Jan 29, 2015
Session Notes: The Athletic Trainer and the Law

Steven Pachman, Esquire, of the Montgomery McCracken law firm in Philadelphia, was one of three speakers at a special “Ask the Experts” feature presentation. Concentrating on minimizing the risk of legal liability for athletic injuries, Pachman provided us with a recap of his presentation here.

Steven Pachman, Esquire, of the Montgomery McCracken law firm in Philadelphia, was one of three speakers at a special “Ask the Experts” feature presentation. Concentrating on minimizing the risk of legal liability for athletic injuries, Pachman provided us with a recap of his presentation here.

Over the past two years, I have been advising school officials and attorneys, risk managers, athletic trainers and athletic departments, physicians, and other healthcare professionals on institutional liability issues concerning sport-related concussions and other sports injuries. I am also a frequent speaker on legal matters concerning the proper management of sport-related concussions and other sports injuries, and have authored a number of articles on the specific topics of how athletic trainers, physicians, and other healthcare professionals can minimize their risk of liability for sport-related injuries and defend against lawsuits arising out of sport-related events.

As the number of reported concussions and other sport-related injuries continues to increase at the professional, collegiate, and youth levels, more and more lawsuits alleging failures by various healthcare professionals, schools, and others to meet the appropriate standard of care are being filed. The increasing popularity of these legal actions is a result of the increasing knowledge surrounding the frequency of concussions, as well as other more serious sport-related injuries, such as subdural hematomas, the highly publicized nature of sports injuries, and the fact that the “standard of care” for the proper management of head injuries is still murky in a number of regards. Indeed, plaintiffs’ attorneys all across the country are now targeting concussion cases, in particular, against healthcare professionals, and these attorneys are doing so in all sports.

To minimize the risk of liability (and to better defend against an action in the event one is filed), I have been advising athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals, schools, and others to: (1) Have–and follow–concussion policies and protocols; (2) Conduct proper testing; (3) Maintain adequate documentation of injuries; (4) Communicate with their players, educate their players, and stay educated themselves; and (5) Keep in mind that, in the case of athletic trainers and team physicians in particular, their duty is to the athlete first. These potential defendants who are not taking such measures, including maintaining a concussion management plan on file, and/or are not up-to-date on the most recent guidelines and literature can and should be taking action right now.”

Any questions can be directed to me at: [email protected]


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