Defective Sports Equipment Leads to Severe Brain Injuries
Every year, more than 2.6 million children are treated in emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries In the last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that sports-related injuries were responsible for nearly 250,000 children being treated in emergency departments for injuries that included a traumatic brain injury or concussion.
Collision or contact sports have the highest injury rates. Sports including football, basketball, baseball and soccer account for about 80 percent of all sports-related emergency room visits.
Many sports are played using sports equipment like helmets and masks to serve as a safety element. Properly constructed gear is important for all athletes, and especially for those participating in sports like football, hockey, skiing, cycling, rollerblading, and snowboarding.
When sports equipment fails or is found to be defective, it may lead to preventable injuries that may be serious and even fatal. Sports equipment manufacturers are responsible for the products they deem safe, and any defect or failure that causes injury can result in a product liability claim and lawsuit.
Defective & Recalled Sports Equipment
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regularly recalls sports equipment reported to contain safety defects that may pose a risk of injury. Certain pieces of sporting equipment are commonly found to be defective, including the following:
- Paintball Guns
- Gym Equipment
- Skis & Snowboards
- Fishing Poles
- Baseball equipment
- Inline Skates & Ice Skates
Home Gym Equipment Failure
Home gym equipment often requires some self-assembly. However, if some materials are missing or improperly manufactured or designed, the equipment may fail and serious injury may result.
Assembly instructions may be unclear, and gym equipment companies may fail to include adequate warnings about the limitations or proper weight restrictions. Common accidents involving home gym equipment may include:
- Exercise bike collapse or tip over
- Stair-stepper collapse
- Resistance Tube failure
- Exercise ball blow-outs
- Pulley failures
- Seat collapse
- Failing weight locks
Defective Paintball Guns
Paintball is usually a fun, harmless sport, but can quickly turn dangerous when defective paintball guns are involved. Paintball guns are often recalled because of improper discharge and other defects with the valve-and-cylinder combination of the guns. By some estimates, over 20,000 people are injured each year using air and paintball guns.
Safety measures and the quality of manufacturing may have improved in recent years though older guns and equipment may still pose a safety threat. Manufacturers of paintball equipment are aware of the potential injury hazards, and they are responsible for the damages that result.
Defective Sports Helmets
Over the years, personal injury lawsuits involving defective helmets have forced manufacturers to fine-tune manufacturing and quality control processes in order to reduce the number of related injuries. However, cyclists and other athletes continue to be at risk due to some defective helmets.
To prevent injuries, particularly in collision sports like football, lacrosse and hockey, participants rely on well-designed helmets, sturdy enough to protect the head from inevitable impact. When helmets fail, the injuries that may result put the brain and spine at risk. Head injuries that result from wearing a defective helmet or face mask can cause concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
Helmets designed for football, hockey, lacrosse or baseball must be well-constructed, tested, and strong enough to absorb serious impact. A helmet should fit a player’s head snugly at all times, and should include a chinstrap that reduces movement of the protective gear. All safety and protective equipment must conform to industry standards, and must be tested prior to distribution.
Defective Sports Equipment & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries are acute head injuries that occur when trauma or an external force causes disruption to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) involves a temporary disruption, whereas severe trauma can result in brain bruising, torn tissue, and bleeding that can cause permanent brain damage or even death. Long-term effects of TBI can range from impaired thinking to emotional impairment or physical functioning. Sport injuries can lead to the most severe types of TBI, including:
- Anoxic Brain Injury
- Hypoxic Brain Injury
- Penetrating Injury
- Subdural Hematoma
- Locked In Syndrome
- Closed Head Injury
- Diffuse Axonal Injury
- Coup-ContreCoup Injury
- Second Impact Syndrome
- Post-Concussion Syndrome
Equipment Manufacturers Liable
Product liability law holds manufacturers responsible for their portion of liability regarding injuries related to poorly constructed or defective sports equipment. These manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of the equipment they market and distribute. In addition, they are required to properly warn consumers of any defect their product may contain and issue prompt safety recalls.
Compensation can be sought and may be awarded to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, as well as punitive damages against a manufacturer for negligence and a blatant disregard for the safety of consumers. For a full investigation and to build the strongest case possible, it is prudent to contact an attorney with considerable experience in product liability law.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to defective sports equipment, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.