School Sports Safety: Dangers Parents Can Prevent

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Recent school sports injuries from paralysis to death show need to safeguard your child's athletic activity. According to personal injury attorney Jeffrey J. Kroll, parents can take simple steps to protect their children. Kroll has been involved in several cases where athletes have been severely injured through no fault of their own and often by circumstances beyond the students' control.

As a parent, you can easily assess whether your child's school athletic department has taken the necessary steps to reduce the risk of a sports injury.

According to a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is an estimated 1.4 million high school sports injuries that lead to 500,000 doctors visits and 30,000 hospitalizations annually. Just recently, another tragic school sports story was reported that a college player in Louisiana died after he became ill at practice. According to personal injury attorney Jeffrey J. Kroll, parents can take simple steps to protect their children. Kroll has been involved in several cases where athletes have been severely injured through no fault of their own and often by circumstances beyond the students' control.

"We know that school sports programs promote physical activity, boost self-esteem and increase a child's strength and endurance. Yet, on the sports fields there are 'mine fields' that can be avoided," says Jeffrey J. Kroll, Chicago personal injury lawyer and principal at the Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll (http://www.kroll-lawfirm.com). "As a parent, you can easily assess whether your child's school athletic department has taken the necessary steps to reduce the risk of a sports injury."

Through his experience in representing victims of school sports injuries and accidents, Kroll has gleaned valuable insights about school sports safety issues:

  • Meet with the head or "position" coach. Parents think that the athletic director is the person most responsible. However, Kroll recommends that parents build a relationship with the individual coach who usually spends the most time supervising their child.
  • Check gear and equipment. Like consumer products that are recalled for safety issues, sports equipment can also be faulty or unsafe. Verify that your child has been given properly-fitted protective gear. Also, ensure that the training equipment meets all current safety standards and that no defective equipment is in use.
  • Ensure the facilities are safe. Parents should be certain that the school's facility structures and equipment comply with laws, regulations, rules and standards. Pay close attention to be sure any debris, rocks, water and other hazards are removed from the court or field, practice is directed away from any holes or other physical dangers, and all field and court posts, nets and fixtures are padded and set-up appropriately.
  • Confirm the emergency procedure. A school's trainer is responsible for health matters related to your child's sports activities. Some schools have a shortage of trainers and do not have them available for all practices and games. Inquire about which members of the coaching staff are properly trained to handle emergency situations. While high school football has the highest injury rate, the number two injury category is boys wrestling. Regardless of the perceived need, ask when and where trainers are available for your children.
  • Monitor team dynamics. Besides physical accidents, emotional and psychological conditions among teammates can cause harm to your child. Be sure to find out how they are getting along with team members, coaches and school staff members, even by asking your children.

Kroll experienced a case where a high school student suffered a life-altering injury due to an unfortunate series of events, including allegations of hazing, which were all under the control of the school's staff. A first-year student was participating in water polo practice when several others students allegedly threw pool equipment and snowballs at him. The student dove into the pool to avoid the debris, collided with the bottom and is now a quadriplegic. "Prior to this incident, the student was nick-named "Flounder" by his swim team coach, which was intended to be a derogatory nickname," said Kroll.

Kroll recommends parents learn more about the school's procedures to help protect children from school sports injuries. Any school that meets required sports safety standards will be happy to provide the information.

To schedule an interview with Jeffrey J. Kroll, contact:
Tom Ciesielka, (312) 422-1333.

About Jeffrey J. Kroll:
With 19 years' experience representing victims and their families, Jeffrey Kroll has seen firsthand the pain experienced by individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful death actions. While The Law Offices of Jeffrey J. Kroll is best known for its success in fighting for victims of auto, truck and bus accidents, it has achieved record verdicts and settlements in a wide range of practice areas including victims of school negligence. Kroll is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability and is consistently chosen by his peers as one of the top lawyers in Chicago, Illinois. For more information about Kroll's work with personal injury and wrongful death cases, visit http://www.kroll-lawfirm.com.

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THOMAS CIESIELKA

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