The new legislation makes it possible for concussion victims and their families to have a legal remedy. While the language of the legislation is still being fine-tuned, it is likely that the bill will make it possible for the sports association or the coach to be sued if the terms of the new law are violated. It is unlikely that the bill will allow for any criminal penalties, but civil liability should be enough of a deterrent to keep children from being injured on the football field.
New legislation like this has to be carefully scrutinized by experienced and competent counsel to be beneficial to potential plaintiffs. Therefore, filing a personal injury suit under this new legislation should only be undertaken by a personal injury attorney who is familiar with such litigation. If you or someone you know has questions regarding any Mississippi personal injury issues, please call the skilled personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley PLLC at (601) 856-7800.
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